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Event Site Users- Make your voices heard
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really dont want windsurfing to go away. My wife does it and i still teach middle school kids how to do it every year--11 years running. I taught both of my boys as well. They chose kiting, which I also teach. As to numbers of one compared to another, talk to reps and shop owners and come to whatever conclusion you wish. There are absolutely more windsurfers in The Gorge than kiters. Moreover, I do think windsurfing, like skiing will see a resurgence. I think kiting will have something to do with that, just as park snowboarding brought and twin tips re-energized skiing.

Kiters tend to congregate at reasonable launches: The Coast, Rooster, Stevenson, The Event Site/Sand Spit, Rufus, Roosevelt, 3-mile. Hatchery, Cheap, Swell, Arlington, are advanced only, and a PITA regardless. Rock Creek and Rowena are doable, but not ideal. Of course some windsurfers no longer go to the Event Site. It's getting crowded. High water is forcing us into close proximity--all of us. I stopped going to the Hatchery because of too many windsurfers. Looks before you jibe, look again, and again...

My point is simply that kiting is no longer this weird fringe sport. I am not out to convert windsurfers to kiting. I really could not care less how folks enjoy the wind using whatever. Your argument that CGWA put up 75k and therefore has elevated privileges has no resonance with me whatsoever. Notwithstanding that I was involved in raising those funds.

I assumed your issue with kiters is "danger." I apologize if this is not correct. Having said that, you appear to not want me at the Event Site. So, I am confused as to why. If the issue is one of being too crowded I can relate to that frustration. The White Salmon bridge used to be "mine." I was one if the few kiters up there in years past, especially on windy days. Well, those days are long gone. I stopped windsurfing at The Hatchery in 2000 as it was just too crowded for my liking on the really good days. If one chooses to not use the Event Site because it's too crowded, so be it. Can't blame them one bit. If the Event Site is NOT too crowded in July then I would say that Hood River is not doing all it can to attract cash carrying wind enthusiasts.

I now go further and further upwind when I kite. It's at times frustrating, but I see no point in becoming resentful of others discovering the joy that I experienced. Wasted energy. Things change. I adapt.

I really don't know how else to say that I have put my own $$ and time into the Event Site. Moreover, I do not recognize the distinction between windsurfers and kiters that I feel that you do when it comes to access privileges. And yes, this all sounds like the anti-snowboarding BS of the early '90's to me. Mt Hood Meadows is really crowded now. It;s full of folks enjoying the snow. I am not at all interested in the Evnet Site becoming the ALTA of windsports. If you are then that is certainly your right to pursue that goal. Go for it.

I strive for reasonable access for all. This year this has been a huge challenge. I want something in place to mitigate high water. A high water contingency plan. Again, I want to get my kite in the air. When the sand is out I am happy to wade over to it. When it's not, I need another option local option. I live here, pay taxes here, and the Event Site--the entire Port--is my front yard. That's how I am leaving this. I feel pretty confident that that's where we are headed. A reasonable, balanced plan that mostly satisfies all users. I think that's a great thing.

I hope whatever comes out of what I believe to be very balanced, fruitful meetings with Port officials, recreationalists, shops, and respective wind organizations leaves you, as well as all wind users satisfied, or at least mostly so. My personal goal is "mostly' satisfied.

Best of Winds to all

Eric Cohn
Hood River
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Bret



Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 149
Location: Up State New York

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is by far an issue that needs discussion. I have stressed over the years the sand is only going to make the event site look like our current marina. You will eventually have walk your gear off the grass and accross sand to launch!

Eventually the river will be dredged to make the barges safe to navigate through that narrow bridge, however it will not favor the needs of Windsurfers, or Kiters.

Jensen beach who ever designed that beach launch had zero anticipation of the Geological events that has been drifting sand down since the mid 1990's. The marina had to make some changes. The old Marina Launch is actually on the one way road heading out of that park. New story at the event site, sooner or later it is going to be a big sandy beach, and eventually it will make it to Jensen Beach. The river is controlled by Dams.

