Tuesday, July 18, 2006
By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
July 8, 2006
Windsurfing can be an expensive sport to get into. From lessons, wetsuits and safety equipment to sails, masts, booms and boards, the price of new equipment needed to get on the water can be a few thousand dollars when everything is added up.
And once one has all the necessary gear, there’s no telling how long it will take to learn how to use it. For many, especially local youngsters and their parents, the initial cost of the sport is enough to deter them from learning how to windsurf in one of the windsurfing capitals of the world.
To encourage more locals to get into the sport, many Hood River shops and schools offer lessons, with gear included, at reasonable rates. Cheaper, used gear is also available at many of the same shops.
Another option for kids, which is relatively new, is to learn to windsurf through the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District and the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association. The two groups have teamed up to provide windsurfing lessons and sessions to Gorge kids (about 10-18 year olds) for an extremely low cost.
The HRVPRD program comes first, as anyone wanting to windsurf with the CGWA program must first complete the beginning level with Parks and Rec., or a comparative other program. Once participants have completed that level, they can join the CGWA’s every Tuesday windsurfing nights.
The HRVPRD program costs $40 for 12 hours of lesson and equipment. Each 12-hour lesson is broken up into three days, with sessions running from July 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, July 31-Aug. 3, Aug. 7-10 and 14-17. Morning classes will go from 9 a.m. to noon and the afternoon session will be from 1-4 p.m.
Lessons are given by certified instructors at the Hook, with beginning, intermediate and advanced courses available. Quality equipment, small class sizes and skilled instruction make the program a safe and fun way to learn how to shred the Columbia in style. Skills that will be taught will include the basics like understanding the equipment and uphauling to tacking, jibing, harness use and sailing in heavy winds.
After completing at least the beginning level of the HRVPRD program, or one similar to it, kids can then participate in the CGWA Tuesday night sessions at the Hook. Sessions will run from 4-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday, starting June 20 and lasting to Aug. 22.
According to the CGWA, the goal of the program is to help provide a safe and fun environment where youth can develop their windsurfing skills get in the mix with young rippers. Tuesday night sessions are not meant to teach windsurfing, but to provide kids the opportunity to practice and improve their skills. Participants should already be able to beach start, uphaul, sail out and return to the same place.
Due to donations from Ezzy, Sailworks, Naish Sails, Storm Warning/World Sails, Hi-Fly, Dakine, Chinook, Big Winds and the Port of Hood River, a shed full of sails, boards, wetsuits, harnesses, helmets, and booties is available for use.
How to join:
To sign up for the HRVPRD program, stop by the Hood River Aquatics Center (17th Street and May). Kids must take a free swim test, which consists of swimming 25 yards using the front crawl and treading water for two minutes. Once that is completed, participants can register for the above sessions.
The CGWA Tuesday evening sessions are simple: show up at the Hook around 4 p.m. on a Tuesday, find the CGWA/community windsurfing trailer and check out gear with one of the supervisors. For more info on the CGWA program, visit:
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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