Photo of the Day

There is a story behind every user at the basin. We will post one photo a day to share a little of the richness and diversity of the community that loves to play there.

November 14, 2012

Tonight the Port Commission will take an up-or-down vote on the cable park deciding whether to keep this public water open to us all or instead to lease it to a private company for a cable wakeboarding park which would restrict public access all summer. Come to the meeting 5 pm, Port Building 1000 E Marina Drive, Hood River.

October 26, 2012

The following photos were sent to us by Joseph C. of Hood River from an end-of-season paddle he took last night. Here are his comments:

“Tonight there were many mosquitoes close to the water and the fish jumping in the basin were really having a feast. I had heard this might be one of the very last fair weather evenings, so I could not resist. The basin was very quiet, well except for the fish, and the reflections were worth the short paddle.  The Columbia was unusual with subtle waves flowing from the west even with no wind…Very nice to see the basin filled back up since the recent rains.  The basin is an amazing resource for sure.”

October 15, 2012

October 14, 2012

October 13, 2012

Slackwater Beach is a very popular spot for dog owners. Hood River is a dog-loving town but there are surprisingly few convenient spots along the river that welcome dogs. The Waterfront Park beach is dog-free all summer, the Event Site and sandbar are too dangerous on windy days when dominated by kiters and windsurfers, the Marina Beach is a long hike out to the water since the 2007 flood filled the beach far out to the river, and the Hook is a tricky climb down riprap to get to water level.

October 12, 2012

As rain finally arrives in the Gorge, we look fondly look back at the long hot summer.

October 11, 2012

Along with the Gorge Kayak School, another kayak business–the Kayak Shed–also uses the basin. Customers can test drive kayaks before purchase from the dock at the south end of the Basin.

October 10, 2012

These folks are enjoying the extended Indian Summer with kayaks and paddleboards they have rented for the afternoon from the Gorge Kayak School.

October 9, 2012

October 8, 2012

Warm sunny weather attracts paddlers of all skill levels.

October 7, 2012

Twice the fun in kayak built for one.

October 6, 2012

Jake and Lottie Bromham in their canoe.

October 5, 2012

Don, Sam and Rosie Wiley enjoying the calm water at  Nichols Basin.

October 4, 2012

Young Rose and her yellow inflatable boat.

October 3, 2012

Flatwater conditions make the basin fun and safe for the littlest paddlers.

October 2, 2012

While there are lots of cute scenes like this one at Slackwater, the beach itself is not pretty. There is a new proposal on the table to drop the cable park and instead improve the west side of the Basin using Urban Renewal funding. The plan is to turn it into a narrow waterfront park with new beaches and water access, a pedestrian esplanade connecting the Event Site to downtown and the footbridge over the Hood River and riparian restoration to improve habitat for fish. The Friends of the Waterfront endorse this plan. Find out more.

October 1, 2012

Nichols Basin at sunset yesterday September 30th taken from a kayak at the south end. The golden light of Indian Summer makes the Washington hills especially beautiful. Thank you Joseph for sending the photo! If anyone else has photos send them our way, we’d love to post them

September 30, 2012

The Gorge Kayak School makes its home at the south end of the basin. They offer basic kayak classes at the basin as well as using it, as shown here,  as the launch point for guided paddles of the Columbia.

September 29, 2012

Hood River local Kris Kendall can be seen frequently at Slackwater Beach with her paddleboard. She often brings her daughter and her friends.

September 28, 2012

Paddleboards aren’t the only dog-friendly craft, here Angie takes her little dog Dixie Mae for a tranquil kayak ride in the Basin.

September 27, 2012

We aren’t just about saying “no” to the cable park. We want to say “yes” to an alternative vision for Nichols Basin. Here is one rough concept plan. The goal is to:

  • Create a premier waterfront recreational site with diverse public access opportunities including: improved SUP and kayak launches, an expanded public beach, new picnic and event spaces, a watersports center with SUP/kayak rentals and lessons, public storage, outdoor showers, salmon, natural resources and historical interpretive information.
  • Improve aesthetics, habitat, water quality and the long-term value of adjacent properties
  • Support existing local businesses and Port concessionaires
  • Create a waterfront experience that enhances local quality of life and reinforces Hood River’s existing tourism brand.

September 26, 2012

John and Phoebe Wood enjoy a beautiful afternoon on the basin in their beautiful boat.

September 25, 2012

Ed Fix and his trusty dog Ajax are Nichols Basin regulars. During the hot months of summer, they come down most evenings for a refreshing dip.

September 24, 2012

Susan Crowley has enjoyed the basin for years as a peaceful place to walk her dog, she has recently discovered the on-water fun of stand up paddleboard.

