Session 11 - Fresh Water Rinse
da Gorge Swell City
The day started with a five hour drive from Florence to Hood River. I was exhausted about half way and had a short nap under the shade of tree during the middle of the day (which I never do). It must have been the combination of all the exercise, all the time spent writing ‘novels’, and the lack of sleep.
After spending five days out on the coast it sure was nice to arrive in the warm dry heat of Hood River. A trip to the Gorge without at least one session at Swell City just would not seem right to me (and besides all the wind was in the corridor). I arrived in Hood River around 3:30 pm and was at Swell City by about 4:00 pm. I landed rock star parking, right up front. I spoke to Brenda about equipment sizes, paid my launch fee, and then rigged the same gear I has used less than 24 hours before in Florence (with a slightly smaller 23 cm fin).
Once out on the water you could feel the gusts (not wicked warp-speed Mach II gusts), you rode both sides (not inside and outside), you were riding backside (not frontside), you could here trains while out on the water (not over head high crashing waves), you were riding small swell (not waves), you were wearing a PDF (not sailing ‘naked’), you were watching for barges (not Mackers), you were dumping in the water to cool off (not getting ice cream head), and you were rinsing sand/salt from your gear (not from your mouth/ears/and other places).
In my last set out on the river a came across a yellow Slingshot kiteboard while about a quarter the way out off the north shore. I dropped in, tided the board to my back foot strap and tried to start sailing again. I was glad to have the PFD on while dealing with the kiteboard tethered/tangled in my own gear while trying to waterstart in the light wind and current/rolling swell. No-go, the kiteboard was acting as a sea anchor. When I looked up I realized I was already about a quarter of the way to 'the tunnels". So I set the kiteboard free and enjoyed the downwinder back to Swell City.
The day ended with dinner at 6th Street, ice cream from Mike’s, camping at Tucker Park, and breakfast a Betty’s (tomorrow) - "It’s all good in the Hood!"
Quote of the day:
Local Guy: "Were you sailing a Ezzy Wave?"
Me: "Yes, and older blue/white one."
Local Guy: "Thanks for yelling "barge", I didn’t see it coming!"
Me: "No, it was a bit of a surprise to me too."
Local Guy: "Did you hit the rock on the way in? Are you OK?"
Me: "Yes, I am fine. I didn’t hit the rock I was practicing my body only forwards."
Local Guy: "Got it. Sure looked like you hit the rock though."
Wind was steady for the Gorge (with some gusts and generally from one direction although some swings could be seen off both shores).
River current has backed way off and is now more typical of what you would expect in early summer. As a result the river had a gentle rolling swell. Nice jumping ramps and rideable faces. Very fun, playful little faces were also presented for jumping at times. Jumps could be had in either direction (although port seemed to be favoured over starboard, a little unusual for Swell City). The water has also warmed up a lot in the last week too. My 5/3 was too hot. Time to start using short sleeve 3/3, summer is finally here!
It is usually a friendly crowd at Swell City and today was no exception. There were only a few of the regulars and as a result people were cheering from the beach as those on the water tried new moves.