We comply with PASA's Safety Guidelines, Emergency Procedures, and Kiteboarding School Regulations. To learn more about PASA (Professional Air Sports Association), please visit www.pasakiteboarding.org
RISKS INHERENT TO THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
The Columbia River Gorge is a World Renown Wind Destination.
Please Be Aware of Risks Specific to the Gorge that affect Kiteboarders
Risks include but are not limited to:
The River: The Columbia River is hazardous: From the cold temperatures and high flows in the spring, to the warm temperatures and lower flows. The River has submerged and often undetectable debris such as logs, stumps, rocks, man made jetties and fishing gear. Lower flow levels increasingly bring debris to the surface. Often, the water is cloudy, so debris and other hazards are not noticeable.
As with any river, the currents vary at any given point and time. Eddies are prevalent and in places turn to powerful vortexes. Even though the river may look like a serene lake at times, its depth and volume magnify its power.
There is also a marked Shipping Channel where Barges and other water traffic often pass. The water is often cold, and exposure may result in hypothermia. Where there is water, there is always a risk of drowning.
Multiple Sports: The Columbia River not only draws Kiteboarding and Windsurfing, but also Sailing, Jet Ski’s, Fishing, Paddle sports and other sports which each have safety issues and are sharing your space.
Crowds: Not only are there many people on the water out enjoying the wind, but also there are often families on the beach or in swimming areas. Pets and small children abound and must be looked out for. In terms of kiting, crowds mean more obstacles: More kites, lines and people to look out for. As there are many people participating in the activities the Columbia supports, there are varying ability levels of participants, from beginner to advanced. As you are taking a lesson, there are many others doing the same. There may be some undirected students of kiteboarding who do not get a proper education on safety. There also may be people out there who are more concerned with showing off their stuff than paying attention to you or the safety protocol.
The Wind: As the Gorge is famous for its winds; these winds are often gusty and unpredictable wind. They can be very high, and then suddenly drop to nothing. There are also wind shadows in the form of islands, trees, barges, and other obstacles.
The Elements: Erratic whether which includes rain, lightening, extreme cold and heat, hail and snow, all takes place here in the Columbia River Gorge.
Gorge Gradients Kiteboarding School operates on a one on one basis for the water sessions. All first time riders will be given the option to ride in up to 23mph winds. All classes scheduled with greater wind speeds will be cancelled, and a class will be canceled if the student is not comfortable with the conditions.
It is your responsibility to be aware of the risks inherent to each location you kite in. it is your personal responsibility to know the rules, safety procedures and make informed decisions about kiteboarding, and know that you are partaking in the sport of kiteboarding at your own risk.