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Winner Chris Bobyrk

The 13th Annual Bridge of the Gods event kicked off this past weekend with a new twist. Known as the event that has launched the pro careers of many riders, this year organizers divided the event into two weekends and tested a new format. Their goal? Breathe new life into the nation’s longest running amateur kiteboarding event and provide a platform where established pros could mentor aspiring amateur riders. If weekend one is any measure of the  success of the new format, the Bridge of the Gods will continue its tradition for many years to come.

Day 1 started off with a new Pro competition to get riders and the crowd pumped for the subsequent events. Riders and conditions did not disappoint as the level and excitement increased with every heat. Newcomers to the Pro scene Chris Bobyryk (Best) from Michigan and Nico Suriel (Star Kites) from the Dominican Republic ignited the crowd giving standout performances which earned them the top two places in the men’s division. Expect to see much more from these two rising stars in the coming year.

Nico Suriel, 2nd Place.

Sunday’s traditional Blowout, a 17-mile downwinder from Stevenson to Hood River, was organized as a team event with one Pro level or local Gorge legend rider and three amateur riders. Organizers came up with a scoring system to provide an incentive for the teams to work together and add some strategy to the race.  Of note, the second place team of four had a combined age of 202 giving them the Team nickname of “202.”

Worthy of mention is Jon “Bam Bam” Malmberg’s heroic effort to finish the race, earning him the Sportsmanship award. After a young kiter lost his kite, Jon carried it close to the Viento beach for retrieval.  Upon returning to the main channel, he caught the top of the 19-foot Viento Channel Marker which resulted in a 90-minute adventure to climb to the top of the channel marker, lower his lines to the water, disengaging the kite, swimming back to the beach, re-rig his gear and completing the race finishing in last place.  Nearly every rider passed his flagging kite.  This earned him the sportsmanship award of $25 to the Trillium Café in Hood River, one of his favorite hang outs.

Laura Meyer goes big.

Pro riders were encouraged to stay on for the week to mentor the amateurs as next Saturday, August 4, Stevenson will host the traditional amateur competition. Tony has set up a practice session on Wednesday and Thursday for the Groms and Juniors where the Men’s Pro winner, Chris Bobryk, will be answering questions and coaching the younger riders in preparation for their competition. Shout out to the Bolstad clan Carol, Tony, Grom, Shannon, Rachel and Sarah; Steve Fisher;  judges Jake, Alex and Paul; Joe and Bruce at the aquadocks; Melissa and Nicole in registration; Yoga Man;  Best  riders Chris Bobryk and Sean Buell; Tom and crew for landing assists, Colin and Bruce in the rescue boat and all the others who help make this event happen.

If you’re in the Gorge, go to Stevenson this upcoming Saturday and support the amateurs as they pull out all the stops to earn the top spots at the 13th Annual Bridge of the Gods Kitefest. For more info and photos see www.nwkite.com


1st: Chris Bobryk
2nd: Nicholas Suriel
3rd: Brandon Scheid
4th: Jeff Andrade
5th: John Perry

1st: Shannon Gormley
2nd: Colleen Carrol
3rd: Rachel Callahan
4th: Laura Maher


1. Team Brandon Scheid, Kip Wylie, Mark Barnes, Jon Boersman
3rd, 12th, 16th, 29th=60 Points

2. Team Cory R. AKA “Team 202” Tony Bolstad, Mikaya Heart, Mike McCann
1st, 10th, 14th, 38th=63 Points

3. Team Eric Reinstra. Steve Fisher, Kirstan Schmidt, Jake Buzianis
2nd, 5th, 30th, 39th=76 Points

4. Team Shannon Gormley, Billy Kipling, Mike Billets, Chris Boyle
13th, 20th, 22th, 28th=83-6(for 20th and 22nd being close)=77 Points

5. Team Jason Slezak, Chris Samick, Adrian Rodriguez, Carol Bolstad
7th, 15th, 21st, 43=86 Points

6. Team Chris Bobryk, Dave Russell, Grom, Sean Buell
23rd, 24th, 35th, 37th=119-27(for 23rd and 24th and 35th and 37th)=92 Points

7. Team Rachel Callahan, Mathew Dawson, Matt Elsasser, Holm Bradley
6th, 18th, 27th, 42=93 Points

8. Team Nico Suriel, Dane Brown, James Hughes, Paul Porter
9th, 11th, 25th, DNF=94 Points

9. Team Sensi, Tom VanVeer, David Putnnan Pike, Tom Dawson
19th, 31st, 32nd, 34=116-27 (fr 31st, 32nd, and 34th)=99 Points

10. Team John Perry, Reed Bashon, Taylor Car, Alex German Last Name
8th, 40th, 41st, DNF=137-24(for 40th and 41st)=113

11. Team Reo, Brian Holgate, Dylan Murphy, A-Train
4th, 26th, DNF, DNF=128

12. Team Joby Cook, Jose Gruart, Bam Bam, Nicole Corbert
17th, 33rd, 36th, 44th=130

Sportsmanship: Bam Bam

Results of race
1. The Man Himself, CORY
2. The Predator, Eric R
3. The Smile, Brandn S
4. The Pre Race Big Air Champ, Reo Stevens
5. Big Guy, Big Kite, Jake Buzianis
6. The Elsasser, Matt Esasser
7. Mr. Style, Jason Slezak
8. The German Destroyer, Alex German Last Name
9. Artificial Sweedner, Paul Porter
10. Event Coordinator, Tony Bolstad
11. The Young Buck From D.R. Nico Suriel
12. Jon Boersma
13. The Canadian, Billy Kipling
14. Mike McCann
15. Chris Samak
16. The Finisher, Mark Barnes
17. The Local Legend, Joby Cook
18. Holm Bradley
19. The Teacher, Tom Dawson
20. Mike Billets
21. Mrs. Fast Carol Bolstad
22. Mr. Chill, Chris Boyle
23. Mr. Jellyfish, Chris Bobryic
24. Mr. Waste Way Too Much Time on Stupid Names, Grom
25. James Hughes
26. Brian Holgate
27. Queen of Fuels, Rachel Callahan
28. Full Moon, Shannon Gormley
29. Mr. Stoke Kip Wylie
30. Special K, Kirstan Schmidt
31. Bikini Queen, Sensi
32. The Putter, David utnan ike
33. El Kito Loco, Jose
34. Tom VanVeen
35. Dr. Patience, Sean Buell
36. OH YA OLLE, Nicole Corbett
37. The Blueberry, Dave Russell
38. The Writer, Makaya Heart
39. The Fisherman, Steve Fisher
40. Mr. Lovebook, Read Bashion
41. Mr. Thankful For Henry Ford, Taylor Carr
42. The Son, Mathew Dawson
43. Adrian Rodriguez
44. The Clean up, BamBam Thank You Mam
Mr. Buoy, John Perry
Mr New to the Gorge, A-Train
Danger Dane, Dane Brown
The Human Sponge, Dylan Murphy