Information about San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding locations and guidelines.
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You can visit the general Bodega Bay website by clicking here.
Bodega has two areas you can ride at. If you want to take your chances with the sharks ride outside the marina, in the ocean. If you just want to get some mellow riding with the likelihood of seeing "Whitey" pretty slim; ride inside the harbor. There are also two ways to ride the harbor. First of all, it is not possible to kite inside the harbor on less than a two foot tide. I do recommend investigating the harbor on a low tide though. It will help you to avoid obstacles and make you a more informed kiter.
The first way to kite Bodega Harbor is for the beginner/intermediate who is not completely confident in his/her upwind ability. You can drive around the harbor to the west side. There is a nice grassy park where you can rig up. The wind blows pretty offshore here which makes it a tricky launch but it allows you to make quite a few reaches before you wind up on the downwind beach which is located on the east side of the harbor. This is definitely a spot that you want a partner and or chase car. It is only a two minute drive from one side of the harbor to the other so if you have a driver you can actually get quite a few runs in.
The second way to kite Bodega harbor is from the downwind beach right below HWY. 1. There is ample beach to lay your lines out and the wind blows pretty much directly onshore. If you can make it upwind this is the best place to launch from. There is not a whole lot of space in front of the beach, so once you get your kite in the air make sure you get out into the harbor in a timely fashion. Bodega is a great place to go kiting if your significant other is giving you slack about kiting too much and not spending any time with him/her. You can go for a nice romantic drive, show your partner how well you kite, and then have a nice romantic dinner in Bodega. Just make sure you plan your trip around high tide.
Went up to Bodega 5/27/2012 and did 2 downwind runs. (I drove) I thought it would be good to detail this out for future adventurers because it was pretty sketchy.
Launched from a little beach just past the boat docks. The beach was enough to lay at lines on a 3' tide. At 5' the beach will be gone. It is very shallow all the way to the channel. Launching here was very difficult. The wind was super gusty and the kite would frequently fall from the sky. On top of that there are channel markers 150 yards off the launch. The channel markers are 30' tall concrete posts, I'm sure they would love to eat a kite. So while the kite is powering up and down with the gusts, you walk out to the channel, then you have to body drag through the gap in the channel markers. If you wrap your lines on the marker call the Coast Guard right away, and get them to help you clear the lines so they don't get caught on anyone's propellers. The number is (707) 875-3596.
After clearing the channel markers the potential for a kitemare goes way down. Clearing this point is not very hard, but for a beginner without good kite control it is going to end badly. IMHO this is not really a safe launch for a beginner.
So after clearing the 2nd channel marker you are in the blue box, noted in the pic as the gusty wind zone. This was not so good, with +/-10 Mph swings in the wind. Again, not so good for a beginner. Expect to drop the kite, lose your board, etc. On a 3' tide you can stand in most places.
Then comes the good part. As you enter into red zone the wind gets really strong and much better. If you are almost staying upwind fight like hell when you get to this point, not before. You will be out of the crowds way, a half mile or so upwind from the launch at Doran. Stay away from the boat channel, the wind is gusty on the West side.
As you come into the beach at Doran, there is a distinct stand of trees visible from the water. Head in there and land on the mud flats.
My conclusion is that if you are up and riding with good kite control this is a bad idea. If you are just learning with any question about flying the kite, dragging to your board etc. this is going to be a nightmare. Probably better to go to Sherman.
Thought about trying Bodega this summer. Ian does not make it sound like much fun. Tru Ian or are you simply trying to keep the place to yourself? Prolly not cause I frequently see the Bodega crew @ Sherman. Gusty is how it is usually described. Perhaps better on the open ocean side. BTW have fun tis weekend. I need to regrow some skin on my leg before I can kite again.
Wow, if you think Bodega was gusty that day, check out the graph from Thurs. of the same week 20 to 40. Sunday was probably also the least windy day of the week.
Bodega is mostly fogged in and shut down in the summer, which is why the crew there rides at SI during that time of year.
I'd say it is a spot for intermediate riders who are frustrated in the spring when it's only windy on the coast and don't have the skills for the ocean. But if you only have a 12M or 10M kite, not much point in making the drive when it blows there, it often nukes.
It says 10M, but it's really a 9.
I say avoid potential nightmares and do not launch from the north side of the harbor. Launch at the regular launch on Doran where the wind is better and if you get blown into the drain because of meager upwind skills. The walk around the mud flat is a real character builder
I'm thinking of going out here some time... I'm not following this post. So launch at Doran, e.g. the harbor side of the long spit with camping etc on the south side of the Bay, and get blown East? So the mudflat is on the east side? The description is too sketchy, can someone interpret ?
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