A WOMAN'S TOUCH
- Paul Van Camp awaiting a wave with Haystack Rock in the background.
On that note, kudos to Pine Mountain Sports and Trek for the women's bike demos and ladies night earlier this month. I happened to be out at Phil's Trail during the demo and it seemed like a huge success. Riding there another day, I pulled aside for a young woman riding uphill. She had a big grin on her face as she followed her friend and huffed, "This is my first mountain bike ride!" You go, girl.
SURF IS WHERE YOU FIND IT
One of my favorite books of all time is Surfing the Himalayas, by Frederick Lenz. The protagonist, in search of the ultimate snowboarding experience, undergoes an even more exciting spiritual journey because of his encounters with spiritual leader Master Fwap. Many skiers and boarders who have found nirvana on Mt. Bachelor's snow have discovered similar enlightenment riding waves. This past weekend, a sizeable chunk of Bend (including our very own Master Fwap, surfing legend Gerry Lopez) decided to escape the nearly 100-degree heat in the High Desert by heading to Pacific City on the coast.
Pacific City, a four-hour, 200-mile drive through Salem, is the closest surf to Bend. I traveled there with Ed and Judy Shasek and we got into town on Friday evening just before the Kiwanda Surf Co. was closing shop. Owner Joel Talbert was happy to share the surf report and sell us some new 5/4 wetsuits, replete with neoprene hoods. I was pretty stoked to baptize my brand-new Walden Magic nine-foot longboard. We had hoped for a sunset surf, but the waves were blown out by the wind, so instead we enjoyed dinner and a beer at the Pelican Pub right in front of the break. Pacific City is a quintessential flip-flop surf town with a laid-back atmosphere and dogs running on the sandy beach.
At the Cape Kiwanda RV Resort, which lies directly across the road from the beach and the pub, an entire row of spaces was reserved for the Bend Surf Club, anchored by Paul and Johane Van Camp with their motor home, two poodles and quiver of boards. The Van Camps, skiers who have caught the surf bug, also a have a surf house in Baja. Peter and Suzie Miller, who have been coming to Pacific City from Bend for a decade, had a sweet set-up with their camper and custom wetsuit drying rack.
The dawn patrol surf on Saturday was incredibly fun. Gerry and his buddies went off to surf a more secluded break with seven-foot waves while the rest of us rode two-three footers at the Cove and the Gallows. It was 80 and sunny, and the wind never came up- a rare day on the Oregon Coast. Locals said they had never seen so many people on the beach. Longboards, shortboards, stand-up paddle boards- everyone was surfin' now, despite the 54-degree water temperature. I'll be honest, surfing Pacific City swathed in neoprene will never equal Maui in a bikini, but the wave-addicted will take what they can get.
This is why Surfing the Cascades is a growing phenomenon. Scores of Central Oregonians have townhomes or trailers in Pacific City. They don't call it "Bend-West" for nothing. Aside from road trips to Pacific City (I also like the surf at Crescent City, just over the border in California), unnamed Bendites have been known to surf the local canals. Stand-up paddling on the river is becoming quite popular (join the group at Alder Creek at 4:30pm on Fridays) and surfing behind a boat at Billy Chinook is another way to catch a wave. As the title of Gerry's new book (a great read, by the way) puts it, "Surf Is Where You Find It".
It was a little touch and go for the Pacific Crest Triathlon this year as the Cascade Lakes Highway, where the bike course is held, was finally cleared of snow just a week before the event. With snowmelt in Wickiup and 96-degree heat in Sunriver, racers were challenged to fight hypothermia during the swim and heat exhaustion during the run. Next up on the multisport schedule is the Prineville Splash-n-Dash on the Fourth of July, which involves a 500-yard pool swim, 11-mile bike ride, 1.5-mile paddle down the Crooked River and a four-mile run. Race organizer Larry Smith says racers should "be prepared to possibly get out and walk their boat across some rocks," so you might want to rethink the use of your carbon fiber surfski. Call him at 633-3052 for more information.