Information about San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding locations and guidelines.
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Here is some general info for those who aren't regulars at Folsom Lake. The ikite wind sensor works pretty well for a north wind until it gets into the 20s. If you a see a reading in the 20s it could be anywhere in the 20s or 30s. For a south wind, you'll need to add about 5mph to the reading in general.
Folsom Point - launch here on a north wind day. When you enter the park, stay to the right and follow the road all the way to the dead end. These north wind days are usually warm and sunny (except in the dead of winter) and the wind can nuke.
It will be a little further walk down to the water for sure, but this gives a little extra room for self landing in the wind shadow if necessary. The normal butter water pond is pretty much gone with the low water but... there is now a peninsula sticking out eastward at the water line now. This will make for some great butter water further out in the good wind area without having to worry about dropping your kite in the shadow. I think it will be an excellent spot to take photos and video. One thing, I wouldn't boost huge air or pull a giant kite loop in there as there is another peninsula about 100 yards downwind. There are also some other exposed islands further out that might be fun to explore.
Granite Bay - launch here on a south wind day. This is usually prefrontal wind and can be a bit cloudy, gusty and even rainy. When you enter the park, turn right at the first stop sign and then turn right again at the tee which will take you to the 5% launch. Kiting will be upwind of the boat ramp area. There is lots of exposed beach at this launch. The further you walk form your car, the more open water you'll have. There are likely to be boulders just under the water so be observant.
Team rider for Sheldon Kiteboarding and North
Great Photo Kevin... really shows the power of a kite... (and your power over your son)
Yes I (we) hope to see you at Folsom this season (or off season as it were)
The only thing to consider is, by the time you drive here the wind could change / die so choose your days wisely...
Hope you got some this weekend...
Rich "ATOM" Baum
I am new to the North California/Sacramento area and to kite boarding.
I live 15 mins from Folsom Lake. I haven't seen many updates about this location or people talking about it other then a few mentions.
Based on the data I can see it looks to be a lighter wind area with a few good days scattered about.
Do people still kite here?
Is it still okay with the parks?
Is this area decent for a beginner?
Is there anyone or group that actively kites here that are welcoming new people?
Welcome to Sacramento and Folsom! Here are the answers to your questions:
1) Yes! We have a dedicated group of kiters that frequent the lake often. On N wind days (like this last weekend) we were out at Folsom Point. On S wind days we move up to Granite Bay/5% beach for the better/safer wind direction.
2) The park rangers love us! Most of us have season passes (kiters and windsurfers). We have phone #s that we can use for both 911 and non911 park-related emergencies, so if anyone has a "minor" problem, we don't end up getting firetrucks, EMTs, and the media responding unless necessary. The rangers have also assisted with shortening the trip back for those kiters doing the walk-of-shame and often keep an eye on us when riding during stormy weather.
3) The area can be ok for a beginner depending on the water level and wind conditions. The rocky shoreline can eat kites that fall out of the sky or drift to shore, so that's the most common issue I see for beginners. Depending on the spot, if you go down or get caught downwind, you're going have a long swim and/or walk-of-shame back to the launch. I'd avoid strong wind days since it can get gnarly out there.
4) If you're on FaceBook, look up S.A.K. (Sacramento Area Kiteboarding) and join the group. Several of us post on there with beta on forecasts, wind sensors, onsite reports, etc.
I will look into the Facebook group.
Great to know the Park is cool with kiting. I have heard this area in general has great people outdoor activities.
What is the typical wind range for these spots?
I saw this past weekend was in the high teens with gusts in the twenties.
Also what is the water like?
I have only been to the lake once a few years ago, while visiting the area in the winter time.
Both spots can generally have the same wind ranges. Most common are winds from 8-18mph. When it's good is when it's 19-28mph imo. When it gets over 30mph, it can be fun still, but it's more ideal for advanced riders with small kites. It rarely blows over 30mph though.
Water temps are generally cold (46*-60*), so most wear a 4/3 or 5/4 with hoods, booties, and maybe gloves. Some of us also wear drysuits in the winter mainly for added convenience and comfort. On the VERY rare summer days, I've been out with only board shorts as the water temp can be nearly 80*. Right now the water temp is 68*, so it's getting nice!
Water quality is really nice too as it's all snow melt run-off coming out of the N and S Forks of the American River.
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