La Ventana Dec 2017-A noob's perspective

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La Ventana Dec 2017-A noob's perspective

Postby kungchild » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:04 pm

I’ve been toying with picking up kiteboarding for a few years and I finally took the plunge in late July. The drawback in starting mid-season is that your days are numbers to continue practicing and getting proficient at riding. I did hear whispers of a magical place in Baja called La Ventana so I decided to book a trip so that when the 2018 season starts back in the bay I would be ready to go!

I’ll try and break this down into section so you can just skip to what you want to read. I’m more than happy to share additional info just ask. My trip dates were 12/14-12/22.

Getting ready-aka packing
I’ve traveled for ski vacations and mtn bike racing and just sucked up paying the airline fees that come with oversize bags. Doing lots of searches, reading BAK, and watching videos on packing I learned about the “golf bag” trick. My experience is with United since there’s a direct flight from SFO to Cabo so YMMV depending on airline and the mood of the tkt agent.

A few things I learned about packing the gear:
I used compression bags to pack my kiteshttps://www.pksdistribution.com/proddetail.asp?prod=pks_compression_bag
Lots of debates on which deceiver bags work best to bypass the fees. I went the route of get the cheapest bag which happened to be a black friday sale on a LF bag.http://www.liquidforce.com/luggage-wheeled-golf-bag-xl.html

Checked Bag
Who knew kite gear weighed that much!! While golf bags exceed the linear measurements of airlines this gets ignored as long as the bag doesn’t weigh more than 50lbs. More than 50 and you’re most likely paying for the bag. This magic number becomes important if you decide to try and kite before flying home as things might be heavier with water and sand if you’re a noob like me. Throw in a baggage embargo during the holiday season to Cabo added to the apprehension. I’m not sure if I would have had to pay for the bag or if they just wouldn’t accept it but I wasn’t going to find out the day of!

My first attempt came in at 59lbs. That was 2 boards, straps, harness, bar, 9m & 12m kite, impact vest, wetsuit, beach towel, pump, helmet and sunscreen. I ditched the helmet, impact vest, wetsuit, 1 board and strap and got the weight down to 44-46 lbs.

Carry On
I’m a guy heading to the beach do you really need lots of clothes? I will say it was cool at night so I’m glad that I had long pants, a hoodie and beanie. Due to my lack of clothes I was able to shove my wetsuit as well as a 2mm neoprene top in the carry on. I also had my board handle, fins and screws as I was paranoid about the checked bag limits.

Both times I had no issues with getting the check bag checked. On my flight back to SFO there was another person who ended up paying $200 for an oversize bag.

Lodging
I had no idea where to stay. I did look at Google Maps closed my eyes and ended up booked a casita at Baja Joe’s. I thought it was great as it had kayaks and SUPs’ for guests as well as a communal kitchen so I could store some provisions and cook meals if I chose too. They also had a secure storage area for kiting gear. Overall I thought it was great and would definitely book it again.

Places like Las Palmas and the Downwinder Inn seemed to be too remote for me unless I was traveling with a group. I would also stay on the east side of Corredor Isla Cerravlo in you need to hump your gear to the water.

Kiting
Yeah let’s talk about the stuff I came to do!!! Ask around and the season is from November to April. I was naive and thought that everyday I would be on the water but the wind had other plans. If I look at the days that people were kiting it was 5 out of 8 days. Not shabby but I sprained my MCL so missed the last 2 days.

La Ventana is like a catcher’s mitt. So it’s hard to lose your gear unless the wind blows due east which is rare. I believe the normal direction is N or slightly NW. I was told that storms moved rocks around close to shore but overall water access was great. I entered from Las Palmas, campgrounds by Playa Central and I did a jetski assist with Elevation. You can choose 1-5 miles of downwinders depending on your starting point. For those that can ride upwind I’m sure you have pick of the litter where you want to kite along the shore. I met folks who offered to give me a ride to the hot springs for a downwinder. Some places also offer a shuttle to the hot springs so if downwinder’s are your jam check out places that have it.

As a noob and only having kited in the SF bay not sure what things others report on. What stuck out for me were warmer water temp, huge area to kite in, and mellow chop to practice riding upwind.

Non Kite stuff
For those days when the wind isn’t cooperating or you bring someone who doesn’t kite.

    SUP and kayaks-water is very still people fish or snorkel off boards.
    Mtn Biking has been getting bigger. The trail network continues to expand (so I’m told) and a newer bike shop in town rents good bikes for $80 USD/day.
    Day trip to La Paz where you can take in the sites or snorkel with whale sharks.
    Hot Springs-I was told you could dig a hole and make your own hot spring. I would ask around if you want to do this as I believe you need to mix it with the cooler ocean water so you don’t get burned.
    Spear or sport fishing. There are boats that you can charter to take you to the eastern side of Isle Ceravlo.
    Yoga


To Car or Not
I decided that I didn’t want to deal with a car so I took one of the many shuttle services found in La Ventana Viewhttp://www.theventanaview.com/. A car would have been nice to complete a grocery store run, visit the farmer’s market, and get fresh fish at Pescadera Perla. I also might have ventured to La Paz for the day. Other than that everything was an easy walk and I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of a car.

Final Thoughts
Friendly people, good wind, and a chill vibe make La Ventana a great destination for kiting. I’m already thinking about making a return trip especially if we have a less than stellar snowpack. As a noob, knowing what and how to pack to avoid damaging the kites was the most challenging aspect. While it may be crowded I’d love to watch and maybe even enter La Ventana Classic. http://laventanaclassic.com/Hope that this was helpful info for some.
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Re: La Ventana Dec 2017-A noob's perspective

Postby BayAreaKite » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:04 pm

Thanks for the solid report, always great to have different perspectives for the same place. Glad you had a great trip, you prefer a hat or t-shirt? BAK
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Re: La Ventana Dec 2017-A noob's perspective

Postby nick » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:43 pm

Sounds like a solid trip! I just got back from my second season in Los Barriles and am in the process of picking out my own gear -- can't wait for the season to start up here. Was hoping to make it out to La Ventana for a day this year but it didn't happen. Maybe next year!
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