GOLD BEACH andndash; Spectators will witness world-class windsurfing during the third annual Pistol River Wave Bash scheduled June 14-17.
More 75 professional and amateur windsurfers will be competing against one another in six divisions (pro, amateur, women, youth, masters and grand masters) in which they are scored on both wave riding and jumping tricks. Last year's event included pro-athletes from England, Morocco and Brazil, and with this year's prize money there is sure to be a showing from international windsurfers.
Here are just a few of the big names that have signed up for the 2012 Pistol River Wave Bash in Gold Beach:
andbull;Kai Lenny: Many believe Kai Lenny to be the heir apparent as world's best waterman to the legendary Laird Hamilton. At only 19 years of age he has already accomplished so much in windsurfing, standup paddleboarding (SUP), tow-in surfing and kiteboarding.
andbull;Fiona Wylde: This 15-year-old from Hood River is an up-and-coming ripper in the world of women's wavesailing and racing. She very actively promotes windsurfing throughout the Gorge.
andbull;Josh and Harley Stone: Former world champion windsurfer Josh Stone has been talked back into the competition circuit by his 13-year-old son Harley ... and Harley is quickly becoming one of America's top youth wavesailors.
andbull;Nathan Mershon: This Hood River resident not only won the event at Pistol River last year but he took the overall AWT crown.
andbull;Bryan Metcalf-Perez: When he isn't competing on the AWT he is either training for or competing on the Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) world freestyle tour. Metcalf-Perez is one of the most talented and innovative windsurfers in the US ... and he lives in Hood River.
andbull;Ingrid Larouche: This local Gorge sailor claimed the overall AWT women's crown last year, and she took the first title this year in Santa Cruz.
The American Windsurfing Tour came into existence two years ago following the success of a single event: the 2010 Pistol River Wave Bash. That one event spawned an entire five-stop competition tour the following year, which included Santa Cruz (Calif.), Pistol River, Baja, Cape Hatteras (N.C.) and Maui, and momentum has just kept building ever since. For 2012, a sixth event in Peru has been added, which will encourage an exchange of athletes for other events between North and South America.
AWT events offer something for everyone. Pros flock to these competitions, as it is the world's best tour for wave riding conditions. This year's first event in Santa Cruz had four former world champions competing and we are expecting the same number to show up at Pistol River. The amateur divisions allow everyday windsurfers to come and not only test themselves against fellow riders of their own ability, but also to learn from many of the world's top pros. However each event is not just about what happens on the water as planned social events each night allow athletes and spectators to mingle and creates a great vibe within the community.
Go to americanwindsurfingtour.com/pistol-river-wave-bash for full Pistol River Wave Bash event details.
Oregon Sports Authority
The mission of the Oregon Sports Authority is to position the state of Oregon as the preferred location for select amateur and professional sports events, franchises and related activities in order to enhance the quality of life of Oregonians and to stimulate the state's economy. Learn more at oregonsports.org.