Friday, September 27, 2013

A Magical Place

The American Windsurfing Tour came back to Hatteras Island for the Hatteras Wave Jam.  I couldn't get away for the entire week's competition window thus I hadn't planned on competing.  But I was able to get there for the 2nd half of the week.  Sure enough, they were halfway through the Pro Final and already done with the Amateurs when I arrived on the beach.  No problem, as the rest of the week was amazing.  It was also great to revisit with lots of friends and familiar faces (from Maui, Baja, and past Hatteras trips), both local and also visiting, at all the parties, on the beach, and on the water.

It started with rigging a sail after that Pro Final, going out for some light wind SUP windsurfing, and catching some fun side off down the line wave sailing.  After that, I crossed over sound side and caught a quick slalom sesh.

Here is the AWT Hatteras Wave Jam video from the 1st half of the week when they held the competition...

Congratulations to all the winners and competitors.  Also a big congratulations to local and WIND-NC shop owner, Andy McKinney, for making it into the final pro heat with 3 top Hawaiian pros.  Way to go Andy!

After that, the wind lightened up, went off-shore, and the long period swell remained.  It was time for SUP surfing the rest of the week.

In the line-up, I had to tell a couple folks to pinch me.  Between the blue skies, warm water, no crowds, out of the way hard to get to via 4x4 spots, the lighthouse in the distance, great waves, and sharing them with friends, it was almost like a dream.  Ken Kellar was telling me about a "magical" scene he experienced on Hatteras Island earlier this year where there was a rainbow, dolphins, and perfect waves all at once.  We joked about how all that was missing was a unicorn.  Then we talked about The Cove after I had just come back from paddling there one morning.  Ken said that was "a magical place".  The word "magical" does seem to fit Hatteras Island.  Hopefully, this short video of the 2nd half of AWT week and the pics below convey exactly that.  

Ken Kellar loving it

Mark Pace

Ryan Getchis

The Cove...had a nice flat water paddle there

Canadian Hole


The ever long constant roadwork on Highway 12 just north of Rodanthe
George Markopoulos



Sam Fanjoy

Ryan on a long one - we had long rights and lefts, with some bigger set waves coming through



Sam & Abby

duh scene
George, his truck, and his stuff

Every Hatteras local and long time visitor knows where and what this is

Until next time!  See you in Hatteras again next April (if not before)!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Video - Return to the Gorge

Less than 5 minute film from our trip...catch Rob's forward loop attempt at 2:23...turn it up and enjoy...

Return To The Gorge from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Return to The Gorge

Made it back to the Columbia River Gorge and Hood River for a few days in late August.  In the spirit of keeping it more interesting, here we go....more pics (I may post some video later), less no particular order of events...

Looked out the airplane window on the way out and saw this awesome red glow under the clouds...we must have been over a desert (Nevada maybe?) and with the sun setting, it had this pretty cool effect.

I'm not a very good jumper but you can't help but get some good air in the Gorge.  Airing it out at Doug's Beach on the WA side of the Columbia River Gorge.  I still have an image etched in my brain of my buddy Rob just getting some serious hang time on one jump just downwind of me - I could see him through my sail panel stuck in midair.  We liked this place a lot because it was less crowded than other spots like The Hatchery, it was still close to Hood River, the launch was sandy, and it has a beautiful backdrop with the hills.

Doug's Beach didn't have big swells like The Hatchery, but they were still plenty big enough to have a lot of fun in.

Horsetail Falls

at The Hatchery

heading back into the town of Hood River from the WA side, Mt Hood in the background

Hiking at Mt Hood

This pic was taken by Rob, awesome sunset shot taken outside Pfriem Brewery looking back across the river towards WA.  Speaking of breweries, we also sampled Everybodys Brewing in White Salmon WA, Double Mountain and Full Sail in Hood River...and of course a couple others in Portland on the way to the airport.

The view atop Wind Mountain, an excellent hike

We looked for Bigfoot and didn't see him, but did find this.

Multnomah Falls

Post Canyon mtn biking

At the top of Post Canyon overlooking the town of Hood River.  This was a no wind day that brought a little bit of rain, some lightning, and haze from The Dalles wildfire east of us.  We went from an unusually mild wet summer back home to an unseasonably fluky, mild, and wet pattern in OR.  Usually it's so hot & humid back home in August and OR is such a relief.

The Hatch

Rob at The Hatch - although some early flukey fall weather had set in during our visit, we still lucked out on 25mph winds and powered up 4.7 windsurfing 2 days in a row out of our 4 whole days there.  The rest of the time was spent hiking and mountain biking.  If the wind had blown one more day, we were going to do the Big Winds shuttle for the SUP downwinder from Viento to Hood River, but that unfortunately didn't happen.  But there is so much to do here even when the wind doesn't blow.

We wanted to go sail some of the sites way out east like Maryhill and The Wall but we heard reports that it was too smoky from The Dalles wildfire.  So it was The Hatchery (pictured here) and Doug's Beach for us during our visit.

Fun swells to play in

Hiking around Mt Hood

historic Timberline Lodge at the base of Mt Hood

Lost Lake...a bit cloudy this day otherwise you'd see Mt Hood in the distance behind those clouds.  That's a fly fisherman in the water.

Doug's Beach - Beautiful

The hike up Wind Mountain

Wind Mountain is a fascinating and historic Indian spirit quest site

Falls Creek Falls - There were at least 3, maybe 4 or more layers to this waterfall....hard to tell even from halfway down.  A bit of a drive to the trailhead from Hood River but also an excellent hike.  One of the better waterfalls out of many great waterfalls in the area.