A skippers meeting was called for 11am on day 2 of the Pistol River Wave Bash at the Inn of the Beachcomber in Gold Beach Oregon. A motivated group of windsurfers sat awaiting their next IWT adventure. Waves were up on the coast, but the Southerly wind was scarce for windsurfing conditions. Encouraged by Tony Litke, who is quite experienced in the local spot the call was made by Head Judge Simeon Glasson for an impromptu surfing exhibition to be held just down the coast from Gold Beach at Kissing Rock State Park. Riders happily loaded surf and stand-up boards on top of their cars and headed that direction.
Once arriving in the chilly parking lot, the shore break and cold waters seamed challenging, but Tour Director Sam Bittner had no fear and tested the waters first with some epic body surfing. Barbados winner, Morgan Noireaux soon came out on his short board followed by Peter Kimball, Ryan Allderman, Jenn Carlisle, Jesse Cohen, and photographer Mark Harpur. Tourists driving by the beach on Highway 101 stopped to see what all the action was about and soon a rather large crowd had gathered to watch the surfing and stand-up paddling talent from the windsurfing group.
Through the challenging and chilly conditions, all riders came off the water with smiles on their faces and were happily greeted with cold Full Sail Cerveza beers. Local chef Kevin Buffington invited the crew to his Italian restaurant, Behind the Red Door, for an all you can eat buffet dinner, which the athletes ate to their hearts content.
An 8:00 skippers meeting, meant the riders were off to bed early, in the hopes that there will be strong enough wind for some port tack sailing behind the Beachcomber.
* Full Sail Cerveza beer sponsored by “COOP” (John Cooper). Thanks COOP!
Words with Sam Bittner
With the first third of your tour done, and successful events in Hatteras, Morocco, and Barbados, what are your highlights from this year’s International Windsurfing Tour?
I am overjoyed to be back on the tour after missing last year. Kicking off the season in Hatteras with 180 windsurfers on one start line together was an unforgettable rush of joy. Morocco stole my heart. I wrote an article which will be published in the latest Windsurfing Now magazine about my experience there. A highlight for now would be the culture in Morocco and how much love the local people have for their home. At the first ever IWT stop in Barbados Brian Talma stole the show with incredible activity, energy, and colors. I had more time on the warm warm water than I’ve had all year!
You started everything back in 2010 in Pistol, how do you feel now coming back as the IWT?
Not much has changed in the way of how contests are run with the name changing. I feel more welcome in other countries coming as the IWT rather than the AWT, but the family vibe still feels the same.
What are you most looking forward to this weekend in Pistol?
I love the local community here and how excited they are to watch the windsurfing and welcome us to their town. I love the challenge of the icy cold water with blasting winds and strong waves and currents. I’m also looking forward to seeing Ted Eady, owner of Inn of the Beachcomber who hosts us each year in his gorgeous hotel on the beach.
What has it been like returning to the tour full time?
Exhausting is the first word that comes to my mind. Haha. It’s a lot of time in airplanes and airports and road trips. Its long hours of emails while the rest of the group are sleeping. Its negotiating with sponsors and navigating through cultural and language barriers. But, in the end, when the contest is running and I see the looks on the competitors, sponsors and spectators faces with excitement and thrill, that is the biggest payoff that keeps me wanting to continue.
What has been one of your favorite Pistol River moments throughout the years?
One big memory that always sticks in my mind is the closing party of the very fist Pistol River event in 2010. I had expected 10 of my friends to come windsurf with me in Gold Beach, but it turned out that 88 riders and their friends came. When Josh Sampiero handed me the mic at the closing party to say a few words, I was overwhelmed with how many people had caught on to this idea of traveling to the middle of nowhere together to windsurf as a big family. That realization of how windsurfers are a huge family was the biggest highlight I can think of from the Pistol River event.
Why should a rider jump in their car this Friday to make the drive down (or up or over) to Gold Beach this weekend?
Best road trip, best friends, best windsurfing, food, and cold beer you will have all summer!
Thank You to Our Local Pistol River Wave Bash Sponsors
Thank You to Our 2017 Tour Sponsors