Storms and Fires

Posted on Posted in Equipment, Travel

It’s not due to lack of content that I haven’t had a blog update for a month now. So what’s been keeping me away from sitting down and and opening the laptop? Firing winds, forest fires, coast trips, sick days, mountain biking, chasing Jose, flying to Germany and forgetting my password.

…just kidding about the password 😉

Phil Soltysiak slalom windsurfing in the Gorge - Photo by Bob Stawicki
Slalom in the Gorge – Photo by Bob Stawicki

Hood River was windy nearly every day in August. I was busy testing the 2018 Sailworks Revolutions which are coming together very well and will be available for purchase this coming spring. What do you think of the new graphics? Solid primary colours, doesn’t get more simple than that.

Morning testing of a 2018 Sailworks Revolution 4.7 at the Hood River Event Site
Morning testing of a 2018 Sailworks Revolution 4.7 at the Hood River Event Site

During some of the windy days in Hood River I filmed with Alex Mertens to put together a short and (hopefully) entertaining clip titled “Sick Day” – if you haven’t seen it yet give it a watch:

On the few windless days in Hood River I managed to score wind and waves on the Oregon Coast in Manzanita, just 2.5 hours West of Hood River. I also enjoyed a beautiful hike on Saddle Mountain and some white water mattressing on the Hood River – both highly recommended if you’re in the area!

Saddle Mountain hike - Photo by Kelsey Cardwell
Saddle Mountain hike – Photo by Kelsey Cardwell
Kelsey white water mattressing the Hood River., floating the Hood River.
Kelsey white water mattressing the Hood River.

This year’s high levels of precipitation on the West Coast during the winter and dry summer made the underbrush grow in the spring, and dry in the summer, causing dangerous forest fire conditions.

The “Eagle Creek Fire” started September 2nd, and burnt down enormous parts of the beautiful Gorge, and threatened the town of Hood River too. Thankfully since then some rain helped contain the fire and greatly reducing the risk of it growing any bigger.

Eagle Creek Fire smoke over Hood River
Eagle Creek Fire smoke over Hood River

After I left smokey Hood River my plan was to spend 2.5 weeks at home. That plan didn’t last because the weather was too perfect in Toronto; warm, sunny, calm. Although I hit the trails on my mountain bike and played some beach volleyball, I was itching to go windsurfing.

Beautiful trails for riding near home.
Beautiful trails for riding near home.

I kept my eye on Tropical Storm Jose off the US East Coast, and when it looked like Rhode Island would get some breeze I packed up the van with Toronto windsurfer Max Robinson and started the 9 hour road trip to meet up with local Rhode Island shredder and our guide for the week Chris Eldridge.

Our storm chasing plan included a tent the size of a 16m kite to sleep in, a plan which even inexperienced campers would raise a doubtful eyebrow at. We need to thank Chris and his family for hosting us and making us feel at home on the nights when camping was out of the question.

The forecast was for 3 days of wind, one of them including a downpour of 100mm. Luck was on our side as despite the forecast, Jose just parked himself off the coast of Rhode Island and we windsurfed 6 days in a row, mostly without rain! My girlfriend Kelsey joined us on our 5th day to windsurf the most extreme storm chase session of the trip when the wind was easily gusting over 40 knots and the rain was coming down hard. There were no tricks going down, just survival sailing. After the wind dropped we surfed and sup surfed Saturday and Sunday to wrap up the adventure.

Max is more picky about his hair products than I am
Max is more picky about his hair products than I am

I returned home early Monday morning just in time to un-pack, clean, sticker sails and pack again for my flight to Germany on Tuesday.

I thought I only see these photos on Kook of the Day, now I got my own.
Packed boards and ready to go. I thought I only see these photos on Kook of the Day, now I got my own.

I just arrived in Sylt and registration is tomorrow. The forecast looks good, and our competition runs from September 29th until October 8th. Stay tuned to my social media accounts and www.pwaworldtour.com for the latest updates. Now if only the airline would deliver my suitcase…