Every time I drove by Hood River, Oregon I would look down into the Columbia river and watch all the windsurfers and kiteboarders whipping along on the river without a care in the world. We moved to Oregon four years ago and every year I would vow to learn windsurfing. Every year something came up. Finally, this last weekend was my time. My three hours to be exact. To be a rookie.
Some of you know from earlier posts that I don’t pay more than approximately $4 an hour for entertainment, unless it makes a life time experience. Learning a new sport is a life time experience and thus qualifies for a little extra. In this case $65 for three hours of rental; two hours of instruction and one hour of free for all.
Learning the basics of wind surfing and actually getting propelled along by the wind for a short distance is actually fairly easy if you are in relatively good shape and have some balance. During the lesson we went over the parts of the board, how to get on the board, how to turn, and finally how to catch the wind. Falling off the board came naturally. The getting on and off the board was pretty easy. Windsurfing turned out to be the same as most board sports; learning to turn is the toughest part of the first lessons. Turning correctly took me about two hours to get, the real issue is trusting your balance on the board. The final jewel of information for the first lesson is that you don’t sail up or down wind, you sail cross wind. After all that you’re ready to sail.
The environment for the rookies in Hood River is a nice and secluded spot surrounded on almost all four sides. Everyone out in this area is a beginner or an instructor, so no one is judgmental and the occasional crash is over looked usually with a good laugh. I was just starting to think I was getting the hang of it when the wind picked up. I was getting a little tired and going on two and a half hours into it, but the wind was in, so I decided to give it go. I caught a little of the gusts but mostly the wind ripped the sail out of my hands and pushed me into the water. Tired but happy I decided to call it a day, right around the three hour mark. Yes, I was sore the next day. However, I still stand by my youthful self, and say; “If you don’t need Ibuprophine the next day, you didn’t have enough fun.” Finally, as I was walking the Wind Festival all the kiteboarders and windsurfers were called in due to dangerous winds. Yeah, I knew it.