Information about San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding locations and guidelines.
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- Point Isabel/Marina Bay
Located in Richmond, Point Isabel/Marina Bay can be a great place to kite when conditions are good. Generally speaking, Summer to Fall provide the best conditions with winds ranging from 10-30 knots mostly onshore. It is not a suitable location for beginners as a confined launch surrounded by rocks and turbulent winds create hazardous situations during launching and landing. Depending on the tides, waterstarts can be a bit tricky as your ability to get out in the water to start may be limited and starting requires sending the kite down over the rocks. As with many sites, if you for any reason doubt your confidence in safely launching and landing in a confined rocky area, handling your kite precisely, getting out on the water fast and staying upwind, don't kite here! In addition, fisherman do frequent the small beach, so give them the right-of-way and all due courtesy. Above and along the small beach is a section the Bay Trail which is frequented by joggers, walkers, families and children. Ensure that your activity does not inadvertently involve them in any way.
Once out on the water, you'll need to decide if you're heading upwind toward the ships and the channel or out and around Brooks Island to the left, as the area in front of the launch is the wind shadow of Brooks Island, resulting in weaker and often turbulent winds. Left and south of the island offers strong, steady wind and some nice ramps and chop all the way toward the Albany Bulb and Berkeley. Upwind into the channel requires some effort to get to, but can reward you with smooth water as the low, end of the island can smooth things out. If you do kite upwind to the channel, do not encroach on the protected bird nesting grounds at the east end of the cove.
If the fog comes rolling in, conditions can quickly become very gusty and turbulent so be aware. Also if you become overpowered, you may want to consider two other and safer landing options depending on where you are, rather than attempting to come in at the main beach launch. If you have been kiting upwind, you may want to consider coming in at the upper beach on the other side of the breakwater jetty as the beach is much larger, or if you are downwind there's an even larger beach at the east end after the rocks end. As with many locations, consider all the hazards and conditions and what your plan will be if you become overpowered or experience equipment failure.
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where is this beach? It looks like point isabel but I surely couldn't find this beach outside of the parking lot and the rocky access to the water wasn't too bad except for the fact that I got about 10 little scrapes on my foot (bringing booties next time for sure)
That place is scary. I am fully confident in most aspects of kiting with the exception of self landing-I leave room to be desired there. It is a good place to bring a kite with huge range as the wind can be light and get hairy as you get outside later in the afternoon. Also, make damn sure you have more power than less because this is a bad situation to not have enough power to get away from the beach QUICKLY! I ended up setting the worst example possible last time I went there and walked up 4 sets of slippery barnacle decorated rocks. All of which would have been avoided with more power. There are also cables sticking out of the beach, muddy jagged rocks, and a shopping cart or 2. And NO one is going to help you do shit there, you are on your own unless you are lucky. I have multiple gashes and wounds including a barnacle in my knee just from resting my weight temporarily on the rocks. I didnt even fall, just touching them wrong tore me up really good. Enough blood to get some attention. So be careful whoever goes out there! Get a xbow, new rhino or a wind wing or a kite that will be comfortable to fly in 12-25 mph without freaking out on.
yeah, I was out at point isabel yesterday and I have to say that the conditions vary a lot from minute to minute but overall it seems to be a good spot. On the other hand I went to marina bay today and had a pretty bad experience. On the first down stroke the wind went from ~20 to almost nothing so on the upstroke the kite started falling back and onto the rocks at which point the wind picked back up but before the kite had a chance to yank me out I pulled the safety. The worst part was that the safety leash on the WindWings has a safety release as well. Inadvertently I must have pulled both of them at the same time (they really should be placed at different length) and the kite was off and away. Thankfully I had a friend of mine catch the kite without causing rockus at the parking lot. Definitely not a good place to go alone.
not to step on your fun but....
its very late in the season to try out pt isabel /marina bay.
you should go early in the season to get afeel for the holie shifty mess that lives there....
yes you can steal a sestion but... it well coast ya something, mostly swin n in.sometimes drop n your kite on the rocks and chew it up. or loft and slam, not fun. soo be cool around fall, it gets more funny there with fast shoutdowns and big wind shifts. huge gust.
thanks charlie, after this little mishap, I am definitely not going back there at this time unless I see people out. I am also thinking that I literally stole a session from pt isabel. Getting out on that rocky passage felt like I was doing something wrong.
ya you and maybe 5 other people have gone from there,in the last 3years
the rest of us go to the other spot
also yesterday i saw some other kiters out but i could not get out,i left the beach too late a few strokes and i came in down the way a bit.
" kite in hand when i hit the......rocks...!?
Self launching and landing at Marina Bay can be done with a HEAVY sandbag off of grass in park, avoiding the potentially devastating results of a launch gone bad on the bayside beach, (which is BARELY 30meters long, and surrounded by razor sharp rocks). When launching in park: BE SURE to bring barset back to where you flip the kite on its back and sandbag it down, put one knee on wingtip by where sandbag is resting, then attach kite leash ONLY, and walk to correct launch angle, hook on chicken loop and go!. This method assures no runaway kite endangering other park users!, as this being a fairly gusty higher wind spot, your kite can dislodge it's self from sandbag. Also, launching is not reccomended unless you are well powered up so as to retain positive control of kite. If wind drops while you are out, it is MUCH safer (and cleaner), to land at south beach on reeds, and walk the four blocks up bike trail to launch site, thereby not risking dropping kite on other park users or rocks, or put kite in water and self rescue if all else fails!.
i do not recamend luaching in the park.
there are lots of kids and family in the park, its a park.
then you have to walk your kite ,a ways to the water,
and cross the BAY TRAIL.
also this spot is kind a trickey,you should have a buddy.
and then i think your talking about landing down wind at the north east beach?! a south beach would be, albany bulb 2 miles upwind?
Don, walking the kite over the bay trail can be difficult by your self, because as you walk away from the park you are shelterd from the wind and as you reach the trail you are fully exposed to it.
Last season I was helping Steve to the beach in the harbor and the gust of wind almost took both of us away.
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