Information about San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding locations and guidelines.
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Not really a destination worth driving for, but if you're stuck in the area it can be fun sometimes.
The picture is from a "downwinder" I did one day. I marked out my path with Google Earth with a draw tool, those are not accurate GPS waypoints.
I ride with a crappy skateboard, so I stick mostly to the two best paved areas I've found with a minimal amount of debris. Unfortunately they're in the middle of a large construction project, so the debris situation is getting worse.
The first spot I go is close to the Hamilton YMCA or South Novato Library. Park close to the hanger with the tower. You may remember it from early Mythbuster episodes. If you look over the wall, you will see an American Flag painted on the pavement.
The normal (summer) wind usually sets up more or less parallel to the runway. If it comes too much from the west, it goes over the hangers and houses and is no good.
The other spot is the larger paved area (not a runway?) on the south side. I prefer this area, although recent construction has caused a lot of debris (gravel, silt, etc) to get scattered over the ridable area. This works on east winds. It seemed that there were consistent east(ish) winds mid-day during the late summer.
Both of these areas are a bit on the sketchy side. Watch out for gravel, lines in the pavement, and on the south side drainage grates. The grates run in a direction that you will cross while you ride, and are about 6" wide. There maybe a few spots where the grate hangs up a bit, or has some overgrowth, etc.
The picture attached is from Google Earth. The picture is a couple years old. They recently built a second levy that traces around the north spot, follows the line of houses out a couple hundred yards, and circles the south end. I think they are mostly done building these levys, but in doing so trucks and tractors have created more debris.
I'm going to get a landboard next summer, it should open up a lot more terrain and cleaner wind.
This area has a lot of construction activity going on. I have been yelled at by construction guys, and they hired some security guards once (I think mostly because of some RC Plane guys). This was BEFORE they had heavy machinery out. They've relaxed and I haven't been harassed since, but I've also given them space and will not ride if they're actively doing stuff. Evenings and Weekends are usually safe.
It may not be legal to ride here. There are no trespassing signs. There is an active Coast Guard hanger at the bottom of the row of hangers, and the south riding area is sometimes used by Emergency Services (right over the levy) for exercises. You're not going to be very sneaky attached to a few square meters of nylon flying 75' in the air.
Oh, and don't ride here if you're afraid of heavy metals The military doesn't seem to be a very green organization...
For land kiting junkies I also recommend Ocean Beach. There is an active scene there, if there is good wind and low tide you will not be alone. Low tide is the best because it opens a big flat area near the water. High tide you have no space to ride. Kite size varies from 5m or big trainer on strong wind days, up to 12m for lighter days. Its sandy, so less harsh than pavement, but you also have more friction, so you need more power.
Watch out for beach goers, its their right to be there as well. For that reason week days are the best, less traffic.
Wind is normally smooth as it comes from the water. West is the best direction, but anything between NW to SW is doable if the tide is low enough, so you can ride across the beach.
3 posts • Page 1 of 1
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