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Waddell Creek Guidelines
It's time to play in the waves!!!!
As more people in the SF Bay area move from beginner to advanced levels, these are the thoughts that many kiters will have this year. This write up is intended to educate.† As one outsider who has spent some time at this spot, I wanted to share some ideas on how to preserve this special/killer kiting spot. What follows is just one mans observations and experiences, your mileage may vary
Where is Waddell? Some basic information
If you have to ask..just kidding. It is across the street from Big Basin Redwood Park. About 12 miles N. of Santa Cruz. The parking lot is dirt, with a nice size sand beach.† The amount of sand changes with seasons and tides.
Waddell is a long sandy beach, with rocks in the impact zone on the right side of the beach. On low tide, you can see the rocks. On higher tides, you gotta know where they are or you will pay some dues. Big airs on the inside of the surf zone are not recommended to people who donít know where the rocks are.
This is a popular beach with hikers, windsurfers (the pole people), surfers, sharks, seals and tourists. Please understand that we are just one of the many users of this incredible resource. As a matter of fact, we are one of the ìnewerî users and should show respect for the ones who have been playing here longer. When launching on days when the wind is light and there are other beach users ñ be careful where you launch. Always check for little kids running around who donít know much about kites. When self launching, make sure no family is walking towards your set up.basic stuff, but I've seen some really stupid stuff (leaving a kite ready for self launch while running to the car to get a drink of water)..
When you are not using your stuff, roll up your lines, and stack your kites. Make sure to put sand on the kites: it blows hard and while you are getting warm in your car, it sure would suck to see that nice new kite tumbling down the beach.
Donít ride w/a board leash at Waddell. If you canít body drag back to your board, you have no business riding here. A board attached to you while waves are working you over is nothing but problems/accidents waiting to happen. Speaking of body dragging, think about this long and hard: do you want to be trolling in the red triangle??? Donít go for big tricks on the outside.
NOTE: There have been no documented kite accidents at Waddell. This has kept access from the state of CA folks a non-issue. Please do all that you can to keep it that way!!! We need no DATA!!!!!
Basic parking lot etiquette. Donít show off your rides accelerating by speeding up in the lot: there is enough dust from the natural wind. Park in an efficient manner, so that your bros can have a quick place to park while experiencing major ìsession jonesî. Park facing the water or w/your tailgate to the water.† DO NOT PARALLEL PARK to get a better view: you will be consuming multiple spots and withdrawing from your karma account.
Basic skills required to kite @ Waddell
Mobe with blind landing + handlepasses ñ just kidding.†
You must be proficient at jumping both ways, strong upwind skills, self-landing and launching, good kite selection and basic knowledge of waves.† You should be a very good swimmer.† You should be at least a strong intermediate kiter.† If the wind dies, you will need to self land downwind and walk back to the main beach.† Donít go past the point where the wind meter sits ñ no good landings are to be had there.†
Wind and Water
Be aware that you are entering the food chain when you enter the water at Waddell. This is the south apex of the Red Triangle.† Do a google search is you think Iím making it up.
You are not the biggest creature nor have the sharpest teeth.† The water is always cold, and you need a 4/3 suite at the minÖ.some days, when itís been flowing for weeks and the upwelling is going, your feet and hangs get numb after a few hours of kiting.† Many people wear hoods to help conserve body heat.
The beach is just downwind of Ano Nuevo ñ a major seal colony.† Itís also known as the ìlunch counterî due to deep-water shelf which sharks love.† Partially eaten seal carcasses have washed up on the beach.
The wind goes here on thermals ñ when there is a fog bank ñ on NW North Pacific High caused winds, clearing winds and storm SE winds.† It almost always has some energy coming through.† If you donít have small kites ñ 4/6/8 meter ñ donít waste gas.† A 10m kite is considered large at Waddell.†
Because the air is cooler and denser, the wind has more punch on the coast.† This means that when a sensor is reading 20, you will most likely be lit on a 8m kite.† I am 210#, and 8m is my main kite at Waddell.† Iíve had many days on my 6m kite.† Before you toss up a big kite ñ see what others are riding.
People come here to ride waves.† If you just want to do freestyle and go high on your jumps, please find another spot to play.† Showing off for your friends in the impact zone ñ ìhey bro, check out my new kite loops on this lit 10m kiteî is not a good idea.† More on wave rules later.
The waves here are big, fast and have a lot of punch.† While the bottom is mostly sand, going over the falls will put sand down your wetsuit and into your ears .† The white water has a lot of energy, and you better have solid jumping skills to clear itÖ..or your body will pay the priceÖyou donít want your doctor telling you that you canít kite resto of the season due to blown knees/ankle/hip??? Do you???ÖSeasons alter the size and speed of waves.
Letís break it down by season.
Winter ñ raging storms with massive swells and big south/se winds.† Only extremely experienced people should venture out.† You will most likely have the water all to yourself, except for the big fish † Be proficient in self launch/landing.† Donít go out further then you can swim in.
