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I'm an intermediate rider moved recently from Washington DC to the east bay. I am trying to familiarize myself with the locations and conditions, but I didn't make it to the bay just yet. I know that Sherman Island and 3rd Avenue would probably be the places to check out, but I didn't have time to get there yet.
I'll be going to the Berkeley marina on Sunday, and in the past I saw kites on the bay somewhere there. I checked what the accesses would be around there and I saw Pt Emery is probably the one I am seeing. I also looked at the forecast for sunday and it didn't look that great -- 14mph in the afternoon.
Am I looking at the right spots and forecast, or are there other resources I should check out?
If 3rd's too far then I guess you could try Alameda. Winds more picky but recently they've had 'ok' wind. Look for crown beach
As for weather links. I think iwindsurf.com has some stuff on it
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Almost everyone here uses a paid subscription to the website www.ikitesurf.com You can sign up for a free trial membership to fully access the site.
Today (Sunday) looks good aorund the bay - wind is generally "on" at 3pm for all sites.
I'd probably reccomend you head to 3rd Avenue first, which is really consistent and also a more intermediate level place than Berkeley.
You are right that Pt. Emery is one of the launches for Berkeley - but it's one of the trickiest and most dangerous launches in the bay. There is generally a bubble over the launch site, the site is small and if you screw up you end up in a rock wall or hucked onto the 580 freeway. Seek local advice if you decide to go there before launching.
The other place to launch for riding Berkeley is at a small beach just north of Golden Gate Fields (the horse race track). You actually get to it via the large parking lot along the bay at the racetrack. Again, the beach is kind of small and you need to quickly tack upwind to get out into the goods. Berkeley (either launch site) is directly onshore wind - hence why it is an advanced spot.
Alameda is our easiest place, long sandy beach with side/on wind - but it rarely gets excellent wind except for in the springtime.
Have fun, and be sure to talk to locals wherever you go, before you rig and launch. You'll find people here very helpful if you approach them. But be reasonable in your skill level vs. places you ride - access can always be taken away from everyone if an accident occurs due to someone pushing their limits at an advanced spot. You don't want to be that person.
Welcome to the bay area, we are pretty spoiled here for sites and wind.
The spit at Pt. Emery is a bit of a tricky launch, especially at higher tides. Immediately to the North of the launch is a rocky outcropping you have to get upwind of. It's pretty much send the kite, edge and ride upwind. There isn't much time for anything else on the very first tack.
In addition, when you send your kite that first time, it will be VERY near if not over the frontage road, where there is plenty of car, bike and pedestrian traffic.
If that's not bad enough, Hwy 80 is another few hundred feet downwind. If you had to punch out, it'd get really ugly with kites and lines combing with vehicles at high speeds.
If you want something *a little* less gnarly, I recommend the big parking lot/little beach behind the Golden Gate Fields racetrack. It's a couple of miles North, at the end of Gilman Street. Drive up and over the hill behind the race track (you may have to pay for parking if horses are racing).
Here you'll also need to be able to go upwind pretty immediately and there may be people and dogs on the beach, so dive your kite carefully when you're near shore.
Thanks guys! The info about Emery point was very helpful.
I stayed away from Pt Emery on sunday, and I did go check out Alameda. Alameda has indeed a nice sandy beach, but there was no wind. I'll probably keep an eye on that for windier days since it's close to me.
I'll try Sherman island next weekend if the forecast looks good. Any maps/resources on how to get to the launches?
As far as intermediate riders go, there is really only one place to launch kites at Sherman Island:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= ... 94571&z=13
Follow West Sherman Island Road ALL the way to the end where you'll find a big parking lot with a bunch of RV's, a boat ramp and pesky kiteboarders (grin). It's identified as "Sandy Beach Park" on the Google map link above. More details on ikitesurf.com if you have access.
Ask around, someone will show you the launch.
My unsolicited advice:
Rig your kite/lines all the way down on the beach, not in the large dirt/grass area near the picnic shelter/structure. There are some carpet pieces there to set your kite on.
I like to spend as little time on land with my kite in the air as possible. Some folks like to launch their kites near the picnic structure and walk the 100 yards to the water with their kites overhead. I think it's safer to launch/land closer to the water...
Thanks for the info, I think I can find it now. I have a paid ikitesurf membership, but I've only used it to get conditions and forecast. I looked around for a bit for information on launch areas and directions, but couldn't find any. Should I search on the forums, or is it better located?
Thanks for the advice, i'm new in the area (although not to the sport), so any help from the local helps
I don't like walking with the kite on land, so i'll definitely launch on or close to the water.
Try navigating to the sensor/site, and clicking the "Local Info" link on the left hand menu.
Thanks, got it! Looks great!
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