Why windsurf? Because it’s a blast! Windsurfing gives you the freedom to scream across the water, fly into the sky, and shred waves with the power of the wind. The Columbia River Gorge offers some of the best wind conditions on the plant, and is a mecca for wind sports enthusiasts from around the world.
How difficult is windsurfing? Years ago windsurfing was hard. Today it isn’t. Thanks to wide, stable boards, lightweight sails, and expert instruction at Big Winds, just about anyone can hop aboard and get sailing in minutes. From Day 1 to jibing, to wind foiling and beyond, we’ve got you covered.
Do I need to take a lesson to learn to windsurf? Yes, the equipment is nuanced. So is the technique needed to simply windsurf back to where you started. Lessons provide gear and know how that guarantee success, a safe session, and an experience that gets you hooked.
What level do I sign up for? Find the class description that best describes you below.
FIRST TIMER LESSONS
Level 1 Get Riding ($89) - Never windsurfed before, or did it 1-2 times years ago. Get me windsurfing!
Level 2 Fast Riding ($89) - Windsurfed recently, perhaps had a lesson. Help me with my stance and faster 180 degree turns!
First Timer’s Package ($149) - Give me both of the lessons above for a deal!
GORGE RIDER LESSONS
Level 3 Rock the Hook ($99) - I’ve windsurfed several times. I can sail upwind comfortably. Give me bigger sails, more speed and beach starts!
Level 4 Wells Island Express ($99) - I can beach start. Get me outside of the Hook’s protected lagoon and into the river.
Level 5 Conquer the Columbia ($99) - I’m ready to master the deep water start so I can sail anywhere I want!
Gorge Rider’s Package ($259) - Give me all three of the lessons above for a deal!
When do you offer windsurf lessons? Seven days a week from mid May through early September at 11am and 2pm.
How long are lessons? Two hours of instruction, plus an extra hour of practice immediately following the class. Our instruction techniques put students on the water from the moment the lesson begins. Three hours is plenty for most folks!
Can I take two lessons in one day? Highly discouraged. Three hours of sailing is plenty for most, and six hours is overkill for almost everyone.
What is the minimum age for windsurf lessons? Kids must be 8 years old to be enrolled in our windsurf lessons. Those between the ages of 8 and 12 are taught in kids’ group lessons. Kids 13 and up join adult groups. We also offer our ever popular, multi day Windsurfing Kids Camps.
How do I book a windsurf lesson? Call at 888-509-4201 and ask for the lessons department. Payment is due in full at reservation. We offer a 48 hour cancellation policy for a full refund.
Do I need to reserve a spot? Yes, a reservation is highly encouraged (and often necessary) as we max out often. Usually a few days notice is fine. If space allows, we can sign you up on the day of. Don't hesitate to call, even last minute.
Where do the windsurf lessons take place? Lessons take place at the Hook, which offers a protected lagoon safely nestled alongside the Columbia River. Directions can be found at the link here.
What time do I need to show up for my lesson? Please arrive 30 minutes before your lesson starts at our Windsurfing Center at the Hook. There you will fill out a waiver, and get sized up for a wetsuit, PFD and helmet while you meet your instructor and the rest of your group.
What do I need to bring with me? Plan for a beach day! A bathing suit, sunscreen, a towel, water, and your excited self is all you’ll need!
How many students are there per instructor? Our Level 1 and 2 classes allow up to five people. Our Level 3, 4 and 5 classes allow two people.
What is included in the lesson? In addition to a great experience and top notch instruction, we provide all of the windsurfing equipment — including a wetsuit, PFD, helmet and booties.
Do you rent the gear I learned with? Yes we do, provided the gear you learned with is not needed for other lessons. It’s $20 for the first hour, and $10 for each additional hour.
Why take lessons through Big Winds? Because we’ve taught windsurf lessons in Hood River for 31 years, we love windsurfing, and we are stoked to share our passion with you! We have a dedicated staff of experienced instructors who return year after year. Many teach in grade or high schools or on the mountain coaching snow sports, bringing a depth of education experience and windsurfing know how.
What if I have additional questions about my lesson? Give us a call at 888-509-4201, or email us at email@example.com.
Jason Watts hails from Beaverton, Oregon. When he's not chasing the wind and surf off Maui, Chile and New Zealand, he's riding his snowboard or mountain bike.