No Ocean? No Problem... Surf Or Board Our River!
Did you know that Hood River, Oregon is considered by many to be the wind-surfing and kite-boarding capital of the country!? In case you don't know, wind-surfing involves a surf board with a sail, while kite-boarding is more like a wake board and the rider holds onto the cording attached to a large parasailing-type "kite". I had grown up around wind-surfing and even did a little myself, but kite-boarding was new to me when I moved here.
The Columbia River Gorge was perfectly formed to channel the wind into a funneling jet stream that blasts right through the Hood River Gorge. These are not sports for the weak at heart, though. I've personally witnessed kite-boarders become airbourne up to 25 feet off the water. And the Columbia River's frigid waters are ironically the best to ride during the colder days of the summer. The winds at Hood River are consistently excellent from June to September. The air temperature is usually a dry, sunny 70-80 degrees with a cool water temperature of 55-60 degrees.
So yesterday, I was at the Saturday Market and I noticed it was a little windier than usual, which was my cue to head to the river to get a shot of the boarders. I was glad to find sailboats, wind-surfers and kite-boarders on the river, not in the large numbers they will be later in the summer, but enough to get a couple shots. Honestly, the wind was so strong and I was so cold, I didn't bother to wait around for an outstanding shot, but promise I will in the next few weeks.
These sports are extreme enough that I wouldn't attemp them without a lesson or two first and Hood River has no shortage of eager instructors. Try Hood River Water Sports, or even just plug kite-boarding Hood River into Bing and you'll find plenty.