beginner rider looking for spots in the bay area

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beginner rider looking for spots in the bay area

Postby wolfie » Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:21 pm

Hi all:
Freshwater kiter here from Michigan... I'll be kiting the bay area July 26th and 27th. My current plan is to go to Sherman Island, but if the wind isn't there I'd like to have a back up plan. I'll be working in San Jose Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, and going "somewhere" (hopefully to Sherman) from there. I'm just starting to develop upwind skills so I can't go anywhere that's too advanced.

If anyone has suggestions on where to go if Sherman isn't happening I would appreciate hearing them. Weather phone numbers and forecast websites would also be a huge help.

thanks for your help,
rob

P.S. if you ever need Michigan or Ohio help go to kitemi.com or kiteoh.com.
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Postby adamrod » Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:16 pm

Hey rob,

We all use ikitesurf around here for weather forecast. If you're not too reliable at upwind yet, make sure you pay for a downwinder from Nat at edge kiteboarding at Sherman. (a google search should turn up the phone number). The normal launch at Sherman requires being able to go upwind from the get-go.

also, sherman usually blows in the morning from 8-10 and in the evening from say 6-9. Your backup plan should be 3rd ave. that usually blows from 3-7. Plus, 3rd ave is closer than sherman. the 3rd ave crew is super friendly. ask a lot of questions and you'll make friends fast. there's nothing we hate more than a newbie from out of town who doesn't introduce himself or ask for tips from the locals...

pretty much everywhere else requires a bit more upwind skill. I'd say you should hit up the ocean while you're here, but it sounds like you might need a few more sessions under your belt before that...
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Postby wolfie » Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:05 am

thanks adamrod, I really appreciate the help.. I actually spoke with Nat a couple of weeks ago and set up a downwinder.. it's good to know that I'm on the right track:-) i got his number from the Delta Windsurf Company.

I'll look into 3rd avenue - thanks.

Yeah, it's a shame not to hit the ocean... I'm a surfer (just got back from a 6 day trip in Costa Rica) and something about going to CA and not checking out the ocean just doesn't feel right... but like you said, i probably just don't have the kite skills yet.

If I were to try the ocean, can you recommend a newbie spot?

One more question - how's the water temp out there? I'm planning to bring board shorts, 2 rash guards (a long sleeve and a short sleeve that I can wear together), and a vest. I'll also bring my 5/3 steamer because it's the only suit I have.
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Postby Proparoo » Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:40 am

please note, if you go to Sherman in the morning or evening hours you will need a smaller kite (7 OR 9m )as it has been quite windy. Last night from 5 till dark it was really nikin.. Avg around 30mph... here is a link to the past week http://www.iwindsurf.com/windAndWhere.i ... ast+7+Days

Hope you get some when you are here... it's been great!
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Postby lacasaverde » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:33 am

Welcome to California, eh! (former Michigander). Kitesurfing here rocks & there are so many great places to go. However, not many of them are appropriate for beginners. Sherman Island is an advanced launch. As noted above you can contact Edge Kiteboarding School (Nat, who will take you up wind about 3 miles--for a fee). Kitopia also offers lessons. Bruce Spradley (Sheldon Sails in Rio Vista) also offers lessons & can help you out if you have gear issues while on SI. Alameda is fairly beginner friendly, check in at the shop across the street from the launch - Kite, WInd, Surf (they also offer lessons). I'm not sure I'd be real thrilled to launch at 3rd Ave as a newbie. You need to know the tides & there is a lot of nasty muck. The bottom line is ASK the locals about procedures when you get to the beach.
The wind has been awesome this year, so I hope you can get some. Also note that the Kiteboarding Nationals are happening at Chrissy Field (SanFran) the weekend you're in town. Check it out! It's sure to be tons of fun & games. (Chrissy Field is definitely NOT a beginner launch - IMHO). The water temp at SI is quite comfortable--a shorty is usually sufficient, you might want a little more for early am sessions. If you get into coastal waters, they're chilly and that 5/3 will be just right. Safe travels & excellent winds.
PS: A few beers will make sure you get the best advice!! :wink:
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Postby wolfie » Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:41 am

Thanks for all the great info guys!

I'll look into Alameda and that wind graph is really helpful.

The smallest kite I have is a 10m hybrid. It was great for me in steady 20 to 25 mph winds, but I tried it Saturday in winds that we're gusting from 18 to 30 knots and I couldn't keep my edge... had to throw in the towel. might need to make an investment in shorter lines or a smaller kite before i come... hmmm tempting...

Man, I wish I'd known about the Kiteboarding Nationals... i've never been to such an event.. unfortunately I'll be taking the Friday night redeye back to MI.

Thanks!
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Postby adamrod » Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:16 am

hmm. 10m is on the big side for sherman....but if you go mid-day you should be OK...

if you want to try the ocean, your best bets are probably Half Moon Bay or Stinson beach. Both have lighter winds than OB or Waddell and smaller waves and fewer kiters to get mad at you. Both HMB and Stinson can be light (14m average), but the beach is big enough that if you end up downwind you can walk back up. also, the waves are nice and small. just make sure if you launch there that you don't kite around beach-goers....

the problem with both those places is that the wind isn't as reliable so you might get skunked...

send me a PM if you need more specifics . . .


oh, water temp? I wear my 4-3 steamer all year round. you can get by at sherman with boardshorts, but if you breakdown you'll get hypothermia while swimming in, so keep that in mind. 3rd ave, everyone wears fullsuits pretty much. the ocean? damn cold...
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Postby wolfie » Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:49 am

thanks again adamrod. I'm feeling like Sherman is the place because it sounds fairly reliable... I've been thinking lately about picking up an 8m for around here.. dunno if I can do it before the trip though...

would you wear that steamer at Sherman too? hypothermia is not something I'd really like to experience....

I may end up PM-ing you - thanks for the offer.
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Postby adamrod » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:12 pm

it depends on where you kite and how warm it is outside. i'll wear boardshorts at sherman, but only if i'm cruising relatively (1/4 mile) close to the launch and it's 85 degrees out. i made the mistake of trying a handlepass wayyyy upwind in the flatwater above the 2nd island, crashed my kite which caused my leading edge valve to pop and i had a good long swim in. i was wearing a 4-3 and even then I was chilly. point being, the water may seem warm, but if you break down and have to swim in, you'll be thankful for the wetsuit.

in your case, you'll be doing a downwinder. it's something like 3 miles. if you break down with 2.5 miles to go without a wetsuit, i wouldn't want to be in your shoes...
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Postby windhorny » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:56 pm

Yeah and as you know from kiting freshwater, you dont float well.
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