‘Roots of Kiteboarding’ next in Sense of Place series

Gorge “godfather” of sport Cory Roeseler recalls kiting’s earliest days at Oct. 16 event

Hood River’s Cory Roeseler testing out early modes of wind and water transportationin 1997.

Cory Roeseler
Hood River’s Cory Roeseler testing out early modes of wind and water transportationin 1997.

Who invented kiteboarding?

There were plenty of early pioneers and brave souls who risked life and limb on experimental gear to carry the sport forward, but who was the first: who gets credit for inventing the sport we now call kiteboarding?

The answer will almost surely depend on where you ask the question.

Perhaps Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux, Ian Day, Dieter Strasilla or Peter Lynn, if you’re asking in France, Germany or New Zealand. In Hawaii, props might go to Laird Hamilton, Manu Bertin or Lou Wainman, not for inventing the sport, but certainly for bringing legitimacy.

Ask around the Gorge, and one name will rise above the rest.

Cory Roeseler.

“Who invented kiting? Maybe it’s a question, maybe it’s a statement,” Roeseler said this week. “I’ll put the story out there and let the audience decide.”

“Cory Roeseler: Roots of Kiteboarding” is the topic of the Columbia Gorge Earth Center’s next Sense of Place presentation. Join Roeseler and CGEC staff for the second lecture in the annual series on Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar in downtown Hood River. Roeseler will share stories, photos and home videos of the very earliest days of kiteboarding; when he and his father used the Gorge as a testing ground for gear that would eventually inspire an entire industry and a mainstream global action sport.

Here’s a teaser of the lecture from www.cgec.org:

“When Cory Roeseler’s father, Billy, drew up plans to tow a waterskier with a kite, Cory’s sense of place was hardly Gorge-like. Cory mowed lawns to buy boat gas to fuel his waterski obsession on Lake Washington. He hated the wind, as it rendered the lake unskiable, and winters dragged in suburban traffic jams with folks who only dreamed of living close to nature.

“At first, the wind resource in Hood River served only as an R&D necessity to power the Roeselers’ undersized kites. But then the inspired windsurf culture of the ’80s and the timelessly grounded agriculture community grew on him, and Cory decided that Hood River was the ideal place to work, play and raise a family of his own.

“Kiting in the ’80s and ’90s presented challenges, starting with the fact that no gear existed, and ending with the reality as a new sport, there was a complete lack of instruction. Self-taught, with plenty of mis-steps interspersed with sputters of progress, the Roeselers learned to do by doing and to celebrate failure at least as much as success.

“Join inventor Cory Roeseler as he shares stories, photos and home video clips of his pioneering efforts that led to what we know today as the sport of kiteboarding, and as he challenges you to participate in exploring the future of wind-sports.”

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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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