The Event Site
The Event Site and Gorge are definitely in the top 5 spots to visit in the United States. Delivering serious winds throughout the summer months it is not only home to some of your pro riders but also the hub of a lot of manufacturing companies for the United States. The event site is where all the action goes down. From the AWSI events yearly, lessons, the slide park and a huge area for throwing down your next sick move.
The Gorge in general is more of an intermediate riding location. The current flows in the opposite direction of the wind which makes riding up wind easier but if you lose your board – your upwind body dragging should be on point or you can kiss that board goodbye. Ride with a friend or buddy that can help out in these situations. Know how to self rescue!
Watch out for BARGES that come through often (they won’t have time to stop) as well as floating logs and debris that could seriously mess up a good riding day if your not careful. Even the slow moving barges can sneak up on your pretty quickly.
Bring the right equipment? That’s a tricky question.. Bring your full quiver when you come to the Gorge (Hood River) there is a range of wind strengths needing anywhere from a 5m-14m depending on the location and how the wind filters through during the day.
June – September are the best of the summer months at the Event Site but the Gorge can be kited year round if you can brave the cold in the winter.
The wind usually blows from the west and can be blowing as early as 10am and usually starts tapering out around 2-3 hours before sunset.
setup & launch
Setting up at the Event Site is pretty simple and straight forward. Bring only what you need for setting up your kite down to the sand bar, set up and hit the water. Try to minimize your presence on the sandbar, meaning set up and head out. The sandbar can get pretty packed during the summer months and its advised not to hang around the sandbar too long – especially with your kite just floating in the air.
Downwind or east of the sandbar you have a shallow, flat water spot great for beginners but also where they give lessons so be sure to stay clear of anyone giving instructions. You will also find the slider park with all the kickers and obstacles on this side as well and maybe even catch a pro rider throwing down over here as well.
Riding upwind or west of the sandbar the wind gets a bit cleaner but the Gorge def has some gusty and sometimes nuclear wind!