In this podcast episode I catch up with Carter Johnson, Race Director for the Gorge Downwind Festival. In just four years this race has become the single biggest downwind event in the world. With 750 participants, featuring equal numbers of Outrigger Canoe and Surfski paddlers, plus a good contingent of Stand Up Paddle Boarders. But more than just a race, this has become a week long festival celebrating paddling, downwind, beer, Rivers for Change, and loads of camaraderie.
In this episode Carter provides some interesting insights into how the race has evolved and what to expect for 2018. We touch on the following key areas and much more:
- Beyond race week, growth in the downwind paddle scene throughout the summer and Carter’s downwind retreat compound
- A breakdown of the number of racers signed up this year across the different paddle disciplines as well as where they are coming from geographically
- How the Gorge Downwind Festival may ultimately bring surfski paddling the recognition it deserves in the US
- Changes for 2018 including:
- Later beer tent hours
- A completely stocked beer truck with 26 beers on tap
- Changes to signal the surfski start
- Safety precautions
- Race navigation strategies and how minute changes of the wind direction will change the course
I hope you enjoy the podcast and more importantly I hope to see you out there in a couple of weeks!