Following are specifics about the event:
The 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge is in its fourth year as major Stand Up Paddle Boarding Festival held in beautiful Hood River, Oregon. The event features a weekend of exciting Stand Up Paddle Board racing drawing recreational and professional competitors from throughout the US, Canada, Hawaii, Australia and more. In addition to the racing, there are free demos and clinics put on by the leaders in the SUP industry. Throw in great food, fun music, equipment displays, and thousands of spectators and you have a festival! It all takes place at the Hood River Waterfront Park, a wonderful, family friendly park, with an awesome beach, a great kids play area and up close viewing of the exciting races.
In what promises to be the largest and most exciting Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge yet, the event was recently named one of only a few events worldwide to be part of the new Champions Tour. This recognition is guaranteed to draw an even bigger field of the sport’s best athletes!
Certainly the change that’s generating the most buzz in the SUP community is the new format for the downwind race. As in years past, the Open Class will still paddle the famous Viento Downwind Run, an eight mile, upriver run that tests both swell riding skills and endurance. This stretch is known for strong winds from the west, which oppose the current running from the east to create large river swells, sometimes well overhead. New this year, the Elite Class competitors will compete in the new “Downwind Double Down” format, two back-to-back eight mile Viento runs! This will provide a serious test of both skills and endurance. This race is open to competitors who are skilled in downwind conditions and in excellent physical condition. Though the course record for the Viento Run is just under an hour, most experienced competitors will take up to an hour and a half for each run. The wind velocity and the current both come into play in determining the time it takes to paddle the course. As in the past, the Downwind Races are scheduled for Saturday, but the schedule is subject to change and will be adjusted as necessary to provide the best conditions for these races.
The Course Races, another highlight of the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, provide exciting racing for the competitors and are a favorite of the spectators, as the courses are set in close proximity to the shoreline and beach, taking the racers right into the bay at the Waterfront Park to execute a series of tight, challenging buoy turns only a few feet from the cheering crowd. This year we are adding a special “Groms” race for kids under 14, along with a Junior category for the older kids (under 18).
Make your plans now to attend this exciting event in Hood River, August 23& 24.
The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge takes place at Hood River’s Waterfront Park. The park features a crescent-shaped beach for the starting and staging areas, great stadium style viewing area for spectators, large grass area for the vendor tents, onsite restrooms, and plenty of parking. It is also a great place for children, with a play site, marimba, and climbing wall, all within walking distance to downtown Hood River.
About the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge:
The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge (CGPC) is a Festival celebrating the sport of Stand Up Paddling in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Last year’s Paddle Challenge featured a Distance Downwind Race, a Course Race, and a Team Relay Race. There were SUP exhibits from many companies, free SUP lessons and demos and live music.
Watch for additional details in the near future at www.gorgepaddlechallenge.com
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