(Image borrowed from sailing anarchy website Double Damned Race- Hood River Yacht Club - Sailing Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums)
Looking’ for a SWELL TIME?!!
Hood, WA is a few miles west of the Hood River bridge - And the Hatchery is likely the MOST popular WINDSURF spot on the Columbia River. The Washington-side of the river is ONLY WINDSURF LAND/LAUNCH FRIENDLY - IT IS NOT A KITE LAUNCH - VERY DIFFICULT.
However, KITERS LAUNCH & LAND AT THE HOOD RIVER EVENT SITE (see spot chat: Hood River Sandbar, OR) and sail up wind to access Swell City.
It’s not mission - kiters make the small trek often (like many dozens of people daily or multiple times a day). That being said you’ll need to pay attention to the wind - make sure you get back downwind before it dies off! And keep a constant eye out for barges and boat traffic using the navigable shipping channel. There’s also navigation buoys marking the channel that you could possibly hang up on if your kite goes down and you’re not paying attention.
Because this kiting location isn’t adjacent to a kite launch and the swell and river current can make kiting and self-rescue a challenge - this is not a beginner-friendly site.
This spot is windy and exposed, where east river current opposing west wind builds sets of short swell waves. Depending on the currents and wind these waves can build to overhead heights.
Swell City is the BEST PLACE on the Gorge for KITESURFING, RIDING SWELL and STRAPLESS AIRS. Swell City: swell starts building at the mouth of the White Salmon River at “The Bridge” and continues west downstream to “The Hatch”/ “The Hatchery” in Hood, WA.
The kiting season here is March - October on a West wind. It’s fairly uncrowded and awesome in the spring and fall, the river current is stronger, which promotes larger swell to form.
It’s still good in the summer too, but more crowded with smaller swell build-up.
For the best current weather information check out this website: https://thegorgeismygym.com. Temira is an amateur weather reporter that does it in her free-time so consider sending her a donation if you use the site!
The Gorge web-cams:
For more information about launching and landing at the Hood River Event Site check out the Spot Chat: Hood River Sandbar, OR.