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Should the Sherman Island Kiteboarding launch facilities be upgraded?
A part of me says no, as minimalism is part of the kiting ethos: minimal equipment to maximally control nature’s forces; minimal impact on the environment; minimal dependence on others to do your own thing. Crowds of people engaged in an extreme sport in tight quarters with relatively few mishaps is a testament to the control, flexibility, and general safety of the sport that amazes observing visitors. Why encourage beginners and kiting tourists to add to the already crowded parking situation at Sherman?
But as I see the ever increasing numbers, I’ve concluded change is necessary, or we’ll all be out.
As I think about what to do, it’s good to start with the ideal facility:
1. A side-shore water start zone long enough for ingress/egress at multiple sites each direction.
2. A water-start and ingress/egress area free from obstacles or entangling debris, with a smooth yet non-slippery surface and gradual slope.
3. Absence of other water users, dangerous obstacles or puncturing objects immediately downwind from the water-start area.
4. A rigging area with ample room for the anticipated volume of kiters, and free of entangling debris or puncturing objects.
5. A large kite launch area without turbulence-inducing structures immediately upwind or obstacles that could that could catch a line and mal-launch a drifting kite, and without dangerous obstacles or public congregation areas immediately downwind.
So how do you get closer to that at Sherman? My solution would involve significant changes that would require a large amount of money; input from highly qualified consultants; input and cooperation from SIKA and the kiting community in general; cooperation with the Sacramento County Parks Department and other government agencies; legal consultants for environmental and liability issues, etc.
I have heard there are funds being made available for Delta conservation and recreation projects through mitigation of impacts associated with the Peripheral Canal project being developed to bypass water around The Delta for the California Aqueduct.
Having just spent another busy Independence Day at the Event Site in Hood River, there may be some lessons that could apply to Sherman. Over time the Columbia Gorge Kiteboarding Association (CGKA) has worked with the Port and CGWA to gain larger access to the river with the main focus being safety for all. For a few days surrounding the fireworks the sandbar (kite launching area which was naturally formed ~11/06) is flooded for fire safety, so kiters are allowed to launch and land in the downwind 1/3 of the Event Site. (Normally this is only in off-season and pump-and-dry only is allowed in this grassy area - no running of lines). This year there were two 'lanes' painted on the grass and arrows showing intended traffic flow. There were also several locals on hand (Yeah Bob!) to keep tourists informed of potential danger and kiters encouraged to quickly move lines and kites out of the lanes. Launching is a little trickier with a shadow (similar to the lower launch at 3rd at times) and a tree down-wind (and tourists, unleashed dogs, and beginner windsurfers), but it seemed to be working really well during the times I was there. There are also instructional signs for kiting and windsurfing there (though I personally don't put a great deal of faith in signs in general).
I haven't been to Sherman in forever (windsurf daze!) but just offering this up - the 'painted lanes' thing seems to have been a key feature.
I like that sherman is not beginner friendly. I never had a problem on a week day: never more than 6 of us in the water, even on days it's blowing 30+.
I was there a few weeks ago with a friend: we had the water for ONLY the 2 of us for a whole hour between 11 am and noon and it was blowing mid 20s.
I guess that's why I don't see the point of changing anything?
I guess weekends are busier and get sketchier... I wouldn't know. I was there on a saturday morning last year, it definitely got busier but I preferred it to a busy saturday at 3rd upper launch or even ANY WINDY DAY at alameda!
I think the fact that it is not beginner friendly makes it a lot safer.
Besides the usual d**b*ss people, who are throwing tricks so close to the beach that when they crash the kite lands almost on the bush next to the trashcan, I like sherman the way it is.
I just wish we had a shower...
Thinking of your ideas, it seems like the easiest thing would be to fill in the gap between the beach and the first tiny island upwind. This would make a long enough side-on beach to land and launch from and probably would be your cheapest option.
But again, I might just create the KSTWIIC (Keep Sherman The Way It Is Comity) to fight against your project.
Kites: 2017 F-One Bandit: 8m. 2017 F-One Breeze 11m.
