Information about San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding locations and guidelines.
I believe that is known as Racetrack. I don't see an entry in the Location forum for it, but it you search for Racetrack on this site, you'll find some good info.
Naish Cult 13.5m + 9M
Slingshot Rev 11M
Naish Haze 148
Actually, this is one of the few local kiting areas that *doesn't* have much information on the site here. You can find some basics here:
http://www.norcalsurfshop.com/kite/bay- ... bay-bridge
As the racetrack is sometimes recommended as a "stepping stone" to riding at Berkeley, it would be great if someone here could provide the kind of detailed information that is available for Berkeley, Alameda, 3rd, et al.
I kited here after learning to stay upwind. I liked being able to attach a leash to my bumper and self launch from the parking lot. Dogs and their owners are here and don't understand why you may be less then excited to ward off a canine while keeping your kite in the air as you enter the "toilet bowl."
On light days you need to get out of the bowl and I've seen a few kites end up on the rocks at the north end, by the "bulb" of Albany Bulb. Better to make that turn early, the light wind can get weird over there.
It often blows better than Berkeley/EmeryPoint or Marina Bay, although sometimes it doesn't. When it does blow its a nice place for after work kiters and doesn't have the same "Union Wind" that Berkeley does (meaning it doesn't shut off at 5pm).
For landing you can drop your kite right behind the sand dune onto ice plants, so that's good.
You must be able to stay upwind and you should be confident of your "solo" abilities, since you might be coming in or going out alone. Great view of the squatter condos at the tip of the Bulb. Is that enough Nick?
You're speaking of one of the many eastbay launches. If you are local you'll get to know it. Every wind year is different and EB is very fickle where the wind blows. But when it does...
Yes, when I posted that in April of 2010 I was just heading into my second season and was still working on riding upwind. I've progressed a bit since then. But there's still no detailed info on the Racetrack in the "Sites" section so I guess my request is still valid.
On a related note--anyone have updates on the Racetrack/Bulb development project? I believe it was exactly two years ago that some of us attended the meeting in Albany about all the great plans. I stopped by the beach a couple of nights ago just to hang out and enjoy the view, and it doesn't look like anything is changing.
i launch regularly from the albany beach/racetrack. i love this location, although there are some issues.
the good: i find the wind there steady and strong throughout the summer and early spring. the views are unmatched -- you stare straight out at the golden gate when heading upwind. it's not very popular so you're rarely worrying about space, collisions, etc.. very easy access from I 80 off the buchanan/albany exit or the gilman exit. never an issue parking. the beach and muddy bottom make entrance into the water easy. once outside of the cove, you can make amazing runs between richmond and emeryville. you're essentially smack in the middle of the olympic circle once you're out.
issues: the entrance from the buchanan/albany exit is only open when the racetrack is open. the entrance from gilman is always open. when races are underway, there is a fee to park in front of the beach: $5 from the buchanan/albany entrance and $10 from the gilman entrance. on sundays it's $1.
there are often dogs and kids on the beach so you must be careful with your kite. i've seen a number of kiters launch right off the beach and dive their kites perilously close to people on the shore. not cool or safe. i've seen a few people catch their lines on some tall poles on the beach. i advise body dragging to a safe distance from the beach.
i have seen a few cars with smashed windows, so be careful about leaving valuables in the car. i have a safe in mine for cc, cash, etc. this applies to many sites, however.
launching can be tricky. most people self launch in the parking lot and the wind can be a little squirrely behind the dunes. i use a short line so that if i lose control i'm not yanked into the air -- which i've seen happen. my kite also fell out of the sky and then caught a gust and dragged me across the parking lot once. not fun. so know what you're doing if you launch there.
many people are parking their cars in the middle of the lot to self launch. this irks the racretrack security, as it blocks the routes of the trucks hauling hay. please be aware of where you park and avoid blocking truck paths. no one wants a war with the racetrack, as the parking lot is their property (not the city's -- i checked).
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