On Sunday I had the opportunity to race in the Vortex Series. The Vortex Series is a series of three downwind races that all lead up the Gorge Downwind Champs, a big outrigger, Surf Ski and SUP Race in July. These events are extremely fun and a wonderful combination of all paddlers to get out on the river and enjoy downwind bumps together! Below are some photos and a race recap.
“This weekends downwind race was a 6 mile downwinder from Stevenson to Home Valley, a quick 25 minute drive west of Hood River. The wind was a nice 22-26knots, but the current was strong, about 4 knots. The bumps were difficult to catch and required a lot of push and sprint interval to get on the bumps.
There were a total of 60 paddlers, split evenly between Surf ski, OC, and SUP. It was so amazing to be on the start line with so many excited, eager paddlers. We ran a rolling start, so everybody started together. All boats and boards rides bumps differently and go at different speeds, so it was fun to weave back and forth between boats, catching bumps together.
I got an early lead and about 20 minutes I had the honor to be share a bump with the young and up and coming superstar, Bodie Von Allmen. Bodie is 14 years old from Lake Oswego, Oregon. He found the passion for paddling a few years back and when he got on a race board, nothing could stop him. He’s trained every day, and he would train during the night too if he had some good lights. The results of his efforts showed last weekend. Bodie made me sprint to catch every bump I got and it was a blast sharing the lead with him and swapping back and forth. In the end I was able to pull ahead and win the race, but I know it will not be many more races before I am chasing Bodie down the river and I look forward to it!
The best part of this race was that I got to share this race with my family. My Mom, Dad, Aunt, and Uncle all paddled in the race and my grandma was cheering us on at the finish. It’s not that often, actually, very rare, to be able to paddle out to a start line with your entire family, so I will remember this race a special one. To top off the weekend, every family member won a prize in their class division. It was a super fun family weekend all around!
I am looking forward to a long 15 mile flatwater race put on by Salmon Bay Paddle at Hammersley Inlet next weekend!
Leading up to the race, I will be hosting a clinic on Friday the 7th of May from 5-7pmfor any level racer who wants to join. If you’re interested, please email me at [email protected] to reserve your spot. The cost of the clinic is $40.
Thanks to the organizers who put this event together and I look forward to racing next weekend!
Fiona’s whole family L-R: Laurie, MacRae, Mark, Fiona, Ellen & Joe
Fiona on the Starboard All Star
Fiona’s father crossing the finish line
Fiona’s mother crossing the finish line on her surf ski