Connor Baxter and Bernd Roedinger had a close race, with Bernd crossing the finish line just 18 seconds behind Connor. The conditions were epic at the Viento Run this weekend, winds were blowing hard but maybe not as hard a back in 2019 when I was there last. Connor finished the run then in under one hour and so did many other guys.
The elite ladies seemed to also have had quite a battle, all top three (APP participants) arrived within the same minute. It was Jade Howson who finished first, closely followed by Aline Adisaka and Stephanie Shideler. Same thing here with the times, Jades time was almost exactly 30 minutes slower than Fiona Wyldes time from 2019. Unfortunately she was out recovering from shoulder surgery. Maybe it was the wind or the current as the race goes upriver but downwind that caused the times to be significantly slower.
Speaking of 2019, as I just compared the results from 3 years ago we definitely see a big shift in demographics: The interest has clearly shifted from SUP to SUP Foil or Wing Foil. SUP Foilers like Mateo Ell or Kane De Wilde finished the course in less than half the time that Connor did. Of course this is very exciting and makes it that much more fun for the riders. This is all great and but unfortunately once great SUP Races like “The Gorge” start loosing relevance in the SUP World with trends like this. Back in the day we had more big names showing up at a race like this. Even back in 2019 there were plenty internationals and US names in the race. The race was also a qualifier for the APP. We certainly missed some bigger US names.
After paddling the paddle IMUA on my 14′ production board (heavy as heck) I re-discovered the fun of paddling, the great feeling of catching bumps on an actual board, even if it is half as fast as the foil, was absolutely amazing. I would only hope we can get people back on SUPs at downwind destinations like Hoodriver or Maui. Maybe if downwind races could be sanctioned by the ICF or the APP we could attract more elite paddlers, or simply wait until everybody has learned how to SUP Downwind Foil or SUP Flatwater Foil. I think this might be a good topic for one of my videos.
From a marketing perspective the organizers might be well advised to change the name from “The Gorge Paddle Challenge” to “The Gorge SUP and Foil Challenge” just like our friends in Germany who went from “SUP Festival Fehmarn” to “SUP and Wingfoil Festival Fehmarn”.
I think this might be a good topic for one of my videos.
Men Elite Downwinder
|3||Bodie Von Allmen||1:19:15|
Women Elite Downwinder
SUP Foil Downwind
|2||Kane de Wilde||0:37:59|
Pro Wingfoil Downwind
|1||Christopher W MacDonald||22:23.0|
Junior Boys Downwind
If you guys like to take a trip down memory lane and see how things changed over the years, we started to keep track of this race starting in 2014. (2016 somehow missing)
2020 CXL due to Covid.