HOOD RIVER, Oregon - Another one bites the dust thanks to Covid-19. In what was hoped to be the new 'kick off' event of the 2020 season, the SIC Maui sponsored Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge unfortunately just announced they would be cancelling their 10th annual event this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. See the full statement from event organizers below:
We are sad to announce that the 2020 SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge will be cancelled due to the health restrictions in the state of Oregon. This news comes with heavy hearts from the community of Hood River and the event staff given that this year’s event was going to be dedicated to the memory of Steve Gates while also celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge.
The Governor of Oregon announced on May 8th that no event permits would be issued in the state of Oregon through the month of September. This includes not only big stadium events but also smaller events like the Gorge Paddle Challenge and any other paddle events in the state of Oregon. The county and city of Hood River are abiding by the restrictions, which precludes us from holding our event this August.
We have discussed postponing the event until October, however the inconsistent winds that start in late September would not allow for the downwind conditions that everyone comes to Hood River to enjoy. We will plan to celebrate Steve Gates and the 10th anniversary of the SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge on August 14-15th, 2021.
In 2011, Steve Gates, owner of Big Winds, and his team brought the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge to life in Hood River. Since then, the now SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge has become one of the most beloved races in the country, if not the world. If not for Steve and his team’s vision, we would not have had this great event to enjoy.
We invite everyone who had hoped to participate in this year’s event, as well as anyone from the paddling community, to participate in your own paddle sometime during what would have been this year’s event weekend, August 15 & 16th,. We invite you to tag the SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge in your posts (@gorgepaddlechallenge on Instagram) and share your posts on the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge Facebook page in memory of Steve and his legacy. Feel free to use the hashtags #stevewouldgo, #gorgepaddlechallenge, and #sicgpc2020 so others can find your posts!
Even though we cannot all gather for the SIC Gorge Paddle Challenge this year, we remain connected as a community. We hope that everyone is healthy and stays safe during these times of our world. We look forward to seeing everyone on August 14-15, 2021.
Fiona Wylde leading the pack during the 2018 Gorge Paddle Challenge. | Photo: Gorge US Photography
Every year, standup paddlers from around the world travel to Hood River for this event, as it's one of the longest running, premiere standup paddle events in the world. World Champion Paddler Fiona Wylde who calls Hood River home commented on the cancellation of the event by saying, "I’m very sad we won’t be able to celebrate the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge and have FUN as we always do during the best race of the year! Especially this year with the Paddle Challenge meaning so many important things for our community and sport. However, health is number one priority for everybody! Steve wouldn’t have it any other way."
For more standup paddle race news, click HERE.