My point is there will be more than plenty of room at the eventsite and there should not be restrictions, but maybe an organized planned area for windsurfers amd kiters to share the beach. Preferably the West half is for the windsurfers, and the West end beach needs some changes. The rock jetty needs to go away and that could open it up a bit. It would be a move in the right direction to make a positive statement to the Windsurfing and Kiting community worldwide.
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katosandog



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric:

I don't think the snowboarding/skiing analogy works, but it could if snowboards were 60 feet long and took up 5 chairs when they loaded. I just have a hard time envisioning a crowded launch site where the two sports co-exist without a ton of friction. Physically they are not compatible.

I love what kiters have brought to the water (like snowboarding to the slopes); I enjoy sailing with the vast majority of them, but when you get a kiter that is clueless about the limitations of windsurfing, it's makes for a very unpleasant experience. (You know, the guy that can't figure out if you have to go upwind in marginal conditions that you'll fall off plane, or worse, the guy that thinks you want to go off the wind when it's nuclear.) Take one or two of those kiters and thrown them onto the Event Site on a windy summer Sunday, and violence is almost guaranteed.

Let's just keep the status quo at ONE launch in the Gorge - what's wrong with that?
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GarryW



Joined: 11 Mar 2001
Posts: 160

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Archery and skeet shooting are both target sports. Should they be done at the same time at the same place?
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tweeky



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

katosandog wrote:

Let's just keep the status quo at ONE launch in the Gorge - what's wrong with that?


I think I may be mis-understanding you... are you saying that kiters should have just one launch in the Gorge (I take you mean the sand spit) and be barred from launching any where else on the river?
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blake64



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 56
Location: Camping.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject: Pamplona running of the bulls Reply with quote

Dropping in to relay this mix / summary of thoughts compiled during discussions with Event Site observers:

>We are talking about the Event Site main launch area which is extremely tiny, often extremely congested, and obviously an inappropriate place to allow kiteboarding. And, it is almost the very definition of the very worst possible place to *teach* kiteboarding. It is only being done now out of absolute sheer necessity -- but that does not make it safe nor appropriate.

>We will be hearing from some very nice and reasonable people here on the forums and in the public meetings, but we need to remember to focus not on them personally but on the activity in question (kiting)....at the spot in question (Event Site main launch)....and we need to consider whether kiting there is reasonable.

>This is not a case of "can't we all just get along?". No, this is a very real case of unfairly pushing out established users, while trying to stuff a square peg into a tiny round hole -- and any reasonable person with experience (whether they admit it or not) absolutely knows that kiting at the Event Site main launch is not going to work right and that there would be an inappropriately strong daily element of risk for everyone involved. ...An X factor that when something goes wrong (as it often does), there is very very little margin for error.

>Kiting, particularly when beginners are in play, absolutely pushes out windsurfing. As we have also heard here, many windsurfers are already avoiding the Event Site because it has become such a Pamplona running of the bulls-type atmosphere.
>Was that the goal here?

>Kiting needs it's own new launch site not at the main Event Site launch. Kiters deserve river access -- they are good people, our friends, family, and co-workers, but it is kiting itself that is the issue, not the people.

>Kiting is safer than it was, but unless you are outrageously loose with your definitions, it is still not "safe" -- particularly in a congested launch area and/or particularly in an area where strong gusty winds are common.

>The argument that "the problem really is only during 8 - 10 weeks during the summer so it's not such a big deal after all" completely misses the point because those are the very busiest weeks, when, along with all of the other months of the Spring-Summer-Fall season, when the situation will absolutely not be safe nor appropriate at the Event Site if kiting is not banned or severely limited.

