Windfest offers no rest for weary

Last weekend’s Windfest celebration at the Hood River Expo Center wasn’t billed as a religious experience. But there was plenty of praying going on.

Praying for wind, that is.

As every windsurfer knows, you can’t go very far without a little help from the wind gods.

Good thing they were listening, because 900 local and out-of-town sailors were treated to a better-than-anticipated weekend of weather and wind.

“All you can do is pray for good weather,” said Eric Skemp, general manager of Hifly North America and president of the American Windsurfing Industries Association (AWIA), which sponsored the fourth-annual event.

“We were just hoping the conditions would be good enough to give people a chance to test out some new equipment, take a lesson and enjoy the town of Hood River,” he said.

Local manufacturers and retailers such as Sailworks, Gorge Sport, Big Winds, Reel Wind, Windsurfing Hawaii, Hood River WaterPlay, Brian’s Windsurfing, Windwing, Chinook, North Sports, Hifly and Lava Gear all set up shop along the Hood River waterfront.

Highlighted by Saturday night’s Pray for Wind party, sponsored by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, the third stop on the Windfest circuit offered plenty of good times and good jibes for windsurfers of all ability levels.

“Our goal for Windfest is to encourage people to get their gear out of the garage and come celebrate the sport,” Skemp said of the event, which passed through Cape Hatteras, N.C., and San Francisco before blowing through Hood River.

“Overall, it’s good for business, good for the sport and good for Hood River. We’ve been very fortunate over the years, and this year was our best yet,” he said.

Skemp also said that AWIA recently added two additional stops to the Windfest tour in 2003. Cape Cod and Minnesota will join the fun next year, but dates have not yet been announced.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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