September 23, 2012

Another Hood River local in favor of keeping the basin open for us all.

September 22, 2012

The developer likes to tout the cable park as less elitist than other water sports by comparing a two hour cable pass ($30 plus $20 rentals= $50) to the cost of buying a full set of windsurfing or kiting gear. Or that a Stand Up Paddleboard can cost $1,400. This is a flawed comparison. It would be more accurate to compare 2 hour rental prices to the prices of 2 hours on the cable. $50 for 2 hours at the cable doesn’t look very cheap when compared to $20 for 2 hours with a kayak or $30 for a 2 hour SUP rental.

September 21, 2012

Despite having no improvements, Slackwater Beach has been adopted by many as not just a launch point but as a beach. Hood River desperately needs another multi-purpose beach. The beach at the marina was trashed with the creation of the 2007 sandbar, the Waterfront Park beach is already at maximum capacity, the Event Site/Sandbar are dangerous for swimmers. Slackwater has become a lively, welcoming place for swimming, picnics, dogs.

September 20, 2012

Ten-year old Charlotte Bromham takes an afterschool paddle round the basin.

September 19, 2012

A beginner class at the Gorge Kayak School in the south end of the boat basin. The flat water, low wind conditions are excellent for learning basic skills.

September 18, 2012

Beat the heat with a refreshing paddle round the basin, especially if you can get someone else to do the work!

September 17, 2012

Just a two minute walk from downtown Hood River takes you to this serene scene of the basin at sunset.

September 16, 2012

At the basin, you don’t need to splash out lots of cash on fancy gear–an inner tube works just fine. Summer is lingering this weekend with a warm, calm Sunday. Get out and play.

September 15, 2012

School has started and the summer people have gone, but locals are still out enjoying the gorgeous weather and having fun.

September 14, 2012

This darling spotty pup had its first SUP ride at our Float In.

September 13, 2012

Tom and Charlotte Bell and their beautiful dogs. We’re tempted to do a week long series of dogs on SUPs. The dogs and owners always seem so happy.

September 12, 2012

It’s more fun when we all share! Come to the Port Public Meeting Tonight 5 pm, Hood River Inn, Columbia Room–tell the Port Commissioners your opinion on keeping the basin available for us all.

September 11, 2012

A short video from Saturday’s Float In. Remember the Port Meeting on Wed. Sept. 12 at 5 pm, Hood River Inn, Columbia Room. Let the port know you support public access. It’s our water, we should get to use it.

September 10, 2012

More from the Float In. . . Hood River locals Ted, Mary-Ethel and Helen cut a fine figure in their elegant wooden canoe. Helen was a competitive rower for 18 years at the masters level. Today she enjoys the more social pleasure of tranquil canoe trips on the basin. She made this beautiful craft herself with help from Ray Klebba at White Salmon Boat Works. If you want to keep the basin open for this kind of activity–come to the Port Commission Public meeting Wed. Sept 12 at 5 pm at the Hood River Inn, Columbia Room.

September 9, 2012

Sooooo FUN! Giant thank yous to the 175 people who came out on Saturday to float for public access at Nichols Basin. Extra big thanks to Nancy, Corie  and Heather for organizing the event. And to Mike for supplying the cold drinks–much appreciated.

September 8, 2012

Do good and have fun at the FLOAT IN today from 12-2 pm. If it floats, bring it! Big Winds and the Kayak School are kindly doing reduced prices on rentals for SUPS and kayaks if you need them.

September 7, 2012

Come to our FLOAT IN Saturday September 8th from noon to 2 p.m at the basin. Bring your board, boat, inner tube or just yourself. The public owns the basin, we should all get to use it.

September 6, 2012

Come to our “Float In” on Saturday from noon to 2. Bring a board, boat, inner tube and show your support of keeping the basin open to us all. These kids demonstrate the simple two-step process for a good time at the basin.

Step One: Launch your craft


Step Two: Have fun.


September 5, 2012


Every Thursday evening this summer Slingshot and the Kayak School did a Stand Up Paddleboard demo night from the dock at the south end of the basin. It was wildly popular and provided an introduction to SUP for hundreds of people.


September 4, 2012


Today we showcase Big Winds, the third local business that currently operates in the basin (Gorge Kayak School and Brian’s Windsurfing are the other two). Big Winds has been a leader in the SUP explosion. They run special programs for women and sponsor a high school team that uses the basin for training. In the summer they offer SUP lessons twice a day and do up to 100 SUP rentals on a busy Saturday.


September 3, 2012

This Canada Goose raised her brood on the basin this spring. The geese are gone now, but heron and other waterbirds are still a frequent sighting. Last weekend, fish were jumping and an osprey spent most of the afternoon in aerial surveillance of the basin.


