Outfound Series Hood River Event

July 2017 | by Ryan Brusca

The Outdoor Experience - For every one of us, this experience means something different, something unique. The Outfound Series aims to capture the mosaic that makes up the outdoor community, and it celebrates the love for outdoors in Hood River, OR; an outdoor sports haven along the Columbia River. Outfound brings together passionate and aspiring adventurers, outdoor entrepreneurs and nature advocates to share their knowledge and experiences in all facets of the outdoors industry.


The Speaker Series featured a collection of prominent industry figures sharing their stories and vision. My personal favorite featured Mark Healy, a professional surfer and marine conservationist, who shared the story of his upcoming in big wave surfing and beyond. He provided the most inspirational quote I heard that weekend: “I’ve met enough of my heroes to realize we are all human.” Mark was pure inspiration, and represented the enthusiasts at the Outfound Series. The entrepreneur and nature advocates had their time on stage as well, and there was plenty to be learned, from the startup of fledgling businesses to education of the nation’s children of nature priorities and conservation. At night, the stage featured live music and a film series.


The Van Life Village featured a collection of mobile headquarters decked out in unique ways, each highlighting the individual that captained the vehicle. Several vans were setup in an open setting, allowing for attendees to tour the living spaces of nomads from varying backgrounds. During the festival, knowledge and experiences were swapped in a round table setting within the Van Life Village. Secrets of the trade were shared to the benefit of aspiring travelers, and each person was enthused to share what they have learned over the years.


A special presentation by the couple that makes up the blog Where’s My Office Now gathered eager listeners and offered tips and tricks, from battery usage, to building followers for financial use and minimizing your necessities. Solar panels, insurance tips, refrigeration necessities and more. There was no end to the advice that was shared. A large part of the discussion was centered on the current surge in interest for van life and how popular this life style had become. It appears that the new American Dream really is Van Life, and people are eager to learn the best ways to sustain this lifestyle. The most successful show true innovation in their methods, and creativity in how they accomplish their nomadic dreams.


Summer board sports were fully represented at the Outfound Series, with a skate park, paddle boarders braving the Columbia River and wind surfers capturing powerful gusts. The skate park had the occasional skateboarder launching from ramps, while the wind surfers launched into wild spins overhead. From the Bamboo Village, one could gaze out over the waters and watch gravity defied.


The essence of this festival was to capture passion for the outdoors from a variety of perspectives. There were voices from all over represented, and the small details showed a true love for every niche of the industry, which had its positives and negatives. Despite the passion that was in attendance, each niche had trouble flowing with the others, giving a broken feel to what was truly a beautiful event from so many angles. For myself, I learned so much about corners of the outdoors that I hadn’t previously known. I’m already planning my first wind surfing lessons, and I’ve developed a deep interest in Van Life and the freedom its supporters ooze. With more time, the Outfound Series will attract more followers and expand its influence to several levels of outdoor enthusiasts.


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