Board: 2015 F-One 5'10 Mitu convertible
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Manera 5/4/3 X10D
Another vote to keep Sherman like it is. The only thing I would add is a sign maybe to show proper rotation in and out of the water as I saw lots of confusion with people cutting in front of others trying to get out on the water. Making it easier for beginners to get out will lead to them being taken down wind where it is very sketchy to get out of the water. The launch is not the only reason why Sherman is not a beginners area. I agree a shower would be nice (and at Dillon too ) The great thing about kiting is being able to take your gear and do it anywhere without having a whole facility created for it.
It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind. T.S.Eliot
As a long time kiter I'd like to commend you for FORWARD THINKING, I think it's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for kiters to PLAN AHEAD, however We need to REMEMBER that the launch area is part of a reserve...
The ONLY REASON the back launch area is the size it is currently is because of CARELESS FISHERMAN who accidently CAUSED A BRUSH FIRE that burned most of the underbrush and killed a significant amount of the brush it's self. Aa a result, a large portion of the burn area has been CLEARED OUT and MOWED to provide ADDITIONAL SPACE FOR RIGGING...
As I see it the biggest problem kiters face is KITERS NOT INTERACTING WELL WITH OTHER KITERS... This has always been a big challenge because WE ARE INDEPENDENT PEOPLE who LIKE OUR OWN SPACE. I understand this because I'm exactly the same and HATE NOT HAVING A CLEAR LAUNCH AREA... CLEAN/CLEAR PATH, and 'Kooks' that FAIL TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!
So I'll use an old slogan to make my point, 'The Solution to POLLUTION is NOT DILUTION!!' Definition of 'Dilution'. A reduction in the ownership percentage of a share of stock caused by the issuance of new stock.
My point is this: We HAVE PLUNTY of SPACE, We simply need to MAKE BETTER USE OF IT. Many of your points involve CLEANING UP, THATS A GREAT IDEA (and it costs NO MONEY nor does it involve CHANGING THE ENVIRONMENT) Environment may refer to: Environment (biophysical), the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism ...
I believe in my Heart of Hearts that WE REALLY NEED to FOCUS ON: COOPERATION & CONSIDERATION-
Sherman is NOT A BEGINNER FRIENDLY KITE SPOT.
- Newbies NEED TO LEARN BEACH SKILLS ELSEWHERE. Yes, taking lessons with the instructors up a Kitopia is a GOOD IDEA!! But starting out a Sherman (on your own) is a REALLY BAD IDEA .
- ALL Kiters NEED TO STACK THEIR KITES, ROLL UP THEIR LINES and REMOVE EXCESS
- All Kiters NEED TO RESPECT THE PUT-IN!! (thats the 'area inside the bouys' many of the 'PRO'S' like to use as their JUMP ZONE) Jump WELL OUTSIDE or move your BULLSHIT to the OUT ISLANDS WHERE IT BELONGS!!! People are using the beach to Launch and Land, Lay out in the sun, Play with their dogs, Allow their KIDS TO PLAY, ETC>>> as well as KITERS GETTING OFFSHORE!! If you want your picture taken: TELL THE CAMERAMAN to BUY A BIGGER LENS-
Anyway: I wont bother ENFORCING MY IDEAS or RAMMING MY IDEALS DOWN EVERYONES THROAT... Kiters will either LEARN TO GET ALONG, look for a new place to play, or buy their own boat-
+1 for leaving it the way it is.
+2 for cap lock
One thing that annoys me are the screams to save the environment if kiters want an access or improve an access, as though that will destroy the Bay/Delta sensitive ecosystem.
Meanwhile oil refineries, chemical companies, shipping companies, salt processors, farmers, hunters, fishermen, cruise companies, yacht clubbers, boaters, water deliverers, and sewage processors dominate the waters and shoreline.
I often kite at the Oroville Wildlife Area/Thermalito Afterbay, and the waterfowl have become quite tame to the kiters. This spring I whistled at a passing Bald Eagle, and it swooped over and followed me across the lake 100 feet above my kite.
There needs to be some balance.
just because you were there this weekend and freaked out doesnt mean the place needs to be expanded.
i got some really good 12m sessions. Out when few people were out. Came in when everyone went out, coincidentally during the flood and worst wind. Funny crowd. I would say people did NOT stack up their kites they just parked everywhere. That needs addressing.
Thurs and Fri the were more non-kiters than kiters. No need for drastic, expensive (unrealistic) changes. Leave it alone, or it will get reaaaaaally crowded.
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