Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

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Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby windstoked » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:40 pm

The Bay Area/Delta has the best winds and waterways for kiting in the country, but we have the worst access. Some of this has to do with different property and access laws for inland waterways from ocean beaches; some of it from a historical lack of desire by the public to access these waterways for water sports other than boating or fishing; some from the new environmental laws. However, we far outnumber most other water users in the areas where the wind blows the best. We deserve designated areas that even include special developments to facilitate safety.
Big taxpayer bucks were spent on that boat launch/dock at Sherman Island, yet I rarely see a boat launched there other than ones used by kiters trying to get away to less crowded launches. I suppose I should just shut up and be happy they give us the used carpets.
When a fisherman decides to throw his line out across the only line kiting out from the Sherman launch, I've watched kiters for hours courteously wade upwind and tack out as steep as possible rather than infringe upon his right to fish there.
We deserve better.
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Re: Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby shred_da_gorge » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:04 am

"Deserving" is one thing, paying for is another entirely. I've heard lots of people say they deserve this or that through the years... are you willing to pony up?
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Re: Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby windstoked » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:58 am

I don't plan to buy my own island, but yes, I'd be willing to pay an extra fee if it covered launch facilities half as expensive as what the boaters at Sherman get.
The kiters I meet are law-abiding tax-paying citizens, and it's not unreasonable for them to expect the government to be responsive rather than constantly fear they'll crack down on them because of inadequate access sites.
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Re: Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby le noun » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:37 am

Not trying to create conflict here, I'm just curious, but I don't really see what you are looking for when you ask for more facilities at sherman.
We have:
_ a beach to launch from (that cove is almost has big as third ave lower launch and without a wind shadow).
_paths to go through the bushes (I think the carpet works quite well, I wouldn't like a dirt path, concrete would get so mush hotter than the carpet, grass seems unrealistic, sand would get blown away).
_parking space (some spots on the coast don't, and some spots in the east bay you'll have parking space, but you'll get your car broken into).
_toilets.
Now we could definitely use a shower, true.
But I'm already surprised we got the opportunity to cut paths through the bushes and carpet the whole place.

The best 3 spots I know in therms of facilities are coyote/alameda/crissy. I just looove the restroom and showers. But in the grand scheme of things, besides those 3 spots, I think Sherman has as much facilities (if not more, thanks to all the guys who have been time and sweat into it for the past 10 years) than any other spots in the bay.

Again, not trying to pick a fight, just curious about your expectations. :wink:
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Re: Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby shred_da_gorge » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:18 am

The facilities that le noun points out at Sherman were developed by the government with inputs from SFBA and RVWA. They were developed with watersports users in mind, but no kite-specific access was created early on because kiteboarding didn't exist. I suppose the first step is to financially support your local clubs, and then become active in going to meetings, writing letters, etc. I say this as a constructive suggestion, mind you, as I haven't been active in these clubs in many many years myself (though probably should be, as well as in CGKA where I kite lots).

http://www.bayareakiteboarding.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9856

... also not trying to pick a fight! ;) T*i*m*e
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Re: Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby windstoked » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:12 am

I agree that getting involved to solve the access problems is important, and I intend to get more involved. I don't want to just be whining, but acknowledging the access problem is the first step, and there is a problem.
1. There is not one viable access point to the bay on the entire North/Northwest side. There's zero access between Benicia and Crissy Field, unless you count Larkspur which is technically restricted. The San Pablo Bay is closer to me in the Sacramento Valley than Sherman, and I often look out wistfully to see white caps and swell on it as I head across Hwy37 to Dillon or Crissy. I explored the Mare Island area in Vallejo (now open to the public) a few years back, but couldn't even find a place to hike in to see the bay.
2. There's not one access point on Grizzly Bay, a huge body of water that gets great wind and swell, and is closer to me than Sherman. There's not one access point to Suisun Bay, and not one on Honker Bay either.
3. The (very) few launches in the areas with decent reliable wind are mostly Class 3-4 and inappropriate for less advanced kiters. They can even be challenging for experienced kiters, especially when you crowd a lot of kiters/swimmers/fishermen into the mix.
As to what I mean by facility improvements, I mean changes in launching areas and ingress/egress areas to make them safer and better able to handle the growing numbers of kiters. I'll go into details in another thread.
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Re: Kiters Ain't Got No Clout

Postby turbinedude » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:57 am

Does anyone know what regulations apply to inflatable inner tubes?
One thought would be to create a floating island stations that people could swim to if they have to do a self-rescue. It would be large enough to get out of the water, anchor your kite, manage & pack away equipment. It then would feature a kayak for paddling back in.
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