24 - 26 June - River Gorge - Oregon


I headed to this event with high expectations of strong winds!
We packed the van with all the slalom gear I own, from the biggest to the smallest sail and board.
I didn't manage to finish work at a reasonable time on Wednesday night so we decided to do the whole trip in one hit on Thursday.
Things you do when you are determined!!!
It took 16 hours of almost non stop driving, taking it in turn with my wife Lyrah.
The scenery made up for the long drive.
We passed by Shasta Lake and the Volcano legacy byway.
As we left just before 8am and the last light as late as 10pm up North, we enjoyed the landscape for most of the trip.
In the end, we arrived around midnight, exhausted but happy to be there!
Much to my surprise, we started day 1 with the light wind slalom kit.
We did two races.
My starts were not great but I managed to make my way through the fleet.
This gave some reasonable results with a 4th and a 3rd.
I ended day 1 in third behind Philip Soltyziak and ahead of legend Bruce Peterson.
After two races on day one the wind got light at the Event Site.
The decision was made to move to 'The Wall'.

(photo: Tyson Poor)

The promise of strong winds and sunshine got everyone moving swiftly.
Darren Rogers explained to me that we didn't actually go the wall as this location is a bit further east of where we were.
It didn't matter anyway, everyone met in the same place which was more important!

The place in question really worked!
It was blowing 30 mph I guess and the freestylers made the most of it with some awesome moves for the whole afternoon!
I rigged up the smallest slalom kit I had and went for a cool practice session.
Day 2 started with a reasonable forecast but the wind was light in the morning.
The start was postponed to the afternoon.
In the meantime, we did a tandem race courtesy of Josh Shirley who had brought two Starboard Geminis.

I teamed up with Philip Soltyziak and we called our team the 'Crown Crazy' owing to my British sail number and Phil's Canadian Nationality!
It was quite eventful but we managed to make our way to the final.
We had a good start and got planning on the way back to win by a good margin.
In the meantime, the wind had picked up sufficiently to do regular slalom.
My start was hardly better than those on day 1.
I finished 4th but Phil Soltyziak was over early so I inherited 3rd.
In the second race, I had a better start and I gybed the first mark in second place behind Bruce Peterson.
Bruce managed to get planning a little earlier to keep the advantage.
At the 4th gybe, I kept planning quite well despite the light wind.
I caught up with Bruce on the last leg but not quite enough to pass him so I finished second just a few feet behind.
All in all I thought Day 2 went better than Day 1.
I ended up tied on points with Phil but I won the tie with two second places on day 1.
Bruce did enough on Day 2 to pass me for 3rd so I ended up in 4th overall and 2nd Grand Master.
The forecast was for light wind on Day 3 so the contest was called to an end at 10 am and we kept our positions.

Overall the event was a huge success despite the light wind with a large number of spectators and all the major brands present to display the latest kit.
A big thank you to David Mertens and the crew of volunteers who organized this unique event in the windsurfing capital of the world!
The road trip home is definitely part of an event in the Gorge.

We stopped at Crater Lake.

The sight at the top of the crater was breathtaking after climbing slowly the small park road up the edge.
We kept driving to Redding to visit Lake Shasta in the morning.
We decided to go to the Shasta Caverns after a quick visit to the Visitor Center.
What a blast we had!