Scarcity mindset showing up at the hatch

Erik is big on foiling being able to avoid the scarcity mindset that many watersports were built upon and continue to thrive.

Recently, for the first time ever, I saw this mindset rear its ugly head in a discussion on Facebook about (SUP foil DW) beginners avoiding the main point at the hatch. I get this for crowded days, but in my attempts to clarify, it felt like I was running into that same “superheros only” energy that always kept windsurfing on the shelf.

I know that’s a double edge sword: make it easy and then there’s more money but more kooks. Or keep it hard like windsurfing and once your tobacco money dries up your sport is dead. I’m probably going to get a bunch of drivel from the superheros on this, but ideally we could start a better conversation that isn’t rooted in scarcity mentality.

This request is coming from a large (260lbs 6’5) human being who isn’t sure if they’ll ever be able to pop up on a sup downwinder because I’m not that coordinated and the boards are too f**king small, but is putting in the time. Even though now people are being scared off the spot I thought was safe and recommended for learning (off season)?

Tre recommended that the conversation be started on Facebook, but I felt like it devolved pretty quickly and the conversation could use a new home. Maybe as one of the OGs Tre or TJ could get with Erik and discuss on an episode?


There are only so many spots. If the resource is limited. There will be problems.

The beauty of wind sports so far, has been there is plenty of water and wind. Riding in a crowded spot is annoying though. I don’t think there is any way around it.

I’ve never been to Hood River, but I can see the wind guys being upset that now, these new slower moving things are in their way, at the spot they’ve dedicated their lives too. The resource has now become limited.

EDIT: I’ve been likening foiling to Jeff Clark at Mavericks for years now. The early adopters were Jeff Clark surfing alone at Mavericks. Telling people this is amazing you won’t believe it. No one believed it. Then some people finally started trying it out and all of a sudden there were lots more people singing it’s praise. Don’t worry the spot (sport) will take care of itself, it’ll never get crowded. It’s too heavy of a wave/it’s to hard to learn/it’s for experts only. Flash forward a couple more years and the gear is better, everyone’s learning. Look at Mavericks now on any swell. It’s a circus. Jeff Clark doesn’t even regular surf there anymore. So that’s the future I see for foiling.


I was part of the Facebook convo.

Not sure what you are hoping for or advocating for. At my home spot every day presents possible challenges. Car traffic, lack of parking, too many kiters, fisherman, surfers, drunken boaters, etc. This stuff bothers the shit out of me, and I get angry. Most of my fellow riders don’t seem to be bothered at all by it and are perfectly happy with fisherman snagging them with hooks and near misses from boat propellers.

It’s everybody’s water. Generally it doesn’t belong to anyone. These concepts of etiquette are stupid and no longer work when you have crowds. Rules of the road are not enforced and most don’t know or understand them.

Take a chill, have positive vibes, or if you attract negative energy like I do just be ready to throw down with your fellow kook. Go out and enjoy it. If the crowds upset you take up some other activity, like hunting or fishing (if you really want to see your fellow sportsman ruin your day).

The world is getting crowded. The US is full and getting more full by the moment. People have given up on watching TV and have decided to live life so life fulfilling activities are crowded. Part of the fun may be in the experience to find less crowded places.


I chimed in on the facebook conversation as well.

At the most basic level, I really don’t think that folks on facebook or forums will impact what’s happening at the hatch. This is an issue that should be addressed with the shops and maybe the cgw2. If those entities published something giving direction then it gives people a place to refer to.

I’m working on site guides to every launch in the gorge and while I don’t intend to include anything that excludes any user group, I do intend to include notes about “this location is prone to overcrowding” or “this location is recommended for entry level fill in the blank

Overcrowding is of zero concern to me. I just go up, or downwind. (I also don’t care for the hatch) So I couldn’t care less where people get directed to at the moment. What I do care about is hostile users. I do not have a desire to see a localism/surf culture develop in the gorge but it’s been coming for a few years. Normally that kind of thing is pretty site specific. “This is our beach” kind of thing. However, the DW crew cruises through every single site and cuts through every other user group on the water. A few bad apples (and yes, there are a few already) can really impact the overall experience for other user groups and damage the reputation of the DW crew as a whole.


I guess I was just hoping that the initial welcoming super stoke I got last season kooking it up would continue. I am the farthest thing from a talented athlete and even though the struggle was so real, I felt supported by the supermen/superwomen and thought I could get to a place where I could find a spot to take a long time learning.

