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OCEAN PADDLESPORT/ FENN SURFSKI DEMO DAYS IN BELLINGHAM

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We are pleased to announce two upcoming demo days! Come out and demo the full Ocean Paddlesports line-up of Fenn surfskis and see why they are the best surfskis on the market.

 

SATURDAY APRIL 26TH

1-3pm

Lake Padden, swim beach below bathroom

 

SATURDAY MAY 27TH

1-3PM

Bloedel Donavan Park on Lake Whatcom

 

Please feel free to contact us with specific demo wishes and we look forward to seeing you on the water. Remember to bring a lifejacket and appropriate coldwater paddling clothing. Demos will be rescheduled for high winds (aka nuking), please check this website prior to the demo day if it’s gusty for plan-B options. Please feel free to contact us for alternate demo opportunities at anytime throughout the year.

 

Hope to see you on the water!

-DJ

360.305.9517

Fenn Surfskis are made with pride in South Africa at the Fenn owned & operated factory, come check-out the quality of these amazing boats!

FENN EPIC THINK
Vac Glass 31lbs $2500 Performance 34lbs $2795 Performance 34lbs $2695
Vac Hybrid 26 lbs $3100
Ultra 27.5 lbs $3795 ——
Vac Carbon 23 lbs $3900
Elite 24l lbs $5095 Elite 28lbs $3495

Early Season Gorge! Better then Hawaii?

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Wild and windy at Swell City

We thought we might be pulling the trigger a little early this year with sneaking out of town for a quick four day gorge trip and were prepared to be content with hammering out some flatwater distance, chasing the Sternwheeler, checking out the Stergeon at the dam, and doing all the hiking we never get to doing during the windy summer months, but then the wind started blowing. Day one gave us east winds with some warm up mini-waves to surf after paddling upwind for an hour. Day two, today, west winds were 15-25mph with strong gusts and big erratic waves. The surfing was not the glassy smooth giants of the summer with more chop and less uniformity to

the waves,  but there were some big rides out there for sure.  The 45 degree water temp felt refreshing though I don’t know if swimming would be a good idea this time of year. For today’s run from Draino to the Hatchery,  I’d give the waves a strong 8/10 on the DJ surf ‘o meter.  Fenn Swordfish was the boat of choice on the water, great speed, stability, and overall solid performance in the 6-8 ft mixed conditions.  Local kiters have their fingers crossed that the summer will be a repeat of last year with above average snowmelt headed towards the Columbia River. Licking our chops to come back when it’s windy and warm in July, but thinking we need to squeeze in a July high water trip..  Looks to be another epic season at the Gorge!  Sounds like there will be a good crew setting up shop and chasing waves at the Gorge during July leading up to the #1 surfing race in America – THE WILDSIDE!

Spring surfing @ Swell City

Swell City Footage

Here’s some unedited footage from a run through Swell City in the Columbia Gorge this past July in my Fenn Elite.

Wildside Wind Forecast Looking Better….

Wind report have varied slightly for this coming weekend, but latest predictions are looking better.  Fears of a slog may be alleviated, but it may not be the gusting ripper that keeps us coming begging to more.  Afternoon on Saturday may be the best wind with speeds around 15mph around the hatch.   Race organizer JD is tuned into Gorge wind- the ticket may be wait for PM wind to kick-in for best conditions.

Current Gorge Wind Reports

 

The Gorge in Review…..

DJ in front of Mt. Hood

Just back to Bellingham, WA from five days of seriously fun surfing at the Columbia Gorge with conditions starting big & mixed giving way to moderate surf throughout the trip. Current was a BIG factor and downwinders (going up river) took much longer than usual.  Here’s some reflections on the conditions:

The Big Days….

The first two days were big due to strong winds pushing waves upstream against the significant current.  The classic Gorge style long glassy waves were few and far between.  Waves were big, choppy, and very steep.  Longer skis were having trouble keeping the nose above water and wider boats seemed to handle the mixed conditions best. Swims (yes, there were a few in our group) tended to take several remount attempts, and a quality leash system was a must for all.  There was a lot of discussion on leash systems after the big days that saw a variety of snapped leashes and lost gear, more on that to come….

DJ surfing Swell City

I paddled a Fenn Mako XT for the majority of the big days though I did two sessions in big wind conditions in the Elite.  I’m a big fan of both boats, but in big, steep, mixed conditions paddling in a group, the XT was the ticket.  When we had to ‘circle the wagons’ to regroup or help folks out, I felt the XT gave the ability to better assist the group and safely navigate the waves. To be honest, in the sloppy mixed conditions of the Columbia River,  the XT truly excelled.  We brought down two XTs and in almost all paddling sessions, both boats were in use.  The Elite was fun and challenging in the bigger conditions, but it didn’t offer much support to the group as compared to the XT.  At the end of a ripping downwinder at the takeout in Bingen, a kiteboarder was stranded forty feet off shore unable to get back in due to currents and a swift back eddy.  After several failed attempts of the group towing him and yelling encouragement to swim harder, I finally had him climb aboard spread eagle fashion on the back of the XT and was able to ferry him to shore. (This was only after he conceded to letting go of his gear, which was one of the main reasons he couldn’t get in in the first place) Morris towed his kite and board to shore which was a challenge in itself. Though we didn’t score any beer from this save (or even much of a thanks), we hopefully earned some Karma points. Experiences like this made us realize that practicing rescues is an important part of training both for the rescuer and the rescuee.

The Medium Days….

Kristen surfing Swell City

The last two days settled down to around 15-20mph winds, and in classic Bellingham surfski paddler fashion, we did loops both days at Swell City.  Usually going to the Gorge is all about setting shuttle for the downwinders, but we opted to spend some quality time doing some park & play.  The conditions at Swell City couldn’t have been better for loops due to the swift currents and consistent 3-5ft waves, with a few rogue 6-7 ft mixed in.  By skirting the eddy line on the on the way back upwind, it was easy to maintain 7-8mph with only moderate paddling effort.  The downwind sections provided ample practice at connecting mixed rollers, though my GPS never went above 12mph at top steep thanks to the opposing river current. Morris continued his practice of gear water rescues and was

Post paddle beers in the sun

able to fish out a kite board that had separated from it’s owner upstream in Hood River. When the happy owner arrived to retrieve her gear we scored some beer money and much thanks. (Morris: “I’ll say no to beer money once, but it’s just rude to say no if they keep insisting”). Another lesson of the trip: Make sure to write your name and number on your gear in case you ever get separated from it, a six pack is a lot cheaper than a new paddler (or new boat).

Overall, our first Gorge trip of the summer was action packed and fun. Looking forward to getting back down there at the end of next week for some more surfing and warming up for the Wildside Relay and US Champs in San Francisco.