August 28, 2013

Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge: PAC NW FUN

The weekend of August 17-18 was a terrific gathering of elite paddlers from all over the world. Our Pacific NW Region was well-represented (RESULTS for both the DOWNWIND and the COURSE races are here)

jetYoung Fiona Wylde (one of Steve gates/Big Winds JET paddlers) kept steady and fast both days winning the Elite Women’s Overall award inching out Candice Appleby by a mere 14 seconds.  Kody Kerbox, Naish rider, was the overall Elite Men’s winner. That was just the tip of the iceberg as stories went.

Saturday blew in on 20+ mph winds, adequate for a fun down-winder, although the heartier gusts on Sunday made us wish the vent days had been switched. The 4 lap (OPEN) and 5 lap (Elite) course race challenged everyone with a brutal upwind leg to begin each lap. The downwind turning buoy was easy to be blown past, creating chaos and challenges for turning and progress. The number of spectators kept energy high and spirits super-charged. Here are some pictures from the event.

naishrelay1 naishrelay2 naishrelay3

A huge thanks to Naish and O’Neil for sponsoring the event. Steve Gates of Big Winds and his team did an amazing job keeping us informed, connected and ready to return next year.  The final event of the weekend was hilarious and fun.  Naish provide a fellet of the Naish ONE inflatable one-design boards to teams for a relay.  Teams had an elite paddler, a female paddler  and a paddler under age 15 – and the mix was perfect!  It was so cool to see the elite paddlers joining in on the event which really brought the crowd and the participants together.  See a blog story here by Elder SUP