Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

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Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby Tony Soprano » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:53 pm

The season is pretty much over now, especially for beginners. It's more or less March thru October. The experts might get in a few more sessions over the fall and winter, but wind conditions tend to be trickier and less reliable. All frontal and clearing storm wind for the next five months. The end of the season really just means the wind becomes more unpredictable.The wind we do get tends to be pre-frontal storm generated wind from the South and post storm"clearing" North West winds. We also occasionally get wind that blows from the E or NE wind.These winds tend to be gusty and intense at most bay spots.A good rule of thumb to follow for safe sailing is the "100 degree rule." This means the air temperature plus the water temperature should be greater than or equal to 100 degrees F to be sailed comfortably. One of the biggest things you have to watch out for in cold water sailing is hypothermia. Hypothermia is a general cooling of the entire body. The inner core of the body is chilled so the body cannot generate heat to stay warm. In cold conditions, your body will concentrate keeping your torso warm and put less on emphasis getting blood to your extremities. Water conducts heat away from our bodies 25 times faster than air.If you are chasing winter winds to sail and are unfamiliar with that location ask the locals and do not sail alone.

NOR CAL SESSIONS: Winter Kiting in the SF Bay Area
By Jonathan Buys
Originally Published in the February 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine
Every fall, we set our clocks back one hour, and this officially ends the summer kitesurfing season in the San Francisco Bay area. The summer pressure gradients that churn out steady northwest winds for the Delta, Alameda, Third Avenue, Crissy Field, Waddell and other coastal spots start to fade making most days light wind, with the exception of when storms roll through. The wind during storms usually blows from the south, and often storms are cleared by a strong northwest wind. Southerly storm wind is hard to predict and can be extremely gusty, making it more appropriate for advanced riders.
Most kiters put their equipment away till the next summer and reintroduce themselves to their non-kiting friends and family, while a few head to Baja for the winter or some exotic kite vacation. But a core group of San Francisco kiters look to fall, winter and spring as a time for a different kiting experience, where big waves and wild winds at a number of key spots make for some of the best kiting of the year.
In October, Crissy Field in the heart of San Francisco will turn out a few days to bring a smile to every rider’s face. The big swells hit the Northern California coast and Fort Point under the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge will start to break, offering ride-able waves and huge ebb tides of up to 5 mph. With many of the other Bay Area spots shut down, new faces show up in the Crissy Field car park. Crissy Field offers great kiting but it also is very unforgiving. The wind on the inside close to the launch area can completely shut down, and swimming the last 400 feet is not uncommon. Local knowledge of the tides is key. In a big flood tide, try to make it to “Last Chance Beach,” just below the St. Francis Yacht Club. The ebb tide can be scarier, as there is a chance you may get washed outside the Golden Gate Bridge into open ocean.
Your best option is to try make it inside the old lifeguard station pier below Fort Point, or hope the Coast Guard picks you up, which leads to the “drop-off of shame” at Crissy Field beach. Other hazards at Fort Point include big wind holes below the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge and inside Fort Point, and surfers who are not very happy to see kitesufers riding “their” waves. Once winter really sets in, the winds at Crissy Field blow out of the north, offering a completely different riding experience. North winds typically blow steadily between 15 to 18 knots, and kiters ride up and down the city front from Crissy Field to the old lifeguard station, with their kites sweeping the beach.
Fall and winter kiting on the coast is also very exciting when big winter swells coincide with windy days. On northwest clearing winds, most of the Northern California beaches work, but the main spots are Ocean Beach in the city and Waddell on the coast. Winter wave kiting is not for the faint of heart where double overhead waves often hit. Ultimately, a good winter wave session in Northern California might offer one windy day a week for experienced kiters, while presenting a challenge for new kiters trying to find a safe and constructive learning session.
Remember that gear may be able to get beginner and intermediate kiters out into conditions well over their heads, and reliance on public rescue assets may ultimately affect both beach access and kiting privileges. Make sure your ability and equipment are up to the challenge as swimming in is not a pleasant option in big swell and you may find yourself swept downwind with no beach access.
San Francisco also offers two flat water winter kiting spots at the Half Moon Bay Harbor and Alameda. Both are storm weather spots, and can serve up great sessions but also a wild ride and erratic winds. Half Moon Bay harbor works great on a south wind but riders must be aware of moored boats and the jetty wind shadow. Riders should also stay on the Mavericks side of the harbor, as it is more spacious and there’s beach downwind. Alameda is another south wind spot, where south winds cross 13-miles of bay water generating three-foot chop combined with potentially strong and gusty onshore conditions, better suited for experienced riders. Here, riders need to kite with extreme caution and keep looking towards San Francisco, because the fronts sweep in from this direction and winds can go from a manageable 25 knots to a scary 40 knots or more in less than 5 minutes. Even experienced local kiters prefer to dump their small kites and swim in rather than navigate the beach with such erratic winds.
When kiting in fronts, know your weather, always err on the side of safety and come in as soon as you see bad weather approaching. IKitesurf.com, Surfline, Surfpulse, and NOAA are all great resources for winter wind and surf conditions for the Bay Area. Many times, kitesurfing in the winter is a mid-morning affair with a small window of opportunity. Waiting for the afternoon session like in the summer can often mean no session at all. Don’t discount the kitesurfing opportunities in San Francisco from October through March. One good session in the fall or winter can feel like ten in the summer.
Last edited by Tony Soprano on Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby Tony Soprano » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:46 am

