Next stop was the Columbia River Gorge, or just The Gorge, which is about a 5-6 hour drive from Gold Beach. The Gorge doesn’t need an introduction; the wind blows every day in the summer and is the North American (US + Canada) capital of windsurfing. Despite there being hundreds of wind and kite surfers of all abilities, there is still plenty of space to park and sail.
The centre of this little universe of wind is the small and prosperous city of Hood River which is a great place to stay. Many people sail right from the “Event Site” a grassy park with all the facilities you could want including lessons. There is hardly any water movement and the wind is steady and consistent.
I preferred the Hatchery which is on the North side of the river about 4 miles West of Hood River. This is where the US pros and top locals sail. The wind was consistently 5 knots more here and there were standing swells in the river channel for jumps and then flat water near the river bank for freestyle tricks, it’s a fantastic place to sail because of those two things combined. However the launch is off rocks and you need to a pretty competent sailor to get in the water here. Don’t let that put you off though, as a little further downwind and upwind there are several more launch spots with pebble beaches that are easier.