For the past nine years, windsurfers from around the world have come to Curry County for the Pistol River Wash Bash, one of many stops on the International Windsurfing Tour.
While the Oregon Coast is well suited to wavesailing, the annual Wave Bash hit a pretty big snag this year during its initial competition window — they had no wind in the forecast.
The 34 surfers competing in the Wave Bash, many traveling from as far as Italy and Japan, have unanimously agreed to extend the competition window to June 12. Monday and Tuesday should have optimal conditions for competition according to Sam Bittner Wilson, the tour director for the event.
Wavesailing is a discipline of windsurfing. One rides the waves like a surfer when coming in towards the beach and jumps over waves while headed out to sea.
“The decision to extend has been made after careful consultation with riders currently entered in the contest,” Wilson said. “We received 100 percent approval for this extension from registered riders who have demonstrated admirable flexibility and exceptional sportsmanship: in some cases riders who are unable to attend the extra days still insisted that their fellow riders be given the chance to compete.”
Not to be caught idle, participants of the Wave Bash set out to explore what Curry County has to offer while waiting for conditions to shape up.
The Wave Bash kicked things off with its opening ceremony on Thursday. They first held a memorial for Attila Tivadar, who had been involved with the tour since it began in 2010 and recently died of cancer. Competitors who had known Tivadar for nearly 10 years reminisced about their time together and expressed the importance of wearing proper sun protection to minimize the risk of diseases like cancer.
“He traveled all over the world with us. He was a big, happy, outgoing person. Big and strong, but super gentle,” Wilson said.
After the memorial, competitors went down to the beach to present flags of all the different countries represented during the tour. They broke for lunch afterwards before heading up to Brookings to kayak up the Chetco River. They ended Thursday’s events with an evening at Vista Pub.
After the event had been extended, Friday’s wind conditions shaped up enough to run two heats of the Pro Men’s bracket, but fell apart before the second and third heat could be finished. Morgan Noireaux from the first heat advanced to the finals.
Thanks to an event sponsorship from the Brookings Tourism Promotion Advisory Committee approved by Brookings City Council, this year’s Wave Bash is being extensively covered by a team of videographers. You can find footage, pictures and results from the event periodically posted on the tour’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/InternationalWindsurfingTour/.