Ro-Sham kite contest highlights growing trend

Pro kiteboarders Sam Light, Brandon Scheid and Alex Fox finished one-two-three Saturday in an exciting final heat of the week-long Ro-Sham-Throwdown kiteboarding contest. Using a “terrain park” of jumps, rails and sliders anchored at the east end of the Hood River delta, the event brought some of the sport’s most progressive athletes to town to compete in the fast-evolving niche of “slopestyle” kiteboarding.

The annual event started early last week with several rounds of elimination heats to narrow down the field of competitors to the top 12, who would move on to compete in Saturday’s main event. A women’s contest was also held during the week, which saw Colleen Carroll rising to the top over fellow finalists Colleen Carroll, Sensi Graves, Laura Maher and Dominique Granger.

After variable wind all week, Saturday’s final was held in light but workable conditions. Three preliminary heats that day brought the field of 12 down to the top six, with several notable kiters getting knocked out of the competition by their more progressive adversaries. The final round pitted Light, Shield, Fox, Craig Cunningtham, Sam Medesky and Eric Rienstra against one another in an impressive showing that awarded points for technical difficulty, style and overall use of obstacles.

Judges gave Light top honors after putting in the best all-around performance. Scheid edged out Fox for second place by a mere 1.5 points.

“The level of competition was incredible,” said Forest Rea, co-founder of the event and a judge this year. “In particular, Sam Light’s riding was insane.”

Relatively new to the kiteboarding world, in-water rails, sliders and kickers have evolved directly from snowboarding and skateboarding features of the same sort. The Hood River delta is unique around the world in that it’s one of the few places with direct wind, shallow water and a community of kiteboarders dedicated enough to build and maintain features free and open to the general public.

The Ro-Sham-Throwdown, and the features used for the event, were created by the Hood River Slider Project, a local nonprofit whose purpose is to supporting the growth of the sport in the Gorge.

“It’s definitely a growing trend,” Rea said. “We’re seeing a lot more young riders out there kiteboarding because it follows in the footsteps of snowboarding and skateboarding.”

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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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