Information about San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding locations and guidelines.
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- Crissy Field
Crissy Field is a world-class sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing site, but is definitely not for beginner kitesurfers. The extremely unpredictable gusty winds (5 mph to 45 mph) makes kiting here very challenging and is best left to the experts. Crissy can be a very dangerous place to launch. The wind is side-offshore and the currents are extremely strong. You must excel in up wind and jibing ability, be knowledgeable of ebb, flood, counter currents, and excellent swimming ability is a prerequisite for kiting here. Also, no matter how warm the day, the cold water and strong currents demand a full wetsuit all year long. Windsurf traffic, cargo tanker traffic and general boat traffic can be quite heavy - so keep your eyes open.
To keep kite access at Crissy Field open to all of us, you need to pay attention to what's happening both on and off the beach. Windsurfers have been here for a long time, and kiters need to respect their territory. Generally, launch up wind of the windsurfers and head toward the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach is almost always packed with people with small children and dogs. THEY ALWAYS HAVE RIGHT OF WAY. Do not launch if people, especially small kids are in the immediate vicinity. DO NOT FLY YOUR KITE ABOVE PEOPLES HEADS. One accident is all it will take to put access to Crissy Field in jeopardy. Trust me; you don't want to be the kiter who screwed up Crissy Field for the rest of us. Launch your kite and get off the beach ASAP.
Most kiters park at the end of the parking lot (end closest to the GG). Rigging on the lawn is OK. Once you go to the beach, the wind can be very light on the beach but nuking on the outside. Rigging the right kite size is imperative. Think nuking outside rather than mellow inside. Also, the wind can die on the inside, so make sure you are a VERY GOOD SWIMMER. The best place to launch is on the west side (GG side) of the lagoon (less people and upwind of the windsurfers).
The wind can be very light on the beach. Keeping the kite in the air can be challenging, and luffing into the air is a major concern. Also, your kite can fall out of the sky as winds drop to zero. Hence, be aware of people and get off the beach ASAP. Stick close to the beach until you are comfortable enough to head out the GG Bridge. Self-rescue at Crissy is very challenging. You typically are not washed towards the beach, but rather currents take you either out towards the GG Bridge or towards Alkatraz Island. Being rescued by the Coast Guard or a passing by sailboat is common at Crissy Field, but kiters must understand that these options are not always close by and the water at Crissy is VERY COLD.
Seriously, if your are new to kitesurfing, come and enjoy the view and meet the people at Crissy Field, but wait until you are more experienced before you venture out. Oh, and don't fly your trainer kite over peoples heads at Crissy Field, go down to the Marina Green (near Safeway), where you will have more room and there is typically less people and better winds.
I am new to kiteboarding, and had a question about the launch area at Crissy Fields. It seems like the kiteboarders tend to launch at different times than the windsurfers (it seems rare that both are going at the same time - there is some mixing, but on average there seem to be some governance over who is going at what time). Is it that conditions vary and kiteboarders are looking for somethign different than windsurfers (if so, what?)?, or is it that there are implicit or explicit rules for who can go out when?
Your help would be greatly appreciated. Would not want to commit a faux pas when I am good enough to go out there
The best wind direction is West or West North West. A WSW flow usually is solid, but When the wind blows South West, that is when the wind shuts down at the beach and a wind shadow can extend past Anita Rock. A typical summertime fog pattern is a classic example of a South West direction. As posted before the wind shifts direction even while your having a great time miles away from shore, So pay attention to the strength of the Wind, Current and Traffic. Best to go out on a moderate Ebb. It can be very bumpy AKA Psycho Chop. When coming back from your session HIt the Gas! with respect and control of others. The views will be eternally burned into your memory!!!
Last edited by salthouse on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
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