>One option to allow extremely limited kiting while acknowledging the tiny and unique physical reality of the main Event Site launch and also the comparatively massive territory needed for kiting is to hire Spring through Fall three full-time beach marshalls to enforce hourly permits for kiting at the Event Site. When a beach marshall is not present, there can be no kiting. One, or possibly Two kiters per hour only can use the launch. Schools and individuals can reserve launch times using a lottery or other fair method. This would absolutely be subject to this Failsafe rule, however:
>Failsafe rule: the first time a kiter or windsurfer or other person is seriously injured due to kiting at this tiny, congested spot, then that absolutely ends kiting at the Event Site main launch.

>The preferred solution, which will almost certainly be the only viable solution eventually anyway, is that the kiting community will need to find and implement an official kite launch spot not at the Event Site main launch. This will take plenty of time and expense. Everything good always does. But where there is a desperate need, time and money will step forward.
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rowenaman



Joined: 18 Apr 2000
Posts: 63
Location: Da Gorge

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

phazle5499 wrote:
Time for the kiters to step up, raise the cash and do the hard work instead of poaching on sites already developed and paid for by windsurfers.


This windsurfing vs kiting BS is ridiculous. A couple of points. Many of us long time windsurfers now kite. I have attended many beach clean ups at The Hatch and Dougs (put on by the CGWA) as well as being a member. So I prefer to believe that both the CGWA and CGKA realize that safe and debris free launches are good for everybody in the Gorge economy.

True, before kiting - many of the launches were improved by dedicated volunteers through CGWA. I remember a work party to improve the access to the narrow beach at Viento years ago; but now it's multi use.

Going with your "exclusivity" clause. What about SUP and kayaks? They did not work on the beach either as an "organization" - but could be locals that want to pitch in. My point is what's good for WSers beach access is good for everybody - and we ALL NEED tourist dollars on both sides of the river.

I still love to WS, but also love to kite - and recognize that the only way we will get along is to work cooperatively. On balance, even though the ES crowding is a challenge on peaks times and days - folks have managed to make it work at the Event Site for ALL users. My main rec is for more visable signage to keep tourists from wandering into the landing zone(s).

BTW, I don't poach the Event Site - paid $50 for a pass! I only kite there - for WS, I seek bigger swell and there are plenty of places for that. Hatch, Swell, Cheap, Dougs, The Wall, Rufus, Arlington etc.
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phazle5499



Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent summary Blake64. The slogans "can't we all just get along" and "we are all watersports enthusiasts" or "I used to be a windsurfer and worked on the event site so I ought to be able to launch my kite there" or "what's good for windsurfers is good for eveybody" just avoid the real issues raised in your summary of launching and landing kites at the event site. I hope your summary will be taken under consideration by the Port in making its decision.
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hilton08



Joined: 02 Apr 2000
Posts: 487

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless of whether the kiters are allowed to launch off the grass at the Event Site or are forced (or choose) to wade out to the Sandbar to launch, the water in front of the Event Site is still going to be crowded in the Summer.
The same factors that make the Event Site/Sandbar a great spot for intermediate windsurfers also make it ideal for beginner and intermediate kiters. The downwind "safety net" of the sandbar, milder winds, and flatter water out of the barge lanes are appealing to both.
The kiters face the same frustrations of finding room to launch, land and ride on the busy days as the windsurfers, only magnified, since there are almost always more kiters that want (and pay) to use the Event Site, and they do require more space.
The current split of the Event Site seems quite fair and reasonable, and in no way seeks to "push out" the windsurfers.
Even on the busiest days when the parking is maxed out, there is still room for the windsurfers to rig and launch from the West half of the Event Site.
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tweeky



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Pamplona running of the bulls Reply with quote

blake64 wrote:
This would absolutely be subject to this Failsafe rule, however:
>Failsafe rule: the first time a kiter or windsurfer or other person is seriously injured due to kiting at this tiny, congested spot, then that absolutely ends kiting at the Event Site main launch.


Fair enough, but same rules apply for windsurfing, right? If there is a serious injury as a result of a windsurfer then windsurfing absolutely ends at the Event Site main launch.. you willing to stand behind that agreement Blake?
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