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First Ever Kiteboard Crossing
Farallon Islands to San Francisco
San Francisco, CA ó On Sunday May 23, Chip Wasson (Treasure Island, CA) Steve Gibson (Mountain View, CA) and Jeff Kafka (Pacifica, CA) completed the 28 mile crossing from the South East Farallon Island through the Golden Gate Bridge landing in San Francisco at Crissy Field, each riding a 4 foot board and powered solely by kites. Landing on the islands is prohibited so riders had a support team of two boats with a crew of experienced kiteboarders to create the right conditions for an open ocean launch in the Shark-infested waters. ìOur primary challenge was getting the kites rigged and launched from the boats in the windy, choppy conditions. Once all 3 launches came off with out a hitch we knew we had a pretty good shot at completing the crossingî said Chip Wasson, 38, President of UltraNectar, the leading supplier of Contemporary Motion Sports clothing and lifestyle gear.
The Northwest winds averaged between 12-28 MPH as the riders rode downwind from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge, completing the journey in exactly 2 hours. Jeff Kafka, 30, a Technician with SBC said ìThe conditions were really ideal so the ride itself went by quickly; we picked a great day to do thisî
Kiteboarders have completed other major crossings from Catalina Island to Long Beach CA and from Florida to Cuba but the Farallon Islands present a unique set of challenges since riders can not land on the islands and because of the reputation as a shark breeding ground. Trip coordinator, Steve Gibson, 42, Director of Strategic Development at VeriSign and owner of Kiter.com commented, ìWe probably could have used more time to prepare, but based on the wind, currents and shark migration patterns we knew we had a narrow window to hit so we decided to go for it. Sharks were definitely a consideration, but sharks canít fly and kiteboarders canî
Boat support included a 22-foot Boston Whaler with a single Evinrude 225 hp motor, piloted by Kevin Gorman, co-founder of UltraNectar. Tim Wells owner of a full service yacht company was captain of a 28-foot Protector with Twin Yamaha 115 hp outboard motors.
Gabe Brown, editor of Kiteboarding Magazine provided consultation for the crossing and media coverage that will appear in an upcoming issue. Ian Boyd, President of Cosmic Planet and a former pro-windsurfer is creating a video documentary on the expedition.
Links for the members of the crossing team:
Kiter.com action sports marketing
Cosmic Planet Interactive
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That article was from last years crossing. We got really lucky with perfect conditions. No wind in the morning, fishing until about 1 and then prepping for the journey as the wind started to get above 10mph. All launches went clean from the boats just 200 yards off the islands. The wind never really got above 15mph until we got within a mile or so of the bridge...then it was nuking.
This year we tried the journey from Point Reyes out to the farallones and back and it was a whole different story...30 -40 mph winds and huge seas. Read all about it in the OCT/NOV issue of Kiteboarding Magazine.
sometimes Gary Bronson...
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