Sunny skies and fast winds made for a day of gliding, leaping and flipping over waves Monday for the attendees of the ninth annual Pistol River Wave Bash.
Profesional and amatuer windsurfers from around the globe gathered in Curry County Thursday through Monday as a stop on the International Windsurfing Tour.
While being one of the top windsurfing locations on the tour, Pistol River is also known for its temperamental weather and unpredictable wind conditions.
“This was my fourth year at Pistol River and Oregon and I love it,” said Sarah Hauser, a French professional windsurfer who has lived in Maui, Hawaii, for the past five years. “I’ve competed here three years and it’s the opposite of everything I’ve learned. I’m so used to tropical islands and then I come here and it’s so beautiful. The surfing is intense and its cold, but it makes you feel so alive.”
When low wind conditions threatened to send the 33 competitors home this year without any time on the water, they unanimously voted to extend their competition window an extra two days to wait for optimal conditions. The few competitors who were unable to stay for the extension due to travel arrangements managed to compete during brief moments when the wind picked up during the original schedule.
“It’s beautiful out here, but like last year the wind does not always cooperate,” said Benoit Coulon, a windsurfer from France competing in the amatuer bracket and helping judge several of the other competitions. “The people in charge did what they had to do to make the competition happen.”
Originally scheduled for June 7-10, this year’s Wave Bash was extended through Monday. Thanks to serviceable wind conditions picking up on Sunday allowing for a few heats, this year’s competition finished the rest of its heats without issue on Monday.
For the Pro Men’s competition, Boujmaa Guilloul took first, with Antoine Martin and Nathan Meshon coming in second and third respectively.
Simeon Glasson came in first in the amateur competition followed by Mike Colee in second and Roman Ratusznik in third.
The Women’s competition had Sarah Hauser taking first with Sabina Zola following in second and Cecelia Tolley taking third.
For the higher tier competitions, Glasson also took first in the master’s competition followed by Ferdinando Loffreda in second and Ratusznik also taking third place spot again.
The Grand Masters competition saw Pali Gueltrini take first with Dana Miller and Scott Shoemaker finishing second and third respectively.
During their off time, attendees sampled what Curry County had to offer — from kayaking the Chetco River to morning yoga classes. Sampling local cuisine and brews was especially popular among the visitors.
Next year marks the 10-year anniversary for the current iteration of the Pistol River Wave Bash, which was brought back in its current form in 2009 after shutting down for many years. During Monday’s closing ceremony, Wilson asked the crowd what they should add next year to celebrate the occasion.
Horseback riding, jacuzzis and more opportunities for drinking were among the many suggestions thrown out, but Wilson may have even bigger plans.
“I want to make the Wind Bash into more of a festival and really work to get the community involved every year,” Wilson said. “I’m thinking live music on the beach at night, opportunities to meet and mingle with the professional riders and perhaps the inclusion of some prize money, which would go a long way to bring in even more professional riders and spectators from around the world.”
This year the Wind Bash received $2,000 from the Brookings Tourism Promotion Advisory Committee, which was approved by Brookings City Council and went toward paying for a team of videographers to cover events. Their videos, as well as results and pictures from this year’s events, are on the International Windsurfing Tour’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/InternationalWindsurfingTour/.