Wave Box highlights new, improved Adventure Village

Think the only place you’ll find people kayaking during the Gorge Games is amid the rocks on the White Salmon River?

Think again.

New this year to the Adventure Village is the Confluence Watersports Wave Box, “the world’s first portable kayak play spot.”

The 22,000-gallon ground pool utilizes two pumps capable of moving 6,400 gallons per minute, creating a six-foot wide waterfall that simulates a Class III/IV pour-over style hole.

“This type of project is what paddling has needed,” said Kelley Woolsey, Confluence Watersports’ vice president of sales and marketing. “Lack of access has limited the number of play boating participants to people who live within driving distance of a good river. We think the Wave Box will show people that paddle sports can be enjoyed by everyone, not just adrenaline-starved whitewater paddlers.”

This is the first time a whitewater feature has been simulated in a portable pool, highlighting the extreme aspect of the sport. The Wave Box can showcase professional athletes performing cartwheels, loops and split wheels to those who might never have been exposed to any aspect of the sport.

The Wave Box can also be used as a flat water pool to allow practice with sea kayaks, canoes or whitewater kayaks.

At 32 feet long, 17 feet wide and five feet deep, the Wave Box fits in diverse locations. But once it’s set up, moving the pool is a bit of a chore — it weighs 189,000 pounds when full.

The box is four by four by eight feet, with an additional area on top that connects to a six-foot wide, two-foot long spout that feeds the pour-over.

According to Confluence Watersports, during the past two years paddling growth rates exceeded any other self-directed sports, distributed almost equally in multiple age groups.

Since 1998, participation in canoeing and kayaking has increased by 50 percent, totaling around 6.4 million last year. Just over a million people paddled a kayak 10 times or more in the past year, and over 18 million outdoor enthusiasts went canoeing.

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The Wave Box is one of many attractions at the Gorge Games Adventure Village, which opens today at the Marina. Through Sunday, visitors to the Village can take advantage of outdoor gear demos and product sampling, interactive games, raffles and contests, the Banff film festival, daily footage of Gorge Games competitors, clinics and activities (kayaking, windsurfing, mountain biking and hiking), the Outward Bound Kids Program (competitions, hiking, clinics and Meet the Pros), and the Women’s Program on Thursday.

Today through Saturday the Village is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 386-7774 or visit www.gorgegames.com

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