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Hey all first time posting. Gotta commend you on the network you've managed to create. There's so much great info on this board it's really helped me get into the sport so far. I've been kiting for about 2 months now and love every minute of it. I learned with Kite 415 near SFO, but on my own in the bay I've only kited at Alameda. I've heard mixed opinions about the forecast there. Assuming the season is near an end, is 3rd too big of a step to take? If it is, any suggestions for an alternative?
As of today, I'm up on the board and riding in both directions, but still working on staying upwind. I'm relatively comfortable with self-rescuing (as in I've only had to pull the release when I realize I'm too far down wind and the wind dipped enough that I can't relaunch, but never done it in a pressured situation). For gear, I have an 11m and a small twin tip (I'm 5'9 160).
Any input would be greatly appreciated and I look forward to seeing you out there!
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ready for Sherman you are also
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I would say if you're unable to stay upwind, but think you can get there in one session, then ready for third you are. Otherwise your brand new kite may wash up against the sharp rocks. (it happened to me when I was learning. twice)
Use the upper launch, and if you can't stay upwind, land at the lower launch before it's too late.
A downwinder at Sherman (talk to Nat) may be a better way to get lots of time on the water trying to learn to stay upwind.
Keith has a great point - I would do Sherman downwinder first and I bet by the end of the downwinder you'll be able to stay upwind or at least not lose ground when you want to...
Then you'll have the confidence to go out at 3rd on a well powered day and not having to mess around with a self-rescue to get into the lower launch
Agreed - Sherman downwinder.
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3rd Avenue was where I learned to ride upwind, after learning at Alameda.
I did end up getting blown into the rocks twice, rats nest of lines and a kite that luckily escaped being torn up - which sucked. But that gives you super motivation to learn to ride upwind.
Best advice I got while I was learning to ride upwind at 3rd was to launch at the upper launch, ride back and forth picking a visual reference on shore to ride back to each time. Like in any sport, you will go where your eyes go. Your key visual reference is the white flag along the bike path. If you find yourself getting pushed downwind and past that white flag, then ride into the lower beach right away and walk back up and try again. But be sure to ride into the lower beach and don;t try to push your luck thinking "one more tack out and I get get upwind past the flag", it can be deceiving and that's when you end up in the rocks.
Wear a helmet.
The sherman downwinder with Nat is also a great way to get tons of time onthe water with loads of downwind play room.
Have fun and focus, it;s a fun part of the learning curve.
I started about this time last season and had the exact same experience, lots of great info here and plenty of helpful kooks out at the sites to talk to
I did 3 days of lessons with wowkites and by last day I could get up and ride. Got lucky with some wind at Alameda, about 3 days on my own. Walked quite a bit back up beach but finally got upwind. Having a 13M made this much easier as I was very inefficient flying the kite in light winds.
Then went to 3rd Ave out at Upper Launch and had to self rescue at lower launch due to light winds and, honestly, me. Went to Sherman and got freaked out by the launch (you walk through a path to the water?) but got out on an EBB (very important) and stayed upwind. Then to Racetrack, then to Berkelely, then to Marina Bay, then to Toll Plaza (because I didn't know it existed).
Toll Plaza is a good spot to start out as well, its shallow, got an Alameda type beach and if you get sucked downwind you can walk back or drop your kite and walk back. Its not always filled in, but when it is it is.
I'm sure there are plenty here who will take me to task on this, but 3rd Avenue isn't most friendly of spots (neither is Sherman Island) in terms of landing zones for kites. There aren't large areas to land kites and the consequences of doing so badly can be, at the least, expensive to your gear and at the worst, dangerous to you. If you miss the lower landing zone at 3rd, all you get is a bunch of rocks to try to land on/in. That plus the main landing zone at the lower launch (where you'll end up when you're learning to stay upwind) usually has super flukey winds - so as you're trying to get yourself back into land your kite, it will want to fall out of the sky and do weird stuff. Yuk.
If you go to 3rd Ave., go find Sonny - he drives a purple Dodge truck with license plate: "SSWORDS". He's a great resource for new kiters at 3rd and will help point out the things to avoid.
Otherwise, I'd recommend Bodega Harbor for a user-friendly beginner spot. It's shallow (wear booties - the clams in the sand will cut you up) and there is plenty of room to launch and land kites. Mind the tides though - at low(er) tides, there won't be enough water to ride. Here's a more info on that site:
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