Growing up, summertime meant loading up the van with all the toys and heading down to Hood River, Oregon.  Day after day of 2-3+ sport days spent mt biking, hiking, windsurfing, rafting, golfing, SUPing, etc.  All these years later, it’s still the only place I want to be as soon and spring is nearing its end.

Sure there are loads of activities you can do day after day but that isn’t the only draw to the area.  The people, the food, the brews, the vibes on the street, the epic sunsets that make their decent behind the rolling hills that light up the gorge in beautiful hues of orange and purple, in my book, there’s simply no better place to be.  And after this past summer spent enjoying the town of Hood River and the greater Columbia River Gorge area, I believe more Kiters than ever share my sentiments.

Hands down this was the busiest summer I’ve ever experienced in the area.  In town or on the water, loads of people have discovered this action sports gem and I believe it’s made it’s place in their heart as it has mine. 

Particularly in the ‘wakestyle’ scene, professional kiters from all over the world flocked to the Slider Project park to spend the season riding in the park and exploring the area.  Normally a place where it feels almost like your private park, regularly riding with only a few close friends and a handful of local homies but this year the park was going off at all hours of daylight.  At times it actually felt like too much.  Heading down for a quick session to find 30+ kites already sessioning the coveted 5 features and knowing that with each pass you’ll find yourself jockeying for position to get in your hits. 

It’s a great thing for the park riding scene to have so many riders amping to focus their energy in the park but does this mean our days of summer hood sessions with only the local crew are over?  Or is park riding in Hood River just the ‘It’ place to be at the moment?  Or maybe this is just a sign of the times.  Kiteboarding is growing and with it, so are the towns that have supported it over the years.  Either way, I’m thrilled to see the progression of the sport as well as the industry support that comes with more riders getting excited about the park.  Although a small part of me will always miss the quiet sessions with just the homies.

Text published in KiteSoul Issue #5 2016