Hood River, OR is one of the meccas for water sports in the USA. Flowing from Canada to the Portland coast, the Columbia River is known for its strong currents and thermal winds. Watersport lovers meet at countless spots every day to enjoy nature. The region appeals to every outdoor sports enthusiast, from mountain biking, climbing, snowboarding, and skiing to paragliding, everyone gets their money’s worth.

The Columbia River Gorge offers culinary delights, fresh salmon, several regional breweries, good red wines, and local art. Originally settled by loggers and fishermen, the region has a large Scandinavian community and is enjoying an increase in Bay Area ex-pats. The climate is similar to that in Europe, has seasons, and is a popular destination for wind sports enthusiasts, in the midsummer.

Day 1 of the September event in Hood River started with strong winds kicking in, to our surprise, at 10 am! While some brands were still inflating their stuff and sipping coffee, we all rushed to the water so we could test the newest gear with the other riders. We were lucky to have good wind until the evening that day – this allowed the North American retailers and kite schools to get their hands on the new FLYSURFER STOKE and some other projects FLYSURFER has been working on.
This year, Nathan van Vuuren, FLYSURFER WING Team rider, was happy with the nuking wind so he could boost huge in front of the crowd and showcase his skills. While Nate was spinning on a 4.5m MOJO, Vlad Mojoz was racing around him on the 2.8m MOJO. What a show!
Mike Jablonski from California spent hours riding new products FLYSURFER will introduce to the public later this year. Mike definitely showed us what it could do…stay tuned for more info. When on land, Mike made sure all the FLYSURFER team and our guests were well fed by grilling us some delicious food. Thanks, Mike!
Day 2 and Day 3 were a bit more challenging in terms of wind. On Thursday, the wind started strong but died off in the afternoon. We saw some riders asking for the FLYSURFER SOUL and the PEAK, both ideal for the wind conditions.
Luke McGillewie, FLYSURFER LEI R&D team, and Chris Hesina, Head of Marketing, also enjoyed time in the water in between talks with our amazing FLYSURFER retailers. Luke showcased his latest release, the STOKE3, and everything this kite can do in the water. Chris enjoyed a less busy light wind session on the SOUL2 12m, with our friend Adrian from Levitaz on the SOUL2 10m.
While day 3 offered an East wind, some retailers took the opportunity to take off and head to Stevenson for some bigger swell and winging opportunities. The day was quieter which also allowed me to go kiting with the other pro riders who stayed at the event site.
FLYSURFER met multiple media crews who will release exciting info to the public shortly. Watch out for The OK Kiteboarder and The Foil Magazine. Thanks to the media for their dedication to showcasing the event and our products.
I would like to personally thank AWSI and Marina for their hard work as well as all the dealers, riders, schools, kite instructors, and media who stopped by to learn more about FLYSURFER. Huge thanks to Ivan Vuuren for all the content/ photos of our team, Mike Jablonski, Vlad Moroz, Nathan Vuuren, Luke McGillewie, and Chris Hesina for joining me at this year’s event. This team ROCKS!

credits: Ivan van Vuuren  text: Marie-Eve Mayrand, Christoph Hesina

Hood River Event Site

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