The 5th Annual Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge scheduled for August 22-23, 2015 will feature a weekend of exciting Stand Up Paddle Board Racing. This event will draw recreational and professional competitors from around the world including the continental U.S., Hawaii, Canada, and Australia. In addition to the racing, there will be free Stand Up Paddle Board demos and clinics put on by industry professionals as well as local food vendors, live music, vendor displays, and plenty of spectator friendly events.
The 2015 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge is in its fifth 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 as one of the world’s five biggest SUP races of the year. 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 return of our double-down 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. In it’s second 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 also have special “Groms” race for kids under 14, along with a Junior category for the older kids (under 18).
For more information, please visit this website www.naishsurfing.com