The Gorge Paddle Challenge, arguably the most beloved event in our sport, has officially been cancelled for season 2020 due to the pandemic.
The news was first posted by hometown hero and three-time Gorge “Double Downwind” champion Fiona Wylde on Insta this evening.
The annual gathering of the tribe in Hood River, Oregon, was officially cancelled after the state announced no sporting events until at least September. Even by then, it’s unlikely any paddlers from outside North America will be allowed to fly in, while the variable conditions mean it’s not really an event that can be postponed anyway (the Gorge’s signature wind – and temperature – drop off fairly quickly after summer).
The 2020 edition was set to be a very special one considering the recent passing of Gorge founder and local legend Steve Gates, not to mention the fact it’s the 10th-anniversary. The tributes and celebrations will have to wait another year, though I suspect the 2021 edition will be even more memorable given the forced downtime this year.
View this post on Instagram
It’s with sad news that I share the announcement that the 2020 @gorgepaddlechallenge has been canceled. . This event is more than a stand up paddle board race. It’s a community event for everybody in the sport to celebrate time on the water together! It’s when we all get to share laughs and glides and make a vacation out of a race. From the first-time racers to the pros, this race is one of the best in the world! And this year it was going to mean even more. It’s the 10th year of the event and it’s would have been the first year of the race without Steve. . It’s very difficult to think of all of these things right now, but worldwide our health is the number one priory. This decision isn’t based on the event organizers, but rather the state of Oregon. The Governor is not allowing large gatherings or event permits until September. This means that there are not any events happening until then, small or large. So, we have to respect the rules and understand that Steve would want everybody to be healthy and safe. . We can still paddle together, but separately, on the 15th & 16th of August. Wherever you live, go for a paddle, think of the fun glides, think of @bigwinds and Steve and tag @gorgepaddlechallenge! . Most of all, the stronger we all are together, the faster we will be able to limit the spread of the Corona Virus.