Aug 26, 2015

Hood River: new career move?

Cool view of the scene by Elder SUP

The Gorge Paddle Challenge is always a great place to be... Hood River is a pretty rad little town with water sports galor, mtn bike trails, hiking, skiing, glaciers, great breweries, bike shops, outdoor shops, restaurants, rivers, the list CAN go on...

I was in Hood River earlier this summer with a group of close friends where we spent 4 days mtn biking hut to hut around Mt Hood... it was brutally hot, and the days were long but the views gorgeous, the company fabulous, and the river dip at the end of the ride was worth every sweat bead my body had to provide.

This time, 2 months later 2 months more pregnant I come back to Hood River for the water aspect. Thankfully Avery's dad is a beast of a driver and got us all to Hood River in one piece. We were stoked despite forest fires and long nights of driving.. We got in Friday afternoon just in time to sneak in a great Downwind Run, the wind was pumping and we were all dying to get out... I got to also ride the prototype SIC 12"6 FX board which was great in the waves. I felt great out there, but clearly didn't push my hardest just really was out enjoying the bumps and the scene..
Some/most of the PNW crew: love this community

Saturday I tested out my skills on the MIC. Al Paterson is an amazing MC and I felt a little nervous but also so glad to be able to be up in the announcer booth with him. Surprisingly, our team work felt very natural and it was totally fun, I also got to enjoy the day with Chuck and MJ. It was definitely a little tough to watch the elite women compete, as I should have been there paddling with them, but it is also good to know my limits during pregnancy and I am sure I will be back racing in the future. Rest is good, and will hopefully make me stronger physically and mentally for upcoming races. Thanks Al for the great experience, and for the rest of the Gorge Paddle Challenge team for allowing me to be a part of the event despite not racing.
Al, MJ, me, Chuck: the announcing crew

On Sunday, I got the pleasure to be in a support boat following the elite women's race. I called in reports to Al who then announced them on the speaker. Once the ladies were in I got back in the announcer booth and helped announcing the rest of the finishers. Thank you Victoria and Scott for the fun times on the boat.. It was great to experience the river from a different vantage point, relaxed, comfortable, in great company on the motorboat.
Victoria, me, Scott: the boat crew for elite women

All in all I had a great experience at the Gorge, I got to be a part of this great event, connect with my paddler friends as well as everyone else who is part of the SUP community. I also got to experience a different aspect of racing, and you know what? I loved that too:) YAY! I feel like I am really getting to expand my horizons, my skills, and my ability to reach all sorts of amazing folks from all walks of life.

I love new adventures and experiences

over 200 paddlers paddle out in a circle to give spirit to Andres and his search

Despite a lot of successes, new experiences, and positive experiences I do have to address a sad tragedy that our community experienced on the weekend at the Gorge. A great man and paddler from Miami, Andres Pombo went missing while on a downwind run on Friday afternoon. I have met him when I was down in Miami teaching some SUP clinics. It is really hard and sad to see lives lost, and people heartbroken through sudden accidents. There has been a lot of communication over the internet about how it was handled and people's thoughts and theories, emotions, etc. My heart goes out to everyone who was close to him and to everyone in the SUP community for this tragic loss. I do want to reflect on what we can learn from this and how to move on to help prevent further tragedies such as this one. Distressed mullet wrote a great piece on safety out on the water. Check it out below
Distressed Mullet writes a great article on safety...

It is so important to be aware of conditions, your abilities, who you are going with, and take the appropriate precautions before setting out on the water.  SUP may seem like a simple sport to some outsiders but it is important to take lessons from good instructors and be aware of all aspects of the sport. Being someone who lives in a colder environment and surrounded by cold water safety is always my priority when out in the water. I always think of my safety plan before I head out (even though I am a pro SUP athlete, one of the best in the world infact,...) I also make sure I know the people I am with and ensure we trust each other and can help each other in difficult situations. I do this in all of my outdoor sports/adventures (paddling, skiing, mtn biking). I hope we all continue to learn and keep sharing the stoke of watersports with others in a safe and totally awesome way:)

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

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