There have been so many big races lately that one of the biggest of them all, the Gorge Paddle Challenge, seems like it was way more than six weeks ago. But no, it was only just over a month ago that we saw the community gather in Hood River, Oregon for one of the best weekends of the year.
Well if you’re having withdrawals from the bumps and glides of the Gorge, this three-part series of mini-films from Team Quickblade should keep you satisfied for a while.
Featuring the likes of QB team riders Travis Grant, Titouan Puyo, Mo Freitas, Candice Appleby, Terrene Black, Rete Ebb, Toby Cracknell, Giorgio Gomez, Manatea Bopp du Pont, Jonas Letieri, Anthony Vela, Jimmy Terrell and more, this series does an awesome job of summing up the vibe of the Gorge race.
Part one sees the crew head off for a cruisy paddle on the eve of the race before the craziness of the weekend begins, while part two gets up close with the hectic Super Lap course race that went down on Saturday. But part three is perhaps the most interesting slice of the trio.
The final clip starts off with Travis Grant having a chat about the cross over between SUP and outrigger technique with Tahitian dark horse (and newly minted NSP/Quickblade team rider) Manatea Bopp du Pont, along with the rest of the crew staying at casa Quickblade. For the technique geeks, you’ll wanna pay close attention to this part of the show.
Oh and there’s also some absolutely beautiful footage of the macking downwind race. I can’t stop watching that section from around the 2 minute 30 second mark up until the 6 minute mark on loop. Take a look, and if that doesn’t make you want to book your tickets to Oregon, I’m not sure what will.
To cap it all off, the films mix a blend of 80’s style home movies with sublime HD footage for an even greater impact.
(…and is it just me, or does the Quickblade House look like the funnest place to stay in Hood River?)
The Gorge was all-time this year, attracting hundreds of elite, open and beginner paddlers from across the States and around the world to this beautiful paddling mecca. It was the second most competitive men’s field of the season behind the PPGs (and in fact the event eclipsed Doheny on the women’s Race Index). Throw in the amazing downwind conditions along with the awesome vibe you can only find in Hood River and you had one hell of a fun weekend.
I really can’t think of any other place (except Maui) where paddlers will show up days, sometimes even weeks early and do practice runs of the race course just for fun. That’s the special allure of the Gorge: It’s not just a race, it’s a destination…
See you there next year: August 19th & 20th, 2017.
Part 1: The Evening
Part 2: The Race
Part 3: The Downwind (and the Technique)