Koch to embark on historic kiting voyage

Kiteboarder will sail from Catalina Island to California later this month

LOS ANGELES — Professional kiteboarder Adam Koch of Seattle, Wash., will make history this month by becoming the first person to cross from Catalina Island to the California coast on a kiteboard.

Leaving from Isthmus Cove on the leeward side of the island, Koch, 24, will sail toward the mainland, aiming for his final destination of Seal Beach.

“With a crossing like this, it’s all about preparation and anticipating the unexpected,” said Koch, a long-time Gorge Games competitor who is currently ranked sixth in the world by the Professional Kite Riders Association (PKRA).

“Once I take off from Catalina, I’m exposing myself to Mother Nature. The conditions could be optimal near the island, but could be nasty in the middle. I have to be ready for anything,” he said.

The distance of the crossing will be anywhere from 26-30 miles, and the estimated time to complete it is three hours. Koch’s historic journey will be aired later this year on Fox Sports Net’s program “Evolution of Sports,” and on NBC’s “The Extremist.”

Catalina Island is a recognized part of Southern California’s iconography, and the channel between the island and the mainland has long represented a challenge for a variety of water sports.

While similar down-wind events, such as the Gorge Games’ Blowout, take place regularly, the distance and the severity of conditions will be a first for the sport of kiteboarding.

Combining elements of windsurfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding and surfing, kiteboarding is a relatively new sport that has been gaining enthusiasm since it began roughly six years ago.

Southern California has strong kiting enclaves that are centered in the Seal Beach area. Avid kiteboarders can also be found in Belmont Shores, Torrance and further north in Los Angeles County.

The sport has also been consistently growing in places like Hawaii, the Gorge, Brazil and all over Europe. One of the biggest events on the PKRA circuit is the Cabarete World Cup, which is held in the Dominican Republic.

Local kiteboarding fanatic David Tyburski of Wipika, who is ranked fifth in the world, won the Cabarete event last year. Fellow locals Jeff Tobias (Slingshot), Sky Solbach (Naish), Will James (North) and Jaime Herraiz (North) will all look to overtake him this year.

Koch currently lives and trains in Maui, Hawaii, and is sponsored by Naish Kiteboarding, Red Bull and Rip Curl. He learned to kiteboard here in the Gorge, and has been riding professionally for the past three years. His biggest pro win came at the 2001 Gorge Games, when he won first in the men’s freestyle division. He also placed third in the 2002 Blowout.

For more information about Koch’s upcoming Catalina-to-California kiteboarding adventure, visit www.reevolution.tv.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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