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I think a ranking system is a bad idea. There are a lot of people out there who view harder ranked things as a challenge they must beat before they are ready. Just look at the number of people you see sliding down The Wall at Kirkwood on their asses as an example. If someone were to take that attitude to kiting challenging spots, they would be putting themselves, possibly bystanders and access to the spot at risk.
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Well, I still don't see how Sherman could possibly be put in the same category as Ocean Beach, but I guess that just points out why such a rating system is useless.
Also, you really can't compare this to skiing and snowboarding. With snow sports the terrain itself is the challenge. When I was into it, I did indeed look at the ranking of trails. I stayed the heck away from intermediate and beginner trails because they were boring and more dangerous due to inattentive kooks, huge disparities in speed and ability, and crowds. In this kiteboard site ranking scenario, an expert ranking is not something you would necessarily seek out. When you are trying out your new super duper mega kite loop handlepass backwards 720 whatever, do you want to do that somewhere with freighters, strong currents, wind shadows, and difficult self-rescue options or do you want to do it along a nice sandy beach with buttery smooth water, etc?
The ski hill difficulty rank doesn't map directly to what Ramsey suggested, as you point out it's apples and oranges. But, ski hill rank works better than breaking down a site into multiple numbers because homogenizing spots down into a simple set of numbers is going to give people the wrong idea. Each spot's quirks are qualitative, not quantitive.
There are plenty of similar spots that *could* fit into some sort of ranking system, but that doesn't eliminate the need to do some homework before launching somewhere new, either by talking to locals, googling a lot, or both. A number doesn't help anything.
Thor29, I was just explaining my thought process. I think a ranking system is pretty useless as well. And I certainly wouldn't be doing any new super duper mega kite loop handlepass backwards 720 at crissy by the north tower.
Alameda is probably the most dangerous on that list there are people fishing for shark fin soup and carrying big knifes to cut their fins.
When you call the police on them the police says they cant do anything. Cause it s their right.
And remind you the tens of very Well trained students( 1 kite to 9 student ratio) that got a great deal on last years brand new 12m Naish Torches for only 1699$that are water ready while holding their bar from the lines. Every year I rescue handful of 12m torches and guys tangled in lines there this season hasn't been different so far.
Golden gate is so safe with people that put flowers in their hair, and great guys looking after everyone where Coast guard does the most epic rescues daily, compared to Alameda they had tens of law enforcement a few years back watched a person drown and never moved because the water was too dangerous.
For anyone who can go upwind most of these spots are safe. if one has a launching problem well they got to go back to basics. On twintip s. I d be a bit careful not to go on big days for waves but , there is only one way to learn and thats respectful conservative trial and possible error.
Sherman can be dangerous due to the red Neckage situation sometimes depending on weekends.
Berkeley, when you are alone or with a few good friends is an amazing spot.
Ocean Beach .Coooooooold.
Alameda should be the first, 3 rd is along there I say.
Just finished a double gt in the hotel bar at the end of a week in Chitown at a trade show.......read this thread on my phone and returned to my hotel room to put in my two cents.
I quite agree with Ramsey that a ranking like that used in skiing would be useful. Problem is that the operator of the resort is the one that (subjectively) decides which ranking to put on their run to limit their liability (at least I think that's how they do it) and it's impossible to think that we would get any kind of agreement on what ranking these public kiting spots should have.
Plus.....all you have to do is look at the knuckleheads that push past the skull and crossbones to get onto chair 10 at kirkwood and then quiver in fear at the top to know that such a rating system would not keep somebody from getting in over their head.
So yeah it might be good to have such a rating system and posting at sites but honestly it's just a mental exercise as it will never happen.
The resources we have on this forum are there for anybody with enough self preservation in hand to educate themselves about the hazards of local spots. Any non-local that goes out without talking to somebody about hazards first is a fool and (to be harsh) is on the wrong end of Darwinism.
As opined before, there is no way to make this an idiot proof sport or to remove the inherent hazards it entails. Aint gonna happen.
But I can't wait to get back to it tmrw.
Well ladies and gentleman...
Someone has already done it! A system identical to what Ramsey envisioned already exists for us.
No Black Diamond (single or double) rating for Sherman! But I would like to see a Skull & Crossbones / Experts Only sign at Sherman. Maybe those that show up there for the first time would see this threatening sign and would be more inclined to speak with the locals instead of keeping to themselves like I often see, and then F'ing up the program (like the guy with the Cabrinha kite did this last weekend). This could hold especially true for all the foreigners visiting SI for the first time and/or those that still don't know about the internet!
OB is rated "beginner".
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Shadow Cliffs Recreational Area:
*Snack Bar Alert
Super difficult launch especially if you a sporting a 12 due to asphalt launch pad with large oak tree obstacles and wind shadows. Launch difficulty reduced to 3 if you have a friend to place you kite out on the water for a water relaunch. Once out on the water smooth sailing ahead with nothing but glass. There exists aluminum boat docks suitable for grinding purposes. Friendly people and even a snack bar. Must not enter designated swim zone, dump a kite in adjacent mining plant, or have any motorized vehicles of any type on the lake
Very Dangerous water approach. Requires climbing down rocks to access water with kite in the air. If wind prevails you may take a 1 km journey to Golden Gate Fields "Racetrack" to land kite or water land kite prior to climbing back up rocks. West facing waters showcase concrete wall riding surfaces. For all levels of kiters it is extremely easy to launch your kites due to launch well kept grassy fields. This makes this ideal for teaching people how to fly kites. There are trails traversing a multitude of directions enabling beginners to take static flying to a dynamic level by hopping onto an all terrain mountainboard. Watch out for dog dungs, neighboring paraglider beginners, RC pilot airspace, and endangered CA Tiger salamanders.
*Inverse Moat Alert
Requires launching your kite from another location and sailing to the rock perimeter surrounding the smoothest patch of isolated water in East Bay post-shadowed by castle ruins. To access water one must possess aerial clearance abilities to pass 3 feet of vertical height and 7 feet horizontal distance.
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