11th Annual Kiteboard 4 Cancer wraps up another epic year, this one with record participation & kite wraps!

Our 11th Annual Kiteboard 4 Cancer (KB4C), powered by Patagonia, raised an amazing $192,948 for Project Koru! Project Koru, an Oregon-based nonprofit, runs outdoor-based programming to help young adult survivors move forward in life after cancer. This year’s KB4C also had a record number of participant kiteboarders, with total registrations hitting 249! About 25 kiteboarders either crossed lines or fumbled with other kites in the first 5 laps of the race – when there is the most kite traffic in the race. All kiters safely navigated out of tangles and continued the race.

Kiteboard 4 Cancer kicked off on Friday night with the Annual Kickoff Party, sponsored by Full Sail Brewing. It was a celebration for visitors, athletes, and Project Koru survivors. The band Ten30 rocked the outdoor space at Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen’s, which was expanded for the night to accommodate 300+ attendees.

Racers set up early morning Saturday for the Kite Derby
Athletes at the Kite Derby riders meeting

On Saturday morning, the winds kicked up early and strong for the most on-time Kite Derby Race Start in years! 225 kiteboarding competitors stacked at the starting line on the north side of the Columbia River, carefully hovering their kites to avoid tangles as the countdown began to start. When the race boat took off, well, we’ll let you check it out…

From the drone…

From the jetty…


Camp Koru survivor participants wave their ribbons at the start of the Kite Derby Race

Just as the first 20 or so kites rounded the first buoy, a bottle-necking ensued! The shifting wind shadow combined with the narrow channel by the jetty created a bottleneck in the middle of the pack. This resulted in tangling kiter carnage on the inside right in front of the event site. Fortunately, this is the one of the safest events and places to get tangled (if you’re going to have a kite tangle) because of the great support from the safety team, event staff, and each kiter on the water. Experienced kiteboarders finessed their way through tangles, weaving their bodies through lines and coming out clean on the other side. More complicated tangles were picked up by event staff at the beach or the jet ski support provided by Cascade Kiteboarding.

Check out the complete Kite Derby results.

There were also tons of activities on the beachfront for spectators all day, including live bands, a kids art tent, silent auction, Memory Wall, Survivors’ Camp Koru lounge, and even a live graffiti artist!

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Providence Cancer Center Hood River offered free skin cancer screenings – over 166 were screened on Saturday! Note Pro Kitesurfer Reo Stevens in the background signing up for his screening!

On Sunday, the festivities continued with the Never-Ever-Kiteboarded Race, the Rubber Ducky race, the egg toss, and more kiteboarding!

The Never-Ever race is a great intro to kiteboarding for complete newbies who have never been exposed to the sport of kiteboarding!


Slingshot Team Pro Rider Reed Brady celebrates with his Never-Ever team mate on getting all their gear and their bodies back to the beach first!
Never-ever teams on the podium!

Kiteboard 4 Cancer event sponsors make this event extra special, and this year was no exception. In addition to being our Title sponsor, Patagonia gave a Yulex wetsuit, a custom RideEngine harness honoring One Way — the story of employee and breast-cancer survivor Michelle Grinsel, a Fletcher Chouinard Designs (FCD) Kite surfboard, and an FCD Surfboard for the Live Auction.

Camp Koru alumni and Osteosarcoma survivor Peter Greenwood shares his story learning to surf with one leg with camp co-founder Tonia Farman.
The KB4C live auction always brings a huge crowd to be entertained by some of the most unconventional and entertaining auction antics around!
The YETI Cooler, filled with Full Sail Beer and One Breathe Kombucha, accessorized with a Full Sail Session Trainer Kite – One of the most popular packages in the Live Auction.

Hood River apparel and sport accessory company Dakine donated all the athlete bags, which came filled with goodies from RX Bar, Sol Sunscreen, Liquid Force (limited edition KB4C hats) and Spacecraft boards for our top winners, Camelbak water bottles donated by 2nd Wind Sports of Hood River, Surfsweets, Kiteworld and The Kiteboarder Magazines, Columbia Gorge Organics, and Dang Coconut Chips.

Full Sail Brewing, One Breathe Kombucha, Stoked Roasters, and Arctic Glacier Water provided beverages for participants and spectators. Local catering companies Apple Valley BBQ and head chef from Camp Koru, Ahi from Ahi’s Ohana provided food and fuel for participants.

Our top fundraisers for 2017…

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KB4C Top Fundraisers! These individuals raised enough to put on two full Camp Koru camps!
Winning Kite Derby Teams: Gorge Greenery/Appothecanna (1st), Team OG/2nd Wind Sports (2nd) and Team Naish (3rd)
Under 18 Winners – Vetea Boersma (1st), Corbett Blackman (2nd) – stand in by Mom Erin, M.K. Olson (3rd)
Women’s Winners – Justi Vonada (1st), Carol Bolstad (2nd), Sensi Graves (3rd)
Overall Winners – Joey Pasquale (1st), Sam Medysky (2nd), and Grom Gormley (3rd)

For our auctions, prizes, and raffles, sponsors kicked in big time! We cannot thank enough YETI for some amazing coolers and ramblers, Palapas Ventana for a trip for the winning fundraiser, Airush Kites for a beautiful kitesurfboard and a Lithium kite, Vela for a trip for two to a winning fundraiser, F One and Manera for a harness and an F One twin tip kiteboard, Pistil for our lap counter hats and beautiful hats and accessories for the raffle, and Full Sail Brewing for beer and pub gift certificates for our top derby finishers.

Special thanks to Patagonia, Avangrid Renewables, Doug Sports, Apothecanna / Gorge Greenery, Full Sail Brewing, Columbia Pain Management, Evergreen Home Loans, Letters to Me, Cabrinha Kiteboarding, North Kiteboarding, Ride Engine, Providence Cancer Center, CORE Kites, Tonkin Subaru, for making it possible for us to put on this event!

Athletes, participants, and supporters that made it to the end of the day on Saturday!


Official photos can be viewed here. Please email Noelle – survivorship at projectkoru.org for high-res files for media and promotional use.


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