In July there is a great race up at the Gorge on the Columbia River. The first weekend a OC-6 race is held on the Washington side of the river. Many crews from Canada, the Northwest and Southern California come to this event to play in the downwind run that the Gorge can offer. This year the wind held up and the race was a good time. I had the privilege to paddle with NAC from Newport, CA this year and had a great time with the guys.
With the largest Surfski/OC-1 race happening the following week there were a good amount of paddlers hanging out all week. With this in mind we used this race to release our new OC-2 design called "GEMINI". A perfect place to showcase a new canoe with every turn in the river giving us a different condition to see what she is capable of. In areas the surf can be great then go flat then pick up again so we see a lot of variety. With having the Gemini there we also ran some one on one clinics on the OC-2 to help paddlers learn and experience what we see out there and how to use our gears while surfing bumps. Kaiwa'a team rider Will Reichenstein and I held a couple group clinics during the week with the idea of sharing our knowledge of the water with others. The thing we enjoy most of these clinics is meeting new faces in our paddling community.
The Gorge Downwind Champs is one of the largest Surfski/OC-1 races out there. What I find funny about this is that it takes place in the state of Oregon. When I was younger my thoughts of Oregon was snowboarding and great beer. This all changed 4 years ago when I did my first downwind run there. Since then I've been going back every year. The Gorge Downwind Champs is legit. On the right day the Gorge will blow your mind. All the best of both disciplines were there to have a crack at some great prize money. The conditions were fickle but still presented some good fun sections along the course. Our Kaiwa'a team riders were able to take three spots in the top 5 with 1st, 3rd and 4th place finishes. Another successful race in the books to help cap off a great season.
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