Rooster Rock

"Turn your head around" A favorite for those sailors coming from Portland and points west, Rooster Rock State Park is the only site to make our top twenty list that does not offer sailing on West winds. Located just east of Portland at the mouth of the Gorge, Rooster Rock is the home of the fabled "nuclear" East winds of the Gorge. There's not much windsurfing action in the summer on West winds, but fall and spring bring out the crowds to challenge the Easterly conditions. Rooster Rock's strong currents and sustained winds above 30 knots make it the epitome of high wind, flat water windsurfing. As wild as it is on the water, Rooster Rock is very friendly on shore. The park is large, well-kept and great for families and spectating. Rooster can support a tremendous crowd with what seems like unlimited parking.

RIG & LAUNCH The beautiful grass rigging areas are adjacent to all parking areas and lead to several different flights of steps down to the long sandy beach. Depending upon the time of year, the water will be from 6" to 1/4 mile away. The wide beach with its gentle slope to deeper water makes this an easy, ideal launch.

WIND It's always stronger than it looks and it is typically 1/2 sail size smaller on the WA side than on the launch side. 25 sails are a real possibility, but typically 35 to 45. Best in early morning to early afternoon in Fall and it will hold-on later in Spring. TIP: Don't milk an East wind, especially a warm one. If Rooster is too blown out, check out Chinook Landing at 223rd NE Marine Drive, or go to Stevenson and Bob's Beach.

WATER The current is powerful, especially when combined with a strong East wind, which unlike West winds, moves with the river's flow. You'll find it necessary to point hard upwind to compensate for the surge of the water and direction of the wind. Swells are closely packed together and can reach 1 - 2 feet on big days with formidable chop. This is a radical speed slalom area with small ramps in both directions.

GETTING THERE Travel east from Portland on I-84 approx. 27 miles and take the Rooster Rock Park exit #25. From Hood River travel west on I-84 about 34 miles, take the same exit #. Park on either side next to the main park building for best access, there's plenty of room with over 900 parking spots to choose from.