Updated 1/29/2018

Important update for 2018: Elite women will be allowed to race on boards up to and including 14′ in all Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge races– both the Course and Double Downwind races.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you all in the Gorge in August!

Please note: PFDs are required to be worn, or on board, for all paddlers in all races. Its not just a good idea, it’s the law.


This event shows of the beauty and excitement of the Gorge. Racers will be challenged by the mighty Columbia with howling winds, waves and current in an 8-mile downwind leg from Viento State Park to the Waterfront Park. The course will take approximately 1¼ hours for the leaders. The finish line will be on the beach at the Waterfront Park.

Once again, we run the Downwind Double Down, which will begin with a “water start”, as in 2017. Paddlers who choose to race in this class will shuttle back to the starting line at Viento State Park for a second lap on the course. The results of the Downwind Double Down shall be based on the combined times of a competitor’s two runs.

The Double Down is considered the Elite Race and is for the cash purse. There are no age categories in the Double Down, just Men’s and Women’s classes. Both men and women are restricted to a board length maximum of 14′ and fixed fin.

The Downwind Double Down is for elite level athletes and those competitors that are in strong physical condition and are experienced enough to paddle back-to-back 8 mile downwind, upriver, runs in rough water, potential winds of 30+ mph, and large swells. A typical Viento Run this time of the summer, in good wind, is taking most strong paddlers 1:10 to 1:20. If this is not you, we advise you enter the Open Class Downwind Race, rather than the Double Down.

Because the parking lot at Viento State Park — the start for the Downwind Races — has limited parking, we strongly suggest carpooling boards to the start for the Downwind Races. There will be an opportunity for competitors to arrange shuttling immediately after the Skipper’s Meeting in the morning of the race.

Leashes are required for all competitors in this race.


The course race will be held at the Waterfront Park providing a great chance for spectators to see the world’s top athletes, friends or family compete in a multi-lap course race. Competitors will make several laps around an approximately one mile course, all visible from the Waterfront Park. The Elite class will complete five laps, the Open class will complete four laps and the Grom class will complete two laps. The prevailing wind is from the west making this course challenging for the competitors and exciting for the spectators. The finish will be on the beach inside the Waterfront Park.

The Elite Course Race is open to all athletes who want to compete at the highest level and for the cash purse. Both the Men’s and Women’s Classes shall be restricted to a maximum board length of 14′ and a fixed fin. Competitors may use different boards for their Downwind Race (including the Double Down) and their Course Race.

The Elite Men’s Course Race will be run in heats, as in 2017. Our start line in the cove is simply no longer large enough to allow for fair starts for the ever-growing men’s fleet. The men’s Elite field will be split into two heats. The top twenty finishers from each heat will then compete in a final heat to determine the winners. The Elite Men’s course will be shortened to reflect the heat format.

Course Charts



Click to enlarge.

Downwinder Course Chart. Click to enlarge.

On the downwind race, competitors must round the 1st turning mark leaving it on their right hand shoulder, then leave buoy 32 on their left shoulder, then Wells Island on their right shoulder, and then round the final buoy in front of the Waterfront Park on their right shoulder and proceed to the finish line on the beach.


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