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Another newbie question... okay so it will be another month or two before I even take my first lesson but I just got trainer kite. Anyways I was wondering how the locations around SF are for kiteboarding such as Crissy Fields or 3rd Street. Would a beginner be able to launch/handle it there (after taking lessons of course)? Also is Ocean Beach suitable? Having no car will make it challenge to get to locations over in the east bay and just wanted to know if I could just do it here in my own backyard.
The short answer is no, all spots in SF are not beginner friendly.
Ocean Beach - forget it, the waves are nasty and the wind is typically onshore. This is really an expert only place to kite.
Crissy usually has very lite and gusty winds near shore and much stronger winds outside. Boat traffic and strong currents can be killer here. However, if you talk to the Crissy crew, most of them learned how to kite here. The key is that you need to have a buddy who will keep an eye on you and when you get blown downwind, will be waiting to rescue you and your kite from the rocks. I am not recommending that you learn here, but people have learned to kite here so it can be done.
3rd Street? Do you mean 3rd Ave? That is in the Peninsula by the San Mateo bridge. This probaby the next most beginner friendly place after Alameda.
Alameda is obviously your best bet but windy days are few and far between. Another good option is to go to Sherman Island and have one of the kite schools take you on their jet skis about 1 mile up wind and do a downwinder. The key to learning is having good wind and this gives you a chance to get some practice with little danger in a windy spot.
Even after a few lessons, it's best to spend some time at a location such as Alameda to really become familiar and confident with your kite. Self-rescue and upwind skilles are needed before kiting at most Bay Area locations.
You can find complete and updated info on lessons as well as various riding locations on the main site at www.bayareakiteboarding.com.
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