In a week’s time, the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge will take place in Hood River, Oregon. Fiona Wylde, who is currently ranked second in the world and is herself a native, will be competing. She knows the river like the back of her hand and the race will be taking place on home turf. Who better to give us some insight then?
Can you tell us about Hood River? What are conditions there like?
Hood River is so much fun! There are so many things to do here, it’s almost impossible to get bored! If you’re into mountain biking, there’s that! There’s skiing, whitewater, amazing hikes -anything that you want to do outdoors, you can pretty much do that here.
And we haven’t even gotten to the Stand Up Paddling and windsurfing yet! The Gorge is unique because it’s the only sea level cut through the Cascade Mountain Range, so naturally it acts like a huge wind tunnel.
The wind and the river flow in opposite directions creating really fun bumps, and the windier it gets, the bigger the bumps get! It’s a perfect set up for down winding!
Why is the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge an event that many riders want to take part in?
I think this is a very special event because it really is a ton of fun! People come here from all over because they know they are going to enjoy the area, but even more so, know they are going to have some pretty fun downwind conditions!
I feel that this event acts more of a festival than anything else. It’s when everybody comes together to have fun, and do that we enjoy most, stand up paddle boarding! It doesn’t matter if you’re the best of the best or doing a downwinder for the first time, the river is a perfect place to learn, enjoy, and share water time with your friends.
There are so many incredible athletes coming to Hood River from all around the world just for the race! I think this is one of the most competitive events in the world, so there are many athletes coming from Europe, Australia, South Pacific, and of course from around here in the U.S. too. It’s so cool to see so many boards driving around town, and so many happy sunburnt faces!
Can you tell us about the riders coming from Oregon?
Here in Hood River, we have an incredible junior team that Steve Gates, the owner of Big Winds created. This is where I learned to stand up paddle board six years ago. The Big Winds Junior Elite Team has flourished and now contains about 60 members! Hannah Hill has also learned to paddle in the JET Team and she is now ranked 13th in the World. She’s really quick in down winding too, and I know she’s looking forward to a fun race at the Gorge Paddle Challenge!
What are the other main SUP spots in Oregon and what kind of reputation do they have in relation to the sport?
The beauty about Oregon is that there is every kind of stand up paddling! There’s whitewater, there’s flat water, there’s lakes, there’s downwind, and yes, there is surf!
Although you will need a pretty thick wetsuit for the Oregon Coast. You can really see how vibrant stand up paddling is becoming! As you drive across the state, you see more and more people with boards on their roofs, or SUP rentals at lakes and even in cities! It’s really quite exciting!
Presenting the formidable lineup of the Starboard Dream Team for the 2024 SUP season, where champions collide and new talents emerge. Anchored by seasoned SUP Race and SUP Surf World Champions Esperanza Barreras, Fiona Wylde, Connor Baxter, Michael Booth, Noic Garioud, Benoit Carpentier, and Zane Schweitzer this powerhouse ensemble promises thrilling competition and unparalleled skill […]
Il y a quelques semaines, nous vous avons présenté la Ace Foil, la planche de SUP foil downwind par Starboard, avec Clément Colmas. Aujourd’hui, on fait de nouveau escale en Nouvelle Calédonie pour s’entretenir avec Alexandre Rouys, rider chez Starboard Foils et foileur de la première heure. Ou on pourrait même dire : foileur avant […]
Embark on a thrilling journey to the untouched wilderness of Norway’s Lofoten islands with renowned ultra-long-distance paddleboarder and adventurer Bart de Zwart. Last year in May, Bart left his sailboat in French Polynesia and traveled all the way to the North of Europe to paddle through the dramatic landscapes of the Lofoten archipelago on his […]
After much anticipation, we finally catch up with Cecilia Pampinella, a towering figure in stand-up paddling at only 17 with an impressive tally of 5 Junior World Titles under the ICF and ISA federations, 6 European titles and countless national Italian titles. Recently, Cecilia realized her lifelong ambition of joining the prestigious Starboard Dream Team, […]
Mais qui peut arrêter Clément Colmas ? Champion de SUP Race, le waterman performe également en wingfoil et s’envole maintenant vers l’horizon du SUP foil downwind… Pour le suivre dans toutes ses aventures, Clément a la chance d’avoir un sponsor qui lui fourni des jouets toujours plus à la pointe de l’innovation et des tendances […]
Introducing Felipe Pomar, the 80-year-old Peruvian surfer on a mission to surf for a century. As the inaugural World Surfing Champion in 1965, Pomar now resides in Kauai, drawing inspiration from surfing pioneers like Duke Kahanamoku and modern icons like Laird Hamilton, who revolutionized stand-up paddleboarding. Pomar is still conquering challenging breaks today, waves that […]
The 2023 ICF SUP World Championships (15-19 November) in Pattaya, Thailand has officially kicked off! TotalSUP caught up with the Starboard SUP Dream Team Riders to ask about their SUP racing season to date, board set up and the ICF Worlds expectations. Fiona Wylde: SUP season to date: I’m coming from a bit of a […]
As the 2023 ICF SUP World Championship is about to kick-off, I want to take a moment to publicly send my deep thanks to Starboard for sponsoring our TotalSUP trip to Thailand which has taken my family and I to magical places like Khao Lak, Khao Sok and Kho Pha Ngan over the past two […]
The countdown to the 2023 ICF SUP World Championships held on 15-19 November 2023 in Pattaya, Thailand is on! With an impressive number of nations (44 and counting) already signed up, the highly-stacked ICF Worlds event is certainly setting the scene for some exciting SUP action with the defending Champions and new talent all fired […]
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.
3rd Party Cookies
We use a set of third party tools to provide information on how our users engage with our website so that we can improve the experience of the website for our users. For example, we collect information about which of our pages are most frequently visited, and by which types of users. Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!