Gliding over water and flipping over waves with wind in their sails, windsurfers will return to Pistol River this year for the last stop on the International Windsurfing Tour, the Pistol River Wave Bash.
This year marks the 9th Annual Pistol River Wave Bash held at Pistol River near Gold Beach, and it promises to be the biggest one yet. Since the first Wave Bash in 2010, it has grown into a full-blown multinational tour.
There are several big developments this year, including the introduction of a clinic for new surfers to learn the basics of windsurfing, a weeklong open competition window to guarantee favorable winds for all competitors and equal monetary rewards at equal rates for both male and female competitors.
This year’s tour will also be documented for a film, following surfers from country to country as they compete in events, with Pistol River being featured prominently as the tour’s birthplace.
This year, co-founder Sam Bitner stepped down from her nine-year role as one of the tour’s chief organizers alongside Russ Faurot, with Simeon Glass purchasing her share of the tour and stepping into her role.
“We’re super excited to coming back to Oregon. This is the 10th year anniversary of the tour and that first event held in Pistol River,” Glass said. “There’s a lot of people on the tour that surfing on the Oregon coast means a lot to.”
The first part of the Wave Bash begins on June 12, with a three-day clinic from June 12-14. The clinic is $200 for one day, $300 for two days or $400 for all three. A welcome barbeque event will also be held on June 12 to welcome the surfers.
“This is the first time we’ve held clinics at these events,” Glass said. “They’re for people who want to get out there on the waves but don’t want to sign up for the full blown competition.”
The clinic will match up to two novice windsurfers with basic knowledge with professional surfers from the tour for close coaching sessions. It will also serve as an opportunity for amateur-level competitors to get practice time in before the actual competition.
June 14, the final day of the clinic, registration for the Wave Bash will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Beachcomber.
The competition itself will be held from June 15-22, which a longer period than previous years that should provide a better window to find optimal surfing conditions.
“We’re waiting for the perfect conditions,” Glass said. “We’ve tried to bring the event a bit earlier in the past, but it’s hard to get the right conditions. We usually tried not to make the event last so long, but since we’ve become a big international event, we can’t take the risk of not getting the right conditions.”
The final day of the competition will coincide with the Gold Beach Brewfest with competitors being welcomed to take part in the festivities. The first 30 competitors who register for the Wave Bash will receive free tickets to the Brewfest.
For more information on the Gold Beach Brewfest, go to http://www.goldbeachbrewfest.org/.
There are also several, informal events still being planned throughout the week for the windsurfers to explore Curry County.
The wave International Windsurfing hosts six events in five different countries, including the US, Japan, Chile, Peru and Mexico. Over 300 windsurfers have competed in the tour so far this year.
A recent injection of funds into the competition has given them the opportunity to provide a $50,000 prize pool for the tour, which Glass ensured would be awarded to male and female winners ate equal rates across the board.
While the International Windsurfing Tour is growing and becoming a prominent event, the owners noticed a discrepancy with the awards at similarly-sized tours and events, with female surfers earning less.
“It was never negotiable for me as an owner,” Glass said. “I grew up watching female competitors struggling and not being rewarded equally and always vowed to do something about it.”
The film, being made by Poor Boyz Productions, will follow the whole tour as it travels from Japan to Chile, Oregon, Mexico and Maui. The makers hope to capture the journey of everyone from rising amateur windsurfers to grandmasters who have been invested in the sport for years.
Glass hopes to host a premiere in Oregon once the film is complete and that it will help publicize windsurfing as an international sport. He likens the current windsurfing community as a group of isolated tribes spread all over the world and hopes the tour can keep growing and eventually help bring them together.
To learn more about the tour and the Wave Bash, go to https://internationalwindsurfingtour.com/pistol-river-wave-bash-2019/.
Contact Mathew Brock at firstname.lastname@example.org