News here of something old, something new — and something that brings both together.
The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association has a new leader, with a familiar face.
Outgoing executive director Greg Stiegel recently tipped a beer with board members and his replacement, Bart Vervloet, aka Bingen Bart.
A fixture on the Gorge windsurfing scene for aeons (OK, decades), Bart built his brand with a popular radio wind report. He later ran Bart’s Better Boards and most recently has been helping customers at the Gorge Surf Shop.
“Bart sees the opportunity and challenges now, and how CGWA helps many folks, and our community, not just windsurfers,” said CGWA board member Barb Ayers. “We’re lucky to have that vision.”
Stiegel joined the CGWA five years ago, and is departing for new adventures in Alaska. He helped transition the organization’s signature summer event from the Wind Fest brand to the Beach Bash brand.
The Wind Fest event began as an opportunity for windsurfing product companies and retailers to help windsurfers learn about and “demo” potential purchases.
As is the case with weather, the event often struggled with a lack of wind, and left many in the CGWA shaking their heads.
Stiegel led efforts to revitalize the event by morphing it into something that embraced a variety of watersports — such as stand-up paddleboarding — and dry-land beach activities.
The CGWA actively promotes river access and site improvement efforts for windsurfers, and works closely with other organizations representing Columbia River recreation interests.