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Credit to friggen old guy: Winter winds in the Bay Area tend to be frontally driven, and you get warmer southerly winds coming in with storms and colder....usually REALLY cold....clearing winds out of the NW after those storms pull through.
"Normal" winds during the spring and summer season are generated by thermal lows inland with high pressure offshore, resulting in reliable winds out of the NW.
Winter winds are generally more sketchy and gusty regardless of direction. This particular low pressure system passing down the west coast this week looks to be generating something a bit more similar to summer wind direction/flow and probably a bit warmer than clearing winds we see this time of year. Be careful and check with locals before you go out to ask for what to watch for.....often times you'll see these winds tweak towards the north, especially at the tail end as the system passes through. That can do some weird stuff so don't be complacent.
Most folks who live here in the Bay Area head to La Ventana for our wind fix(es) this time of year...
That's right... kiteboarding is only for rich folks. Gotta be able to pay for thousands of dollars of gear, take off in the middle of the day when the wind is blowing, and if it isn't you just fly to where it is blowing. All that and if you live here you also have to pay the exorbitant rent or mortgage. No wonder I hardly ever see any young kiters in the Bay Area. It's pretty much just a bunch of rich old guys.
Now don't get mad - you guys are okay for a bunch of one-percenters. (Okay, I'm ducking behind my flame wall now).
I guess wind and the lack of it in the winter is not as obvious as snow and the lack of it summer.
Quite normal to travel to go skiing so I don't see the big deal to travel to get a wind fix. A winter trip to Baja or San Padre is not that expensive if you plan ahead.
As for the gear, used market is pretty reasonable with kites 1-2 years old about 1/3 cost new.
We're very fortunate to live in an area where one can kite year round. That doesn't mean that it will be reliably windy year round, or accessible to all skill levels, but some people do.
I'm not trying to be exclusive here, but based on your posting history I assume you're pretty new to kiting. People here are (or at least I am) going to be a little hesitant to answer your questions of "Where can I go kite in the off season" because we don't know how well you kite and don't want to have information come across as approval for you to head out when you shouldn't or without all variables being known. For example, there were some pictures posted recently of some gnarly action down on the coast. No one wants to say "Hey, head to the coast if you want to score next month" and have you go out in some 10 meter 3xOH waves.
Just to elaborate on some of the previous posts, winds this time of year are driven from storms passing through. There will be some hints in weather forecasts leading up to the event but generally you have to be ready to go as winds can be flukey and short lived. And/Or REALLY strong. And/Or REALLY light. And/Or a weird direction.
The season starts picking up in the Spring, say March or April, and this is the best time to visit Alameda. This is still storm driven but they roll through more frequently. If you already have an www.ikitesurf.com account you can look at some of the historical data. For example http://www.ikitesurf.com/windandwhere.iws?regionID=125&siteID=219&Isection=Wind+Yesterday
Realistically don't expect to get out until the season starts firing up later in the Spring. If you're really windhorny, look into traveling (Baja, etc) or maybe Utah for some snowkiting (no snow in Tahoe!)
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