(An article for “It’s YOUR Wave – Ride It” by SUP athlete and teacher/writer, Judy Shasek/Elder SUP)

Steve and Nick - in a rare moment of sitting
Steve and Nick – in a rare moment of sitting
Steve Gates explaining the course (complicated and cool) to the team

A constant at every Naish Colombia Groge Paddle Challenge (CGPC) I have been to is the high energy, brilliant smile and dedicated leadership of the humble and wonderful, Steve Gates. Recognized for his coaching of the Hood River youth involved in both the Big Winds JET and DEVO teams, Steve has had a lot to do with the deep field of talent in this year’s Grom and Super Grom race.

stgteamThis year we decided to kick off the CGPC weekend with a showing of THE SUP MOVIE sponsored by the Positively Kai Foundation (mahalo, Kai Lenny). With the help of the staff at Big Winds and TJ Guilizia we got the word out and had a packed house on August 20th at Andrew’s Pizza and Skylight Drafthouse Theater (thanks for the donation of the venue!) SMHR3

A full house meant there were more generous people buying raffle tickets and generating funds to benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Colmbia Gorge.  The place was packed and energy was high as swag from Big Winds, an autographed Hurley hat and signed poster for each attendee were shared -thanks to Kai Lenny . smhr1

Justine Ziegler of Big Brothers Big Sisters

The film began – and there’s nothing like an incredible story tied to fantastic surf shots to keep a full house mesmerized. The sound track was impeccably matched to each film segment and heard from the big-screen sound system the experience could not have been better.

Best of all – we connected with Brent Emmons, principal of Hood River Middle School, and some teachers in order to plan an “It’s YOUR Wave Ride It” program for early Fall 2015. Read about that program to really understand the impact the Positively Kai Foundation is having on young people – a great film, generous donations – and a program that allows youth themselves to be the proactive dreamers and doers for their life vision.

Kai Lenny inspiring youth at the 2014 CGPC Positively Kai event
Kai Lenny inspiring youth at the 2014 CGPC Positively Kai event