September 2, 2012

You’ve probably noticed that an awful lot of these photos are of SUPPers–that’s because nearly 50% of the people who use the basin use it for stand up paddleboarding– or sit-down paddleboarding in the case of the folks in the foreground here. SUP has exploded in the past few years transforming the basin from a forgotten bay to a prime recreation area for tourists and locals alike.


September 1, 2012

This is officially the last weekend of summer. All too soon scenes like this one at the basin will be a distant memory. We’ll try to extend the summer a little next Saturday, September 8th with a “Float-In” at Nichols Basin in support of keeping public water available to us all. Bring a board, boat, intertube and show your love for the basin from 12-2.


August 31, 2012

One of the best things about paddling on the basin is how it brings folks together.


August 30, 2012

Mike Stroud lives in Portland but spends most weekends at his home in Hood River which directly overlooks the Boat Basin. He and his daughters have logged many hours there this summer with their SUPs.


August 29, 2012

This photo was taken at 1 pm last Saturday August 25. A great thing about the basin now is that so many different uses can co-exist harmoniously. There are kayakers and SUPs, but also check out the swimmer. This photo just shows the southern end and there are 14 people on the water. Contrast this with the cable park, where 8 riders are the maximum that can be on the water at any one time.


August 28, 2012


Brian’s Windsurfing is one of three businesses that currently operate out of the basin. Because it is out of the wind and current of the main channel of the Columbia, the basin is a good place for beginners to learn the sport.


August 27, 2012


These Mid-Valley Elementary and Wy’east Middle School students enjoyed the second to last weekend of the summer with a paddle on the basin. Get it in while you can kids, school starts all too soon.


August 26, 2012


The parking lot at Slackwater Beach isn’t pretty, but it sure was busy yesterday with folks enjoying one of the last weekends of the summer. Slackwater is the only public access point into the basin and in the last two years it has been transformed into a happening, bustling scene. The weather should be fine today too–so get out and play!


August 25, 2012


Hannah is a frequent weekend visitor to the Gorge. Like many from Portland, she comes here for superb recreation in a beautiful setting. “What an incredible spot! I hope it stays open to the public.”


August 24, 2012


Fishermen use the basin especially in the Spring and early Summer when the water is high. Several listed species of salmon are found in this stretch of the Columbia.


August 23, 2012


We can’t quite resist saying that the beauty of Stand Up Paddleboarding is that “everybody and their dog” can do it. Did you know that SUP is the fastest growing watersport ever? Probably because it has something for everyone, whether your idea of a good time is a hair-raising trip down the rapids of the Hood River or a gentle evening paddle around the basin. Unlike the cable park whose users are 85% young men, SUP is evenly split between male and female users.


August 22, 2012


The Columbia Gorge Kayak School is one of three businesses that operate out of the basin. The school is based at the  dock at the southern end. They use the basin for introductory courses and as the launch point for wonderful guided paddles on the Columbia. You can also rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards there. On a busy day, the school rents out 75 kayaks and SUPs. If the cable park goes in, this business will need to find a new location.


August 21, 2012


No expensive gear required for a delightful afternoon at the basin. Here the key piece of equipment is the floating cooler.


August 20, 2012


While it was certainly inspiring to see the elite athletes at last weekend’s Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, this couple better demonstrates why Stand Up Paddleboarding is the fastest growing water sport–it’s fun for all ages and abilities.  The tranquil water of the Basin is a particularly good place to learn the sport.


August 19, 2012


Kayakers from Wet Planet’s First Descents camp. First Descents is a very cool non-profit organization which makes it possible for young adult cancer fighters and survivors to have fun and learn to kayak for a week, creating a very unique and bonding experience for all involved. They start their instruction at Nichol’s basin before moving onto more challenging rivers.


August 18, 2012


It’s a big SUP weekend with the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge on Saturday and Sunday at Waterfront Park. These CA pros have made the basin home base this week. They’ve added to the fun vibe at Slackwater, even if their idea of a easy afternoon paddle is a trip to Mosier and back.


August 17, 2012


It’s gonna be another hot one! Here’s one way to cope with the dog days of summer. . . Louie likes to take his owner David Mrazek out for a paddle on the basin most evenings.


August 16, 2012


Its a like a scene from a movie, a swarm of wetsuit clad, begoggled men and women descend the hill to Slackwater Beach en masse for their weekly Tri-night swim. The triathletes take a very fast and splashy swim around the entire basin before moving on to the road and bike portions of their training.

August 15, 2012

85 years young last Saturday, Hood River resident Ruthie Blackburn celebrated with a birthday paddle around Nichol’s Basin.