Water Sports in the Gorge
Welcome to the windsurfing capital of the world
When you feel the power of the wind before stepping outdoors, you know you have arrived. The Columbia River Gorge is unlike any other place on earth. Carving between the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon, the mighty Columbia River acts as a funnel for wind that barrels down along the river corridor. And where the wind blows, the adventure follows. Extreme sports like Windsurfing and Kiteboarding have long established the Gorge and greater Hood River, Oregon area as it's basecamp, offering world-renowned locations to catch waves and killer rides on the river.
The Gorge is also an excellent spot for beginners to learn how to windsurf, or simply spectate and watch the pros show off amazing freestyle tricks.
BEST PLACES TO WATCH
Stevenson Waterfront - Just minutes from Skamania Lodge, the Stevenson Waterfront is an excellent spot to relax and watch windsurfers and kiteboarders on the Columbia River. You many even spot them from out your window at Skamania!
Hood River Event Site - Offering a scenic beachfront with a narrow shoreline & grassy picnic lawn, popular with windsurfers & kayakers. This is the spot to watch or surf if you have never sailed the Columbia Gorge yourself. Fairly flat and proteted from the chop, wind isn't as strong as other spots, plenty of grass rigging, bathrooms, close to the riverfront waterpark. Very popular with all the kiting schools.
The Hatch - Located on the Washington side a few miles west of the Hood River bridge, the Hatchery is the most popular windsurf spot on the Columbia River. It's windy and well exposed, river current forms short swells (not waves), it's easy to get to, and it's a scene of air tricks, crazy gybes and freestyle moves. All pros and aspiring pros will be riding here!
Dougs - A great sailing windsurfing spot on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Dougs has good swells when the wind is blowing and is a friendly spot for beginners with a sandy bottom on both ends of the river. If you're looking to surf or just come to watch, there's plenty of parking but be sure to buy the Discovery Pass at a convenience store in Washington ($30).
Hood River Water Play - Offering Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced lessons, Hood River Water Play is the only program that teaches windsurfing lessons on a private beach.
Brian's Windsurfing - Brian is a US National windsurfing champion and has taught clients over the world for the past 30 years. He offers beginner to advanced windsurfing and kiteboarding lessons.
Big Winds - Temporarily closed for the summer, Big Winds is normally the place to surf and grab your top of the line windsurfing gear.
Cascade Kiteboarding - Try out windsurfing's closest relative, kiteboarding! Get out on the water with Cascade Kiteboarding for customized lessons that fit your skill level and adventure style.
More Fun on the River
The Columbia River Gorge Area is a true paradise for whitewater enthusiasts. The wild and scenic White Salmon River in particular offers three fun and energizing runs which include the upper, middle, and lower Gorge.
WHERE TO RAFT?
ZOLLER'S OUTDOOR ODYSSEYS RAFTING ADVENTURES
Your next stop is whitewater rafting on the White Salmon River “Middle Gorge” with Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys. Enjoy a half day adventure, no experience needed!
Flatwater Kayaking Tours in Washington State are for those who want to enjoy the amazing scenery of the Columbia Gorge from the cockpit of a kayak. The Sunset Kayak Tour with the Gorge Paddling Center has become the favorite trip for guests of Skamania Lodge. You will be sure to experience panoramic views like a true local with knowledgeable guides at your side.
Stand Up Paddleboarding Tours combine surfing and paddling into an activity that is adaptable for all ages and skill levels. The Columbia Gorge Paddle Center offer lessons daily with special summer events featuring full moon and sunset tours. Instructors will guide you through the basics: board stance, stroke technique, and water starts. Once you have the basics they will show you some of the best spots and allow you to explore.
Skamania Lodge has partnered with Gorge Flyboarding for an exciting adventure where you can surf the clouds! FlyBoarding is the ultimate water sport for the adrenaline junkie near Hood River. The FlyBoard is an accessory that attaches to the jet discharge of a Personal Watercraft (PWC) and uses the jet discharge of the PWC to propel the device through the air and water. Most people tend to get up on the board within 5 to 10 min on their first attempt at FlyBoarding. It’s actually very natural and intuitive, just like walking! It's all in the balance.