207 Front St., Hood River, Oregon 97031
Hours: Normal business hours, 7 days a week
About Big Winds
Located approximately 60 miles east of Portland at the heart of the world famous Columbia River Gorge in the City of Hood River, Big Winds is aptly named for the strong winds known to rush through the gorge and create some of the most highly sought after downwind paddling conditions outside of Hawaii. The shop has a full inventory of stand up paddleboards from Infinity, Imagine, Starboard, Amundson, Aquaglide, Bark and SIC. Paddles on hand include products from established paddle makers Quickblade, Kialoa and Werner, as well as offerings from Chinook, Naish and SIC. Their unique location on the Columbia River enables them to test everything they sell literally in their own backyard.
Big Winds sells a selection of energy bars, but their primary focus is providing customers with everything they will possibly need for an epic adventure on the water. Gear and accessories on hand includes: PFDs, wetsuits, SUP specific drysuits, fins, rail saver tape, ding repair kits, paddle wax, rash guards, booties, rack pads & straps, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, instructional books, magazines, DVDs and more.
Local Paddling Scene
The main shop is a two minute drive to the water and the Big Winds Event Site Waterfront Center (open May – September) offers access to a protected lagoon and the Columbia River. The shop’s primary customer base covers a broad spectrum. From the thousands of never-ever paddlers they teach during the summer, to elite racers hosted during the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge each autumn, to downwind fanatics partaking in the shop’s multiple daily shuttles, to the hundreds of kids that take part in their junior SUP teams. There is not one primary group that comprises the SUP base at Big Winds. It’s all ages, sizes and abilities from all over the world. The shop offers introductory lessons for beginner paddlers, paddle stroke clinics, downwind clinics, tours, ladies tours, youth paddle teams and a popular downwind shuttle service.
The Full Sail Ale Brewery is a Hood River staple with a great perch over the river for drinking and dining. If you prefer to stay at the river’s edge, opt for Pfriem Family Brewers alongside Waterfront Park. Right next door is Stoked Roasters + Coffeehouse, where paddlers flock every morning for a cup of Joe. A final waterfront option — one that’s awesome for dinner — is the Riverside Grill. It’s located in the Hood River Inn and offers outdoor seating over the water. Great food and amazing sunset views.
Events in the Area
The world famous Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge is held each August. Check the SUP Examiner Event Calendar for this year’s dates. Big Winds hosts Paddle for the Podium SUP Clinics in early summer and the Columbia Gorge Grom Paddle Challenge take place in July. For a complete list of their events and clinics visit: www.bigwinds.com/sup-lessons
Map of the Area