San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding lessons, learning and support.
I have been so ready and working on getting out as much as possible but see my progression so slow with my inability to really get out on the water due to the winds. Am i tripping? I feel like everytime I head out to the places I am told to go to, 3rd mainly the wind is just not strong enough. I ventured to Alameda origionally but was skunked 3 times with no wind at all. I came from strong wake/snow/skate background and this is by far the slowest progression I have encountered. My first on water lesson with WOW 2 months ago at 3rd was amazing with 25+ and no problems going both ways and getting rocked with too much power coming out of the hole. I was told that I was competent and ready to head out on my own. Ever since I have been chasing wind when possible. I have stopped obsessing over ikite like in the beginning and only look around 1:30 to see if I need to leave from work. Any words of encouragement or suggestions from others who have felt my pain?
I feel your pain (is it ok to say that now that Clinton is mostly retired?). Learning to read wind predictors is a huge part of kiteboarding. All I can say is you're not obsessing enough. 1:30 in the afternoon is a lousy time to check wind--that's before most local sites turn on. You need to keep checking later in the afternoon. Keep looking on the days you don't go, and on the days you missed something remember what the signals were.
Yep.. check the wind every day and watch the weather conditions and then remmeber that for next time. It help to eliminate being skunked... but even then it still happens. Bring beer as a backup.... or actually always bring that
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3rd was great yesterday! and Sherman has been blowing non-stop above 20 for the past 5 days! Of course, Sherman isn't the best beginner spot, but depending on your skills, you could get a boat ride upwind...
in the beginning, it's hard. if you can't consistently go upwind, your launch options are a bit limited, BUT once you get past that point, you can ride lots of places.
this is what makes kiting much much more difficult than wake/snow. with snowboarding, the mountain will always be there. with wakeboarding, the boat pulls you exactly as much as you want it to. with kiteboarding, you're depending on mother nature and you need to learn to deal with whatever she gives you.
so yeah, slow progression is the name of the game. It took me an entire season before I could go upwind. (kites were different back then)...you'll get some steady winds soon.
Take a bit of time and study the wind at places you're going to ride. When is it windiest? what direction is the best? How does the tide level affect it? Which way is the current going? What are good predictors for eventual wind? These are all crucial aspects that you need to learn that don't involve actually riding.
90% of days, I can tell you, just by looking out my window in SF at 9 am, if it's going to be windy at 3rd later that afternoon. learning to read your environment and understanding weather patterns is key.
finally, how much do you weigh? how big is your board? how big is your kite? I hope you have the right size gear....(i.e. if you weigh 200 lbs and your biggest kite is a 9m you're going to be waiting forever for the "right" day)
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as that time of the year you should be able to catch easily 10-15 session a month at 3nd around 5PM, doing a downwinder from the north parking lot to the 3-4 south beaches. Dont need to much wind for that, 15+ should be enough.
From the city it s quite a catch to be in the water around 5PM, but i did it couple of years ago. after it s more easy with more advanced spots closer (Crissy, Berkeley). Look at the weather forecast on IKite and go if you have any doubt it will blow. but yes, there was a lot of SW winds those last 2 months. I maybe wrong but looking at the sensors, 3nd should have been kitable those last 3 days, no ?
Don't mean to be preachy (or contradict the "eldery" here), but I'd consider getting some mileage on the water at 3rd and Alameda before "fanning out". I think beyond staying upwind, you kind of need to give yourself the opportunity to experience a few things, be thrown a few curveballs: self-rescue, handle being overpowered (until you do, hard to internalize that 30 gust is FOUR times as much wind as 15 lull), making it safely back to a narrow beach in high/low winds etc.
IMHO, Sherman is iffy until you get some... quality time on the water because the launch (=landing after a downwinder) allows for zero error, especially given how quickly the winds can ramp up there. Crissy in turn has devilish winds and currents, plus it's hard to overstate how tough is to self-rescue in bone-cold water pulling you 3-5 knots.
I feel your pain, started late summer and Sep came too quickly, very frustrating. But as said here, there should be 50 days of good wind until then (god willing...)
I'd watch the Coyote sensor as a proxy to what the wind is on the water at 3rd and also check Jack's webcam, the regulars show up early (2-3pm).
Keep the faith!
Just to add my two cents - I would encourage you to keep trying at third. Like you, I started out at Alameda but became frustrated by lack of wind. Once I took a lesson and learned the ropes at third last year, I progressed quickly.
I'm sure others here are more knowledgeable about the wind, but my routine for third is to first check ikite - it seems like its almost always rideable if the wind direction is NNW or NW and the 3rd beach sensor is ~10 and the channel is reading anything 15 or above. As previous poster mentioned, you can use the SFO sensor as a proxy for the channel. It does seem like the wind often does not get going until 2pm or so in the summer months.
In addition to ikite, I always check jack's webcam - if the wind sensors are showing good readings and you see cars in the lot, kiters gearing up, and kites in the water its nearly always worth the drive for a good session.
The other drawback of Alameda is the low accuracy of the wind sensors and the limited webcam coverage - basically its hard to get a good sense of the conditions remotely.
Anyway, keep at it, it's worth it!
mike...I usually follow the same routine as you...check ikite and above maybe 12 on the shore and maybe 17 in the channel, if kiters are rigging in the webcam, and I'm in my car.
However, something seems screwy lately. Maybe its the wind direction, but 3rd was reading 15 onshore and 20 in the channel this afternoon and just had to be waaaay weaker than that. There were only 1 or 2 guys out on big kites and surfboard when I got there after 5, which doesn't sound at all like a 15/20 day to me.
Anyone have any idea why ikite seemed so off at 3rd today/lately?
At 3rd today I got on the water about 4, had an hour of useable wind on a 12, but that was at least 500 feet upwind of the upper launch. Around 5 the wind started dropping and I came in. It dropped to almost nothing for an hour, then came back at 6, stronger than when I was out.
I've noticed this year that sometimes the wind at 3rd drops for an hour in the early evening, then comes back solid. Other times it drops and stays dead. This a seasonal thing?
Thanks for all the encouragement. I am sticking to 3rd and keeping Alameda out unless its really blowing. Kite is a good size- 12m and board needs to be changed out, I am using a loaner for now that is way to small for me right now. See you on the h20
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