Spring and fall ñ the winds cranking ñ 4/6/8 meter kites are common ñ and the waves have a lot of punch to them.† Ask the people whose ribs have been broken by the powerful waves.† The beach works on all direction swells ñ NW to Sweet South swells.† Fall is especially busy time for the landlord† - aka whitey.
Summer ñ the winds are howling and the waves have mellowed out a bit.† South swells from South Hemi storms still come through and make the place epic wave riding.† This is the season when a lot of new people are on the water.† This is a good lead in to wave rules.
Iíve made a lot of the following mistakes myself and have been appropriately schooled.† Please take the following seriously and you will have fun here.† Before you hit the water, take a few minutes to watch how people are riding ñ you can learn a lot by watching (why do you think porn is so popular??)
Basic kiting common sense: people riding waves are trying to get upwind to line up for the next wave.† When you are approaching someone, person upwind keeps kite high, person downwind keeps it low.† Donít go out lit/overpowered and ride with your kite near the water at all time: you will use way too much real estate and get vibed.† If you canít kite w/your kite 45 degrees off the water, you are on the wrong size kite. If you are having a hard time staying on the water w/your kite overhead, you picked the wrong size kite.† When you ride waves, your kite will feel 1 size bigger then it actually is ñ apparent wind caused by wave speed is one of the reasons.
Person who is riding the wave has right of way.† If you are going out, you have to give right of way to kiter going down the line.† Turn around and go back to beach until they have finished destroying the wave
Person upwind of you has the right of way to the wave.† People who are more qualified, and can rip the wave, have the right to good waves over rookies.† Trust me on this one, you will earn much karma by giving waves to the shredders.
First person on the wave has the right of way.† Before you jibe onto a wave, check to make sure that someone is not lining up for it from the outside.
If you get on the same wave as someone else, my advice is let have the wave and get out of the way.† You will earn major karma points for this.† If someone waves you, this means they are giving you the wave, but you better rip that mother, or you will not get any more waves from that person.
Waddell has multiple peaks ñ places were the wave breaks.† Leave the peak in front of the parking lot to the experienced local people.† Go either upwind or downwind.† Itís a big beach.† Once you have paid your dues, can ride in a line up of many people, know how to stay out of the way, know the names of ? the people on the water, then you may consider riding the main peak.
If you came here to do freestlye, donít do it in the surf zone.† Go away from the waves, or way upwind/downwind.† If you are going to try new moves off wave faces ñ like kite loops which use up a lot of space when blown ñ check to see that you have lots of room.
Remember that there is a core group of locals who have played in these waters for many years ñ surfing and windsurfing.† This is their backyard and you are a visitor.† Act with respect and be humble.† On weekends, when it gets crowded, the locals still like to play, but their waves seem to have more people on them who show no respect to the rules.† When you show up, they can tell that you are an outsider.†
If you show respect and donít get in the way, you will have fun.† A cooler full of cold beers to share after the session is also a good idea † If new people were coming to your spot how would you like them to behave??†
Have fun.† Good winds and waves, Zeev.
Contributed by Zeev Gur, 2004
The wave rules are NOT correct. The rider on starboard tack has right of way. At Waddell the wind almost always makes the tacking OUT rider with the right of way. The thing to do on the way out is to try give the rider on the wave space to ride the wave if possible. If there is no way to give the rider on the wave enough space (traffic) than HOLD YOUR COURSE. It is the port tack riders responsibility to move out of the way. Like I said, try your best to give the rider on the wave enough space to set up for their waveride, but STARBOARD tack has right of way.
The information about the upwind rider having rights to the wave is correct. However, if the upwind rider is WAY upwind of the peak they do not necessarily have rights to the wave. It's the person upwind who is closest to the peak.
For sure practice freestyle away from other riders and the best peaks. Waddell is not really a freestyle venue, but the waves sure make great ramps!
Courtesy note: Try to avoid kiting all the way to the sand if you don't get a wave. Tack back out before the surfzone to give the riders coming in on a wave the chance to ride their wave. Otherwise, do as Zeev says and wait on the inside until the surfing rider has flushed downwind.
Not sure that I agree. I don't go to Waddell or any other wave spot for that matter to sail with my buddies and the rest of the wave starved bay riders. I go there to ride waves as I hope most other riders do as well. When someone has a wave, get out of the way...period. Either turn around and go back to shore or scoot downwind well out of the way of the wave rider and the wave riders sweeping kite. Right hand forward don't mean S H I T to me in the waves.
Main thing...if you are new to the wave scene, watch how the locals do it for at least 15 minutes otherwise you may wind up with an unpleasant experience your first time down there.
sometimes Gary Bronson...
Ollie; Just read your reposting of "Waddel logic!". Alameda is important because a lot of newbes
ride there, but a nasty injury is not as bad as dying, so to keep from stepping on this important
message to people who don't have the benefit of MANY years of wave riding to guide them
in making good calls, somebody should post a reply to both issues OFTEN, as i just have,
to keep both subjects, (and ESPECIALLY Waddel) a subject of current interest.