Bump
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby ozreiuosn » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:17 am

Can we PIN this post actually?
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby Yoda » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:14 pm

When the Bay season comes to an end, the Valley season is just beginning.
What to do on N wind days...
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13290

Folsom is a really good option and can receive quality wind in the fall months. It's usually not the gusty and shifty stuff that can occur in the Bay. I'm not saying that there's not gusty or unsafe wind days too, buy it's just more rare. Generally it's 10-12m conditions at Folsom with some occasional and usually amazing 7-9m days mixed in.
If you're a foilboarder, you're going to find it heaven! Twintip riders can find some "butter" spots for awesome freestyle conditions and even those on surfboards can find small lake swells to slash and air off.
Folsom can also be a great area for kite landboarding (KGB). There's lots of terrain to play on, especially when the lake gets lower.

Thermalito Aftebay is another good inland option, but it's a bit farther away. See above link for more details.

Edit: Folsom's water level is currently just under 450' and is 73*. Windy days keep most boaters away. Thermalito barely fluctuates enough both in water level and temp and is not impacted by motor boats, so nothing to post. Just know that Thermalito is around the high 40's-50* range, so it's COLD!
The other news is there's now a Folsom sensor on iKitesurf (Folsom Dam-Folsom Point) that can be somewhat useful. The secret is knowing it's behavior. The first thing to know is the wind direction arrow is showing 180* reversed of what the wind is blowing. Second thing to know is the sensor will show single digits up to 10. After 10 it goes in increments of 12, 17, 25, and 50. I have seen an 11 and 16 occasionally, so there may be small glitch from time to time. I've found the following:
8-10=Foilboarding and/or big kites and lightwind boards.
12=very good chance of kiting, but most likely light winds.
17=definately kiting
25=big smile or survival kiting
50=beer time
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby AleAstone » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:25 pm

Hi all,

I'll be visiting SF for the next three weeks, and have my kite gear with me (8mt and 11mt).

I was looking at weather forecast for this weekend, but it seems to be very light wind. Maybe Ocean Beach could be doable on Saturday or Sunday.

Any suggestions from local kiters on where to go/where to check for the week end?

Many thanks, hope to see you on the water!

Ale
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby nathaniel_e » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:58 am

OB isnt very windy this time of the year outside of some very few days. The swell is also really kicking in to easily triple over head.
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby AleAstone » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:31 pm

nathaniel_e wrote:OB isnt very windy this time of the year outside of some very few days. The swell is also really kicking in to easily triple over head.


Thanks a lot Nathan!

Is there any other alternative place I should take an eye on in the bay or on the coast?

Many thanks!

Ale
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby le noun » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:32 am

AleAstone wrote:
nathaniel_e wrote:OB isnt very windy this time of the year outside of some very few days. The swell is also really kicking in to easily triple over head.


Thanks a lot Nathan!

Is there any other alternative place I should take an eye on in the bay or on the coast?

Many thanks!

Ale

this week looks like no kiting but surfing. If you're lucky: in the next couple of weeks maybe some rain that would bring south winds. Like mentioned at the beginning of this post, it's not for the unexperienced kiters: wind gets gusty, up and down and kind of all over the place, BUT it's the only wind we get over the winter.
In that scenario, places like alameda, marina bay or half moon bay (at the princeton harbor) are your best bets. You'll have to be at the right place at the right time and that takes knowledge and a bit of luck.

bottom line is: go surfing.
Kites: 2018 F-One Bandit: 8m and 11m.
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Re: Winter kiteboarding San Francisco

Postby liv2kitesurf » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:32 pm

Looks like 3rd Ave was kiteable today. Occasional sessions to be had this time of year.
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