Waves and wind show for pros

June 23, 2013 11:37 pm

Professional windsurfer Kevin Pritchard shreds a wave during the finals heat of the professional division of American Windsurfing Tour’s Pistol River Wave Bash on Friday afternoon. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Professional windsurfer Kevin Pritchard shreds a wave during the finals heat of the professional division of American Windsurfing Tour’s Pistol River Wave Bash on Friday afternoon. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
The Pistol River Wave Bash — part of the American Windsurfing Tour’s seven-stop summer fling — started out looking like a flop. The first three days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday failed to provide strong enough winds and big enough waves for the professionals to take to the water.

It wasn’t until late afternoon Friday and the northern winds started to blow that the Wave Bash got it’s top-notch competitors on the water.

Despite the delay, event organizer Sam Bittner was still happy with the way things turned out.

“It’s nice because we had time to really get set up,” she said, “and it built the excitement for the when the waves started happening.”

Also, according to Bittner, they were able to get some clinics in with the professional riders.

“The amateurs got to sit down with the pros and ask them about the tour and how they prep for events and stuff,” she explained. “The pros hardly ever get the chance to talk about it, so it was cool that they could explain their workouts and rituals to the amateurs.”

The competitors held a board toss competition, in lieu of riding waves, on one of the off days.

Each person takes their board and tosses it from behind a line marked in the sand. Whoever tosses their board the farthest wins.

Jay Watermeyer of Gig Harbor, Wash. won this year’s board toss.

“There are only two rules,” Bittner joked. “Stay behind the line and no spins. We’ve had too many deaths from spinning.”

For Galway, Ireland native Katie McAnena the delay wasn’t an issue, because it gave her more time to spend in, what she said, was a “beautiful place.”

“I’d rather be in the Pacific Northwest than anywhere in the States,” she said. “It’s kind of like Ireland.”

“And,” she added, “the water temperature is about the same, so it’s no different for me.”

According to Bittner, McAnena was one of several competitors who traveled from seven different countries for the event.

“We’ve got 60 surfers with 15 pros,” Bittner explained. “And they come from all over the world. They come because they know Pistol River has the most consistent wind and waves in the world.”

With the final heats being held late Friday afternoon, results were not completed and will be announced at Saturday’s awards barbecue at Docia Sweet Hall on the Curry County Fairgrounds.

One Pistol River local, Dana Miller, made it to the finals in the Master’s division and was ecstatic.

“I’m so stoked to be in the finals with these guys,” he said. “These guys are good. I mean, they trained some of the pros that are surfing in this event.”

“If I get fourth out of four I’ll be happy,” he added. “Just being on the water with these guys is amazing.”

Depending on Mother Nature, Bittner could extend competition into today, or even Sunday.

“The forecast doesn’t look great for Saturday,” she said, “but if the winds pick up and the waves get big, we could have another day of competition.”

The complete results can be found on the American Windsurfing Tour’s website, http://www.americanwindsurfingtour.com.