The Columbia River Gorge slices through the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, dividing Oregon and Washington. It’s a beautiful passage that is predictably windy, really windy; so windy in fact that the majority of trees are flagged in the lee direction. Branches simply can’t grow on the windward side.
I’ve windsurfed here for the last ten years and always imagined what it would be like to surf the waves of the gorge without a sail. When I saw someone stand up paddling (SUP) on a windy day at the hatchery, it finally dawned on me that it was possible. At the time, there was plenty of interest in SUP as a calm weather activity while you waited for more wind, but people seldom chose to grab a SUP board when it was windy, dismissing the craft as inefficient. I quickly found a crew of other paddle-believers and started the first downwind-only race series: The Bump-N-Glide. It was purely a labor of love, no prize money, no big awards, just a $5 entry fee to cover the costs of the insurance and maybe a victory brew or two at the finish line.
The Bump-N-Glide lives on today. It’s not a race however, more of a group, social event for people to meet up and share a unique experience.