The stuff I saw posted worried me, that maybe the vibe that was so accommodating last season for more vulnerable athletes might be gone, like I’d missed my window.

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To add to that, I’ve just never felt anyone create more space for non-traditional athletes in the short-man’s circus that is modern performance surfing than Erik’s podcast. Thought there might be a good riff here for anyone else that feels like they are on the bottom side of the performance curve but can bring the stoke!!!

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Don’t forget that facebook and forums can bring out the worst in people. I used to moderate a group of over 3000 rock climbers. Just before spring hit everyone usually started picking fights and everything would go to hell. Then the weather turned and magically people weren’t so pissy.

The bigger takeaway I would hope you have perceived is that the flood of beginner DW sup foilers is harming other peoples opportunity to experience their chosen activity. Beyond that, it seemed clear to me that the experienced DW SUP crew was actually pointing out that they have learned that the Hatch isn’t exactly the best place to learn after all. They are trying to redirect people to a better learning location that doesn’t have as much of a negative impact on other user groups.

So, I wouldn’t worry too much. There’s still tons of friendly people out there and the Hatch isn’t the only place in the world to learn to DW SUP. I learned in the gorge and I didn’t learn at the hatch. Maybe take this as an opportunity to reflect on how everyone needs to be respectful of all user groups and that maybe you simply need to start from a different beach this season.


I think you can fix most of this with mindset and positivity. With that you’ll find other similar positive minded folks. Easier said than done. Don’t sweat the haters. All will be well. Your overthinking this.


Bring the stoke buddy!!! Don’t worry about what others type or say. There’s lots of room at the hatch and fellow frothers will show you the way. Respect others and you’ll be happy paddler. Cheers


Man, the best thing about foiling is not having to travel to “epic” locations and just getting great rides on the regular. Honestly, looking at Maui and the Gorge I feel sorry for folks who live at these spots. Part of it is the challenges of the “interesting” geography that produces these magic spots - miles of unrideable conditions but one small locus of magic. The other part is the people. I love my miles and miles of identical mediocrity all to myself.

Honestly, the worst thing to ever happen to foiling is being born in Maui. I think it set it back 3 years. Just look at how much better the gear got when the brands started listening to people in “mediocre” conditions like Eric in the southeast.

I feel for ya bro, your welcome at my local whenever!


Just show up with this shirt over your wet suit


I know this was posted in jest but this IS what it feels like at the Hatch on busy days;

As the OP of that FB thread, I was impressed with the civility. Don’t think you’re going to see much change in how you’re perceived at the Hatch, just please don’t plunk yourself down right off the point on a busy 30+ day and stand essentially still.

Nobody can stop you of course, it’s your right to be there. But consider for a moment how your use of the site affects other users.

Leave the point for the “check me” guys. They have an important role in society too (clearly more important than ours :joy:)

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Just want to say I’ll be looking forward to this Bryan and appreciate the work…I generally hate crowds, and even more so aggro/posessive attitudes…but the lure of the gorge is hard to resist…so I will be both adding to and trying to avoid the problem, like a lot of others I suppose…


Crowds are everything I don’t want when I’m in nature. So, spreading out is a big deal to me. The biggest thing I can recommend when you come to the gorge is to simply go upwind, or downwind from the launch site. We’re all on foils and yet there are still tons of people riding like windsurfers. If you go upwind for 5 minutes or downwind for 60 seconds at almost any launch you’ll probably be all alone in the gorge.


Meanwhile places like the Great Lakes. We’re looking to see where people are going because it’s more fun rather than several hours of solo sessions


Just an anecdote, but I was in HR yesterday and had the hatchery to myself for about an hour.

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Where is the FB thread? NW Foiling?

I’m surprised this would be a realistic issue given that the beginner run is Tunnel 4-> Hatch, so a typical beginner is only briefly present there. I always admire folks that can thread the needle through the crowds, and have been a bit disappointed with windsurfers that will ram you off a wave if you have happen to be on their mow the lawn tack. Sup Foil beginners should be the least of anyone’s concern as they are primarily bobbing around!!

I ended last season with 3 laps at Rufus on a big day - it was funny that over the 7.5 mile run there was only two bands of traffic - the windsurf launch, and the kitesurfing launch. It’s such a big river with so much opportunity.


It’s in NW foiling but the folks who do tunnel to hatch probably wouldn’t fall into the complaint category.

The issue that is being complained over is people putting in at the point (west edge of hatch) working on paddle ups for 100 yards, then prone paddling back to the start to try again. As such, they are always in the middle of the busiest area which is where the complaints come from.