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There's one rule in windsurfing: don't leave wind to find wind.
So, yesterday it was hard to pack up the 7'11” Open Ocean short board and de rig the 3.7 Ezzy sail – while the wind still howled on classic 20-30mph Gorge windsurfing day.
I left wind, pulled out a board longer than my car, and went back to the Hook, home of almost no wind. That place where beginners first learn to windsurf. Here in Hood River, Oregon, windsurf capital of the world.
My dogs and I do this crazy old school windsurfing romp each year - King of the Hook, hosted by CGWA, Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Assn. We support our local non profit, dedicated to enhancing Gorge beach access, and bringing up the next windsurfing generation. I'm a proud board member.
Speaking of boards, King of the Hook is not your classic Gorge hotshot windsurfing freestyle contest – big moves, big winds, short boards, adoring fans, ego beach.
It’s all about long boards and old school freestyle and costumes and attitude. There's not a serious sailor in sight – but it attracts its share of hotshot young sailors. And people like me, who don't take themselves too seriously.
I have always been a believer in just showing up.
Being the best - winning - it's so over rated!
Doodle and I’ve got 'tude - but we don't got freestyle.
That is, unless a doxie on board and cherried-out costumes count as freestyle.
Our old school 1987 Mistral Superlight on the beach, a tribute to the early days of windsurfing.
Dog River and Dog Mountain license plates on board - literally - hanging from the boom as we compete.
But we always come home with a prize. Everyone does!
We love kid Kings of the Hook. This year, there were two brothers windsurfing in formal wear - top hats and ties.
And a girl nose rider on board with her mom - who I nominate as Queen of the Hook. She's about six, just learning to windsurf. These groms are the future of our sport - it's exciting to sail with them!
It was kinda hard this year - just Doodle and I - no low rider wide-body bassets on board, solid and reliable. Big and flashy dogs of the hook. Just us two squirrels.
I wore Elvis and Dude name tags as part of my costume.
Dude rode The King every year, even after he went blind. Elvis was the king of doggie windsurfing and SUP.
They are my twin totems, my forever Kings of the Hook. This is the first year we rode without them.
RIP, dear old dog friends.