Not sure where to put these but I took them this weekend, if you know anyone who was 'flying', please pass them on, thought they might be of interest.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/churchward ... 185052196/
Let me add my humble contribution to the topic. I went to Waddell for the first time this past week-end. it was my second time in the waves after a first time at Pismo after 3 seasons of riding 3rd regularly.
A couple personal notes:
- look around you all the time and be aware of where other kiters are and where the swell is. Riding at 3rd, you can easily get used to only watching in the direction you going.
- If a wave forms behind you, keep going you are typically faster than the wave, and just for it to break and get small enough so that you feel comfortable going over it. If you get closer to the beach and the wave is still big, just do a few quick downwind turns to save time and get to where the wave is small.
While you do that always keep an eye behind you for folks surfing the wave you are trying to escape, and stay out of their way.
- Water is very cold, much colder than 3rd. Get a 4/3 or better 5/4/3 wetsuit. You won't be hot.
- Locals will definitely stare at you and identify you as a newb. Can't stay the crowd is as friendly as at 3rd where folks wave at you in the water but at the same time they are not outright obnoxious I would say they are just wary of what you will do and rightly so. Shit happens fast and you definitely don't want to do a self rescue in the waves.
Stay away from the waves for a while, get familiar with the place while staying out of the way. This will give you a chance to adjust to the spot and hopefully show that your kite is under control and that you know what you are doing. Once folks see that you are not a danger to them and to yourself,they'll ease up.
And yes, go introduce yourself, they don't bite
I for one am definitely looking forward to going back there soon
hope this helps
Riding a twintip at Waddell is like wearing a giant sign saying "DANGER: I HAVE NO CLUE", unless you are one of the tiny group of people who kites there regularly who has not given in to the Siren Song of the Surfboard.
You are so right that people are staring at you.. They are wondering whether or not you will execute one of a dozen moves that will threaten your own safety as well as theirs: Jumping on a wave when someone is behind and downwind of you; shorttacking without looking behind or upwind of you, etc.
There is a very, very well organized pattern of riding at Waddell and everyone knows how it works...except for the kiter(s) that everyone else is staring at. If you're not interested in becoming part of the rythym, it's best to kite somewhere else.
It says 10M, but it's really a 9.
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I find your comment a little "harsh".
I do understand that waddell is a beautiful space for wave riding, and because of that (and until I get interested in wave riding/surfing) I will always respect the people in the surf and try not to cut their waves.
The thing is: I'm a beginner/intermediate rider. I can ride upwind with confidence, boost, self-launch and self-land, etc...
I started this season, and I can already tell I'll be more oriented in the "freestyle" side of kiteboarding, BUT that doesn't mean I don't enjoy every once in a while to ride into the open ocean. There is something magical about it. The waves, the swell, the landscape, etc. ( I will ALWAYS remember my first session at half moon bay a couple months ago where not only it was my first time in the ocean, BUT also was the first time I saw whales).
But yes, the ocean is a powerful thing and when a friend of mine proposed to take me to OB and that once on site I saw waves after waves of over 6ft crashing at an incredible frequency one after the other I knew it wasn't the right time for me to try OB and I went down to 3rd ave.
I came to waddell a couple weeks ago and had a BLAST.
The surf is impressive and need to be treated with respect. I was careful to ride downwind from where everybody was when I got out and then short tacked upwind far away from shore way past the surf.
I don't think I was an inconvenience to anybody in that matter except when I lost my board and that frank kindly brought it to me, but I feel like this is a great thing about this community: we're all trying to help each others.
Now, was I riding a TT? Yes.
Why? Well, first of all, I'm just getting started in this new sport so I'd rather invest in a full quiver and safety equipment than in different boards.
Second of all, as I said, I have no interest (YET) to get into wave riding.
But that doesn't change the fact that waddell is a beautiful spot that blows strong wind.
So I don't see why I should be considered as a "look at this guy he's gonna f**k everybody's session in the surf" just because I'm riding a TT.
I didn't feel like people were looking at me this way the first time I went there, and I hope I don't have to fear it for the next time I'll have the privilege of riding this spot.
Now as I said, I didn't mean to be disrespectful and I just wanted to react in a civilized matter to your comment which I found a little rough.
I'll be more than happy to discuss this at waddell while offering you a beer.
PS: I'm scared sh**less of sharks and this whole guideline made me pee my pants.
Kites: 2017 F-One Bandit: 8m. 2017 F-One Breeze 11m.
Board: 2015 F-One 5'10 Mitu Surf/Foil convertible
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Manera 5/4/3 X10D
I always ride my pink TT at Waddell-----maybe some day I will join the elitist group of riding a surfboard ; )
Ozone Catalyst 6M & 8M
F-One BANDIT V 10M
5'3" JL KiteSurf
132 JL Sister
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