Alameda Launch Location: Good or Bad?

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Postby Bob » Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:58 pm

One simple rearrangement might prove a compromise.

The big bush just upwind of the shack could be split and half of it replanted in two clumps down wind of the freshly painted park bench. This would serve two functions.
First: It would create more space upwind for storage of kites.
Second (and perhaps more importantly): It would create a physical buffer from the pedestrian walkway for runaway kites.
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Postby charlie » Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:49 pm

o nice bob
thank goodness you have big... feet...?
and beckie boo(Rebecca) said to think about kite patrol people.
ive seen this in roller skateing , skiing, and windsurfing ...so now maybe kiteing?.... i like it .
we might want to take up Rebeccas point and get together to talk about it ?
she said something about burning meat and stuff!
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Postby Rebecca » Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:26 pm

Everyone,

I've talked to the park about the bush. They are not opposed to taking the bush down...but they aren't psyched about re-planting it. If it's a matter of cost to replant it, then maybe we can take up a collection and use some SFBA funds to move the bush. Sounds like a great idea to me...but I will need some help.

Everyone who want to take part in improving the current launch area, please stop by the shack this weekend. I'll have a sign up sheet with names, numbers, and email address. If you can't stop by Alameda this week, please email me at: boardsportslessons@sbcglobal.net. I'll coordinate a night where we can "burn some meat and stuff." I would love some volunteers to help keep the launch/land area running smoothly. Image how few accidents would happen if we have dedicated volunteers around to help newbies! The more volunteers we have, the fewer kiters will be out of control. Additionally, the more "great" kiters we have setting examples of not beach jumping, self landing and jumping so close the beach, the fewer newbies that will try to do the same.

I know the park would be psyched as well.

Thanks,
-Rebecca - Boardsports Shack
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Postby mike_s » Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:40 am

I have to say it pains me to read threads like this.....

we've just spent the last 3 years trying to not get banned by the authorities at my local spot back home. And to some extent they were probably right to be concerned......people jumping too close to the beach, chaos on the beach......along with multiple, serious accidents.... etc (sound familiar!!!!!)

The final straw that actually got us banned was 2 serious accidents....we were all forced to migrate to an unsafe launch further up the coast and a buddy of ours was promptly killed in a kiting accident there.

The good news is that we were able to turn things around there.....and it was all about successful self policing of the beach. We took the decision to set up a local club with membership fees for all regular locals....we "signed" and "coned" the beach down to the shoreline.......we have the added advantage of a sand bar a couple of hundred yards out to sea, and try to enforce it as a "no trick zone"....buoys would work though.....

we gave out club rashies to the members. This means any "out of towners" or newbies can be spotted the moment they step onto the beach and can be approached and told the rules (in a nice and encouraging way!)....a newbie will get a handful of members descend on them to help out and give advice (and it's amazing how many join up to the club there and then so they don't stand out in the crowd!).

As more and more people join (we now have 200 members)....it means there's always someone on the beach policing things.......anyone who mistakenly messes up gets helped out......anyone being an idiot gets so much grief from the regulars they soon stop or leave.

The authorities now actively encourage kiters into the area.....they now zone the beach themselves....giving kiters/swimmers/polesurfers seperate areas.

its not that difficult, but having seen Alameda so far this season, I'm waiting for the thread on here that starts with some seriously bad news.....

having said all that, its good to be reading about the sensible and proactive ideas.

heres to a windy weekend
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Postby OliverG » Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:48 am

Mike_s,

Wow! You're post is really getting to the meat of it all. I'm glad to hear that you've turned things around and have been met with success after everything that's happened at your local spot in the last 3 years.

What you've done by setting up a membership roster sounds successful. I wonder if it would work here. Trivial membership dues would go a long way to help fund rashies, buoys, safety events, etc.

I wonder if something like that can work here. There is quite a fragmented kiting community here in the Bay Area and it would be a challenge to try and bring them all together. Actually, it has been a challenge as that's what we've been trying to do here for some time now.

I hope it doesn't take a major event such as another serious injury or a death to make things happen.

Sensible and proactive ideas and actions will do the trick, but what does it take to get community cooperation and to implement these ideas and actions?

