Going to Oregon, I had a bunch of stuff on my agenda that I was planning to accomplish:
- Compete and do good at the Wave Bash events in both Windsurf and SUP, most important.
- The US Premiere of PLANET BLOW in Gold Beach, pretty important also.
- Sell DVDs in Hood River, and
- Hang out at their annual Wind Fest, which should be fun.
- And, optional, put together a Screening somewhere in Hood River.
My approach to this trip was the usual game plan: Relax and Do Your Best. That has worked most of the time. Anyway, I had been there before, knew where I was heading and I had a feeling everything would line up.
The competition got under way at 9 am on the first day, and it was a fierce battle on the cold water of the US North West Pacific coastline for the following 4 days.
With 80 competitors going at it in their respective divisions there was no time to waste. Smooth contest organization allowed full double eliminations to be completed in some radical wave sailing conditions, with everybody getting as much windsurfing and cold water as they wanted.
Once again the Junior, Ladies and Masters gained everyone’s respect by displaying impressive windsurfing skills throughout this 4 day competition, while the Amateur and Experts laid it all out on the line for bragging rights and some prize money.
The Expert class was stacked with talent and champions. The national Maui Chargers, the Oregon Rippers, and the California Crew met up with a handful of international riders for a proper high flying action competition. At this type of game and with this type of conditions, I was not surprised to see Boujmaa Gilloul on the top of the final rankings. With world Champions Kevin Pritchard and Josh Stone settling with the 5th and 2nd place, it was once again Oregon local Nathan Mershon who sailed perfect heats against the more experienced sailors to take the Pistol River Wave Bash title. Giving him a comfortable lead in the championships after wining back to back the first 2 events of this 2011 American Windsurfing Tour.
For full reports and results on the Wave Bash and other AWT events, please visit their website at:
The official USA Movie Premiere of PLANET BLOW, The Dark Lines, was held on Thursday 16th of June at the Gold Beach Curry County Fairground’s auditorium.
After an intense first day of competition at the Wave Bash, everyone was invited to this very special screening. Greeting them with free beer courtesy of the AWT and pizza and chips sponsored by O’neill. The donation box for Surfrider foundation filled up with the generous donations from the wind-riders and raffle prizes were given out, thanks again to O’neill.
It was a great turn out and I was really stoked about Surfrider walking away with $200 which will go directly to the youth surf programs in Gold Beach and in the area.
Planet Blow is a shocking movie, it was meant to be that way. The response from the audience was great, a lot of the people had interesting comments and it was awesome to talk about it.
Oregon is a magnificent state, driving around and putting 1000 miles on my rental car I saw some great landscapes. Driving away from Gold Beach with a modest 9th place in the Windsurfing Expert Division and 7th in the SUP surfing event but with a successful movie premier in the bag, part of my objectives were accomplished. So I kept on with my game plan and rolled into Hood River.
One thing that is fairly easy in Oregon is meeting cool people. There were a lot of them wherever I went. Ryan, from No Limits Windsurfing, was one of them. He was a volunteer beach marshal at the event and also gave me a hand on the big premiere night. He told me to get in touch with him when I got to town, and that he would use some of his music contacts to help me find a venue for a Hood River screening of Planet Blow. Ryan introduced me to famous country/rock singer Tracy Klas who had recently taken over management of a wine tasting room on the main street. It turns out that Tracy was very much into screening independent films and organizing concerts at her new venue. Tracy is not connected to the Windsurfing scene, however she loved and was very touched by our film. She was then highly motivated to make it a special screening event. She helped me put together some fliers and organized everything to make it a great evening.
Around 30 guests crowded the tasting room on that Thursday night. A lot of the viewers were not windsurfers, and it was great to see how they would like and perceive our film. I was very honored and touched by their responses. People for the large majority really liked this “controversial” movie. The message of the movie is a hit or miss with most viewers, however people unanimously love the cinematography and its original sound track.
The next day, Tracy was putting together a concert at the Dulles and invited me to come along, to party with her band and show the movie. That sounded like fun and I tagged along. This would turn out to be another great evening with even the Artist formerly know as tributing for Prince showed up. The show was held at the Old Historic Flour Mill Factory, witch was renovated as a Winery. A perfect place for concert and events… they set me up with a big screen TV and space to display my DVD’s. This was another great opportunity for me to show my work and get reaction from viewers. And again it was great to receive positive feedback from guests who had no connection with the board riding world.
Then it was time for the annual Hood River Wind Fest, a gathering of various windsurfing brands and shops in the area offering free equipment demos and various windsurfing and SUP clinics. Most of the local pros were hanging out at the event, with other international riders there to represent their sponsors. It was a great turn out, and a busy 2 days on the beautiful Columbia River with the public enjoying the free demos.
During my week at Hood River, I was staying and hanging out with my friend Sean Aiken. Besides being one of the best US windsurfers, Sean is also an incredible snowboarder and BMX rider. This is why he chose to reside in the Gorge, for the perfect combination of spots for those three sports. Sean took me down hill mountain biking twice, the trails and ramps were perfect for any level of rider, from beginners to pro level, this had to be my best ever mountain biking experience. And that was the perfect way to conclude my Oregon trip.
Windsurfing Action Photos by Kevin Pritchard/MauiNerdProduction
Other Photos by Heather Anne and Tracy Klas.
Special thanks to the persons mentioned in this text, and all the cool people that I met on this trip. You guys were awesome, thank you for sharing so much with me.
PS: the PLANET BLOW dvd is now available in Hood River at Windance, Big Wind, Gorge Surf Shop and Quenett Winery. And always available for purchase online at BluePlanetSurf.com
for more on Tracy Klas Music: