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Nervous Gorge nOOb

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Northwest Kiteboarding -> Gorge / Portland / Oregon Coast
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raueda1

Since 25 Dec 2017
5 Posts

Kook



PostMon Dec 25, 17 3:18 pm    Nervous Gorge nOOb Reply with quote

Looking for reassurance on an extended Gorge trip in the spring/summer. I've been kiteboarding on the east coast since 1995 or so. Yeah, really that long, all over Cape Cod, Long Island and Hatteras, so I'm experienced with waves, crazy currents, tides, scary fish, coexisting with surfers, etc. I'm an older guy at an advanced level ( I guess) but LOTS of experience in all wind conditions.

So, I recently moved to Utah for skiing and need to get back on the water. There's no real kiting here. For some reason though, I'm a bit intimidated by the Gorge. I'm used to endless long beaches, open launches (usually), and benign recreational boaters, not barges. The idea of being closed-in on a river kind of gives me the willies, yet everybody raves about the gorge and it's awesomeness.

The question is, am I overthinking it? If I'm a competent kiter with excellent upwind and decent wave skills, so do I have anything to be concerned about? Comments welcome, thanks!

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pollywog

Since 07 Aug 2009
208 Posts
Columbia City
Stoked



PostMon Dec 25, 17 3:39 pm     Reply with quote

I think youíll do fine. The barges are not like a steady stream of traffic down a freeway. I kite 3 times a week in the spring and summer and see maybe 3-6 total over those 3 days. There are fishing nets and deadheads in areas but keeping alert keeps you safe.

Iíve kited a lot in Europe, North Africa, and the Caribbean. If Iím honest, the areas in the Gorge are some of the roughest.... however, respect for it will keep you relatively safe.

To me, itís one of the funnest place to kite that Iíve been to.

I think youíll be good...

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knotwindy

Since 25 Sep 2011
382 Posts

Obsessed



PostMon Dec 25, 17 3:49 pm     Reply with quote

You will be more than fine. Talk to anyone at whatever launch you end up at to get a bit of local knowledge about the specific launch dangers and etiquette like anywhere else. Most people in the Gorge are friendly and will gladly help. Itís really all just kiting. If the area you are riding in is sort of crowded and then suddenly not, look around, there might be a barge coming, But they move slow so itís is not a problem. Just be aware they can throw a big wind-shadow. And upwind in the Gorge in the spring/summer is a somewhat useless skill😄👋

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Singlemalt

Since 21 Jun 2015
124 Posts
White Salmon
Stoked



PostMon Dec 25, 17 4:29 pm     Reply with quote

Yeah, you are overthinking it.

Finding a place to stay is the hard part.

Pick up some small kites when you get here, thereís tons of used gear.

You wonít want to leave.

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raueda1

Since 25 Dec 2017
5 Posts

Kook



PostMon Dec 25, 17 5:53 pm     Reply with quote

Great info you guys, thanks, just what I was hoping for.

As for "small" kites, how small? My quiver runs from 6m - 17m in ~2m increments, mostly North Rebels. I usually ride twintips and prefer being over- rather than underpowered. I'll often grab a smaller board instead of smaller kite. If the 6m is too much on my small board it's easily blowing 35++kts and I usually take it as a sign to do something else! Wink
That said, more gear always calls to me . . .

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Matt V

Since 26 Oct 2014
343 Posts
Summer- OR Coast, Winter - My van near good snow
Explosive Diarrhea



PostMon Dec 25, 17 6:10 pm    Re: Nervous Gorge nOOb Reply with quote

raueda1 wrote:

So, I recently moved to Utah for skiing and need to get back on the water. There's no real kiting here. thanks!


ummmmmmmm......whatcha doin this winter??? You do snowkite, don't you?

Utah, in every other year except this one, is world class for park and ride snowkiting. The snow is pretty late this year. This is in contrast to TOO much snow last year.

If you are itchin for your fix of water, I really can't relate to that. I am usually day dreamin of snow when I am on the Oregon Coast in the summer. But good luck with the gorge. You will have fun and it is always a blast to explore new locations and conditions. One advantage no one else has talked about is that the current direction opposes the wind direction. Thus you will likely find you have twice the upwind capabilities of the gorge regulars - if you are used to ocean currents going the same direction of the wind.

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raueda1

Since 25 Dec 2017
5 Posts

Kook



PostMon Dec 25, 17 6:53 pm    Re: Nervous Gorge nOOb Reply with quote

Matt V wrote:
raueda1 wrote:

So, I recently moved to Utah for skiing and need to get back on the water. There's no real kiting here. thanks!


ummmmmmmm......whatcha doin this winter??? You do snowkite, don't you?

Utah, in every other year except this one, is world class for park and ride snowkiting. The snow is pretty late this year. This is in contrast to TOO much snow last year.

If you are itchin for your fix of water, I really can't relate to that. I am usually day dreamin of snow when I am on the Oregon Coast in the summer. But good luck with the gorge. You will have fun and it is always a blast to explore new locations and conditions. One advantage no one else has talked about is that the current direction opposes the wind direction. Thus you will likely find you have twice the upwind capabilities of the gorge regulars - if you are used to ocean currents going the same direction of the wind.

LOL, let me be clear: the water itch is limited to the summer. I'm a 100+ days skier at AltaBird and live 1/2 hour away, front door to lift. For me snowkiting just can't compete with steep trees. As for currents.... the norm where I spent the most time is more like ocean (or inlet) currents running 5 or 6 kts one way and then doing a complete 180deg reversal! If you can't stay upwind you're f****d.

Does sound like I was overthinking it. Which is great. I was just trying to figure out some trips after skiing is done. Now I may come up there for the summer. Laughing

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ldhr

Since 21 Jul 2009
1053 Posts
Hood River
XTreme Poster



PostMon Dec 25, 17 7:09 pm     Reply with quote

6, 8, 10, 12 is the perfect gorge and Oregon coast quiver.
The launches are safe and easy.
People are friendly.
We have the best beer in the world.
If you want an excuse for more gear - bring ski touring gear.... you can ski the volcanoes in the late spring (may, june). Mt, Hood, St. Helens, Adams.
Some of the best corn snow on the planet.

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scottnorby

Since 23 Sep 2005
488 Posts
Cascadia - Seattle - Encinitas
Obsessed



PostTue Dec 26, 17 9:16 am     Reply with quote

Probably a non issue but-----
Just in case you have been kiting in salt water 98% of the time --- which is sounds like you have--- be aware if you happen to wear contact lenses.
Fresh water can make a day in the water pure hell if you have gas permeable lenses like so many do.....including myself.

I have lived near the gorge most of my life and don't bother to ride there --- mostly due to the issue with contacts and sight. Personally my contacts turn into what feels like a solid piece of plastic in my eye.

Just an added comment.
And an encouragement to check out the Oregon COAST---the waves and wind in spring and summer are incredible. Its off an on between storms --- but with your experience I think you will love the 20 mile long DRIVABLE beach-- near Seaside Oregon. It used to be the old highway --so drive right on to the sand.

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raueda1

Since 25 Dec 2017
5 Posts

Kook



PostTue Dec 26, 17 12:27 pm     Reply with quote

scottnorby wrote:
Probably a non issue but-----
Just in case you have been kiting in salt water 98% of the time --- which is sounds like you have--- be aware if you happen to wear contact lenses.
Fresh water can make a day in the water pure hell if you have gas permeable lenses like so many do.....including myself.

I have lived near the gorge most of my life and don't bother to ride there --- mostly due to the issue with contacts and sight. Personally my contacts turn into what feels like a solid piece of plastic in my eye.

Just an added comment.
And an encouragement to check out the Oregon COAST---the waves and wind in spring and summer are incredible. Its off an on between storms --- but with your experience I think you will love the 20 mile long DRIVABLE beach-- near Seaside Oregon. It used to be the old highway --so drive right on to the sand.
OMG! This is huge!
1. ALL my riding has been in salt water and I DO wear contacts. They're the 1-day disposable kind. thanks for the heads-up.
2. I've converted a series of 3 perfectly good 4x4s into rust by beach driving on Cape Cod, LI and Hatteras. Drive-to beach kiting just can't be beat. Now the coast has been added to the trip. Thanks much!

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Windian

Since 28 Apr 2008
757 Posts
Newport, OR
Opinionated



PostTue Dec 26, 17 8:06 pm    Re: Nervous Gorge nOOb Reply with quote

raueda1 wrote:
I've been kiteboarding on the east coast since 1995 or so!


Really, you have been kiteboarding since 1995. Well you must have been one of the first in the world to do it since Cory Roeseler just invented it a couple of years before that and production kites were not even introduced to world till around 1999.

Dude, if you have that much experience you should be schooling everyone on which way is up in kiteboarding and going to some place like the Gorge would be a walk in the park.

Razz

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Loneski

Since 18 Dec 2010
96 Posts
Washington
 



PostTue Dec 26, 17 9:04 pm     Reply with quote

On the downside, you might have to learn to deal with the crowds.


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raueda1

Since 25 Dec 2017
5 Posts

Kook



PostTue Dec 26, 17 11:26 pm    Re: Nervous Gorge nOOb Reply with quote

Windian wrote:
raueda1 wrote:
I've been kiteboarding on the east coast since 1995 or so!


Really, you have been kiteboarding since 1995. Well you must have been one of the first in the world to do it since Cory Roeseler just invented it a couple of years before that and production kites were not even introduced to world till around 1999.

Dude, if you have that much experience you should be schooling everyone on which way is up in kiteboarding and going to some place like the Gorge would be a walk in the park.

Razz
Ok smart guy, stretch your mind and see if you can wrap your head around this.

I came to kiteboarding from KITEBUGGYING which predated boarding by many years. Ever hear of it? This was mostly on the expansive tidal flats on cape cod bay. At the time all there was were buggy kites: 4-line, nonrelaunchable foils with handles. Kitebars didn't exist yet. It was a no brainer to try the buggy kites on the water. When the tide comes in the sand flats are gone, so what to do then? I started with yard sale water skis. Not very good, downwind only. Then I tried messing around with a wakeboard but of course I sucked. Totally underpowered. Next was a yard sale windsurf board (a sinker with straps). That actually kind of worked. There were a few other people doing similar stuff and we were all getting pounded - bad gear, no relaunch capability, nobody to learn from. After a few years the LEIs came out and everything changed.

You should maybe check the yahoo groups kite archives, if they still exist, and take a history lesson before calling people out. Or do some homework on the history of power kites. So yeah, the gorge may indeed be a walk in the park. But it's my habit to do some homework before going someplace new and the gorge has a reputation for extremeness on the east coast.

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eric

Since 13 Jan 2006
1309 Posts

XTreme Poster



PostWed Dec 27, 17 6:21 am     Reply with quote

Respect you doing some homework and NWkite is the perfect place to do it. As ldhr said you indeed do have the optimum Gorge and Oregon coast quiver. Mostly the Gorge is windy avg 25 knots most days with a biggish spread: 15-30/35. That said going 300 meters in one direction or another, at a specific site, or driving 5-45 miles can make a big--sometimes--huge difference. As I'm sure you know, it's a river canyon so wind direction in relation to canyon direction and time of day are key. It's pretty simple once you are here for a few days. 95% of local kiters, and 100% of local shops are helpful and happy to give tips. You're going to love it!

Eric

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Sasquatch

Since 09 Mar 2005
1659 Posts
P-town
STACKED



PostWed Jan 03, 18 4:28 pm    Re: Nervous Gorge nOOb Reply with quote

raueda1 wrote:


The question is, am I overthinking it? If I'm a competent kiter with excellent upwind and decent wave skills, so do I have anything to be concerned about? Comments welcome, thanks!


It is always good for one to have a bit of fear or concern (the word respect works here too). It is when one is totally fearless and blind to potential dangers that sh%t tends to happen.

Eastern Gorge in the spring has very strong currents and the winds can crank with big variances. Snow melted water is very cold so dress for the swim, not the air temps. Actually when the mountain snows melt the entire Columbia flow/current is pretty strong and the water is deathly cold.

Salmon nets are dangerous and one should keep an eye out for those.

Bardges.

Summertime: bardges, lots of water users, and salmon nets are the main dangers.

If you are a power kite buggy rider than you should check out the Alvord Desert just east of the Steens Mountains. I think the time to do that though is in the winter. If you need info on this I can pm you contact info for someone that does that there. . .

Welcome to Oregon and remember, "when in Rome do as Romans do.", so to speak.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
386 Posts

Obsessed



PostWed Jan 03, 18 5:58 pm     Reply with quote

A lot of good comments on here.

As the Original Poster pointed out, the gorge does not tend to have long beaches. In fact many/most launch sites in the gorge are down right skinny.

If you break down you will likely not be coming to shore at a beach. Rather you will likely be climbing up a steep rock bank, trodding through a short stint of terrain with snakes and/or poison oak, possibly crossing a railroad track (not advocating for this, rather just pointing out the obvious that RR tracks are between the river and highway for most of the Gorge), and then putting your thumb out for a ride from a passing car (which is probably the easy part as lots of other kiteboarders here to pick you up).

You may want to consider whether you want to ride barefoot or find some foot protection...

On the plus side the wind (usually) runs opposite the current. As long as your kite has some power you can usually guide yourself back to a safe opening.

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