Perhaps a membership-based community?
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Postby kitechick » Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:55 am

Here is another thought...how about just exchanging launch and stacking area? Stack the kites in front of the shack and launch where now the kites are stacked. That area could also be a bit redesigned (like move part of that bush towards the shack to protect that BBQ area even more and dig a bit off the sandbank.

That would keep the launch close enough to the shack to still have the atention of the experienced kiters who could have an eye on the scene.

The advanatage would be to get the launching kiters away from the bikepath and the road with still being close to the shack. It also makes it much easier and possible to launch towards the water, there is more space. That is important for folks who launch unhooked or bring their kites to fast up and overhead (newbies). And the trees are a nice buffer for out of control kites.


The downside is that naturally the life happens in front of the shack and not so much on the backside and there would be less attention. Since Yuri put up the bench there are however more people on that side of the shack.
And another important issue: If a launch goes wrong there are hard objects: The shack, the shower, trees. Not sure how that plays out, we would need to do some experiments.


Oh - and one more thing: Thank you Rebecca and Jane, thank you so much! You girls are doing an awesome jopb in keeping the beach organized and safe. Without you and your engagement that place would be just chaos. Count me in for what ever kind of help you need. See you at the beach :-)
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Postby mike_s » Sat Jun 11, 2005 6:20 pm

....we don't actually have a roster of people looking after the beach, just that with everyone joining the club and wearing the club rashie, there is always a club member around who takes it on themselves to make sure everything is running smoothly at any time they're on the beach.......this way no one's responsible as such and everyone gets to kite.......I would say that 95% of people kiting on any one day now, wear the rashie, and its easy to look out for the newbies.

I'm not saying this is the solution for Alameda, I guess my point was just to show that chaos needn't reign if the majority of locals are sensible, set an example and watch out for others......the wreckless minority will either fit in or get driven out.....

anyway I sound like I'm preaching, so I'll shut up......
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Postby Rebecca » Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:45 pm

Hey Everyone,

Well, I got 3 kiters to proactively volunteer to help out in the efforts. Since there was no wind in Alameda this afternoon :-( I walked around and got another 6 people who will considered helping.

On Monday/Tuesday, I'll contact everyone for a brainstorming ideas. A number have been presented. I'm still not too psyched about launching where the parking lot area for two reasons. 1) Kiters will now be hitting objects (the shack, the showers, the wood/hose spiget. 2) The other is that we actually do have a lot of windsurfing renters and students (I know, I know you kiters think it's just kite beach ;-)) who need some space to launch and land from. As it now stands, I try to have them walk up wind of the launch area . If we switch it, we'll have newbies taking out windsurfers and that's the same as taking out the public.

As far as the school zone, we'll have to look for an alternate place to teach. Give us a week or two to have the signs made and the cones made. Also keep in mind that the school zone for kiting and windsurfing used to be the entire launch area (so the launch zone is actually taking up the school zone, not vice versa). That said, we'll work on an alternate location for the kite zone, but we can't relocate all of our windsurfing instruction elsewhere (Unless we can physically move the shack up wind).

Please keep encouraging others to email us or sign up for this committee. I know that we can accomplish a lot.

See you at the beach (and pray for wind),
-Rebecca - Boardsports Shack.
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Postby clints » Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:50 pm

I like the idea of membership-based community. We need money to make improvements as proposed by mike_s and I would gladly pay the membership and also volunteer my time.

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Postby OliverG » Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:57 pm

While at work today, I thought about this issue some, and we already have the SFBA, which I value and feel is an important resource. I know that kiters have been included and represented in recent events and meetings, and that there have been some improvements at 3rd Ave as a result of SFBA participation, but the potential can be much greater.

There are a lot of sites in the Bay, and a lot of kiters. The need for community, improvements and safety awareness and events will only increase as time goes by.

Perhaps we can start a kiter-specific branch with membership dues that operates under the blanket, or stewardship of the SFBA. Funds can be appropriated to kiter-specific issues paid for by kiter memberships.

It's an idea and if the SFBA is willing to take this on as a member split, so to speak, I think it will increase membership quite a bit. At recent events, I've seen an obvious split between windsurfers and kiteboarders, so why not embrace this and use it to everyone's advantage?
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