Alameda daily go/no go

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Alameda daily go/no go

Postby alexglebov » Wed May 31, 2017 1:27 pm

I think this topic might be useful to advanced beginner kiters who are learning in Alameda. There are a lot of kiteboarders who just past the water starts, but not going up wind yet who can use advice from our seasoned experts on the daily wind conditions at Alameda. For example last Monday was a challenging day with on shore and gusty wind which was kite-able, but challenging for people trying to learn staying up wind. I would personally have greatly appreciated an advice on that day from the expert and stayed home. Yes, I checked Boardsports website, camera feed, Facebook, Windfinder, iKitesurf and I have pro subscription with pro forecasts. Today looks good on Windfinder site and iKitesurf pro forecast 17-21 mph and 15-19 kts, but on iKitesurf app it is 11-21mph. I have a full quiver of kites, so no problem here. It would be so helpful to get a go/no-go advice on a daily basis for Alameda.
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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby LukeMilner » Wed May 31, 2017 1:46 pm

I could use such advice. "Mid teens" in the Pro Forecast seems to mean 50/50 whether the wind ever breaks 10kts, and I've watched the forecast graphs collapse before my eyes after I already drove an hour to get there.
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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby reyrivera » Wed May 31, 2017 2:08 pm

Alameda is always a crapshoot, one of the hardest places to make wind predictions.

This afternoon should be a good day to go there.

Since I'm a foiler newbie, I will be riding there once again on a daily basis.

Stuff I learned while kiting in Alameda during summer:

1) Its always going to be light wind, My main kites there are 12 and 15 meter (I'm 170 lbs). On 10 to 15 mph days, I could ride on a 12 or 15 meter kite and a 8 foot surfboard. Yes, I bought a CostCo 8 foot surfboard. If your 15 meter kite can stay up in the air, you can ride a surfboard and go upwind.

2) Wind starts picking up at around 4 pm, so you will have about an hour or two winds before it starts tapering off to non kite-able conditions.

3) If it is hot in the valley (Concord, Walnut Creek, Pittsburgh area), and there is no high pressure system pressing against Oakland, then at around 4 pm, the cold winds will come gushing through for a couple of hours or so.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby alexglebov » Wed May 31, 2017 5:03 pm

Thank you, Rey. From Boardsports website, it looks like good wind direction, but still gusty 17-23 mph. It would be great if we can get reports from people who went there today - how was the wind quality today?
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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby NorCalNomad » Wed May 31, 2017 7:40 pm

Was fun today.

I'd say the worse conditions for learning/ progressing at the start is when it's super gusty. 10knts difference isn't that fun even if you know what you're doing, and can be detrimental to learning.
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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby sflinux » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:30 am

For beginners, the best advice I can give you is to rig for the gusts. IMO, being on a smaller kite will give you more freedom to fly the kite and learn how to generate power from the kite, rather than the opposite and just sheeting in/out on the bar. The other plus of a smaller kite is it will encourage you to keep the kite moving, which will minimize hindenburgs. Never expect the wind to be consistent on any given day, change your gear as conditions warrant. If you can't comfortably loop the kite, than you have too much power imo. Have a couple boards for the varying conditions, and I agree with Rey longboards work great in light winds (especially at low tide, or high kelp areas, when hydrofoils no longer work). I've ridden 9', 8', and currently ride a (Guild Factor 0.75) 7'6" Egg (width is more important than length). If I had to pick 3 kite sizes for alameda it would be 7/10/15 (205#). When in doubt, rig smaller.
As a beginner, I would encourage you to step down in size as to what other guys on the same type of board as you are riding. When you see a kite in the sky, look to see what kind of board they are riding. Also look to see how much they are working the kite or just parking the kite, that will tell you if they are on the appropriate size kite for the conditions. In my experience, for matching power of a kite to board, I would say that to match the power of a rider with a twintip, a guy on a surfboard can be one size smaller, and a guy on a hydrofoil can be one size smaller than the surfboard rider (two sizes smaller than the twintip).
If in doubt buy a wind meter (i.e. Hall) and measure the wind before and after each session. Keep a log book and keep notes of your sessions. Look at ikitesurf graph afterwords and note your session (appropriately powered).
Tide is another important factor that will affect what size kite is right for the wind conditions. Look at the tide conditions before you go so you know what to expect. I am in the habit of rigging small, expecting the conditions to increase. If they don't then I comfortably change to a bigger kite (already knowing the current conditions).
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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby alexglebov » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:26 pm

Rigging a smaller kite and use a surfboard is a great idea. I am thinking now about buying a surfboard and start playing around with one. My original post was inspired by advice from this post:

BayAreaKite wrote:My first tip is not an advertisement; it is a serious recommendation to all kiters to learn about the wind. I have found that the best way to learn about the wind and conditions here in the Bay Area is to subscribe to the pro forecast of iKitesurf. Upgrading your subscription is a small price to pay, especially when factoring the other costs of this sport. Doing so however will help you generate a wealth of knowledge about our local winds, and make better decisions on when and where to kite. Personally, I feel I pay off my subscription in gas money savings alone. However, the most valuable benefit is by far my safety. Almost every night, my wife and I read the forecast, and look at computer models for the following day. Even on days we don't kite, which sadly far outnumber the days we do. We constantly compare the forecast with actual, and look at conditions at our favorite spots to understand the type of whether patterns that lead to fun sessions as opposed to survival kiting. This time of year, we always avoid what we call the "spring nuker days." We were out of town this weekend, but looking at the various graphs showed conditions that are typical to those spring nuker days.
nuker.jpg

Above is a screenshot of the pro forecast the morning of a spring nuker day. When it looks like this, we don't kite. Sure, it's easy to get excited about the wind, especially at a place like Alameda, but it's best to avoid these days. We are so lucky in the Bay Area to have steady thermal winds for nearly 6 months, we don't need to kite crazy frontals or clearing winds. Even as advanced kiters, we do not go out in these conditions. Admittedly, my wife is small and is often overpowered on our 6m even in normal conditions, but I personally don't enjoy the chaos of the launch and kiting in fear when it is so gusty and shifty. It is just not worth the risks to kite in conditions like this, ESPECIALLY if you are fairly new to the sport, and/or do not have the right equipment.

Again, this is not an advertisement for iKitesurf, it is a very serious recommendation that if you're going to become a safe kiter, you need to familiarize yourself with the wind and weather. Think of yourself as a pilot, and pilots don't fly without knowing the weather. It is a small investment, and you can save $20 your first year by joining through the link at the footer of this page. Full disclosure: BAK does get a small referral bonus, which simply helps cover the cost of running and hosting this site. I had a membership long before I took over BAK so this is an honest recommendation in the interest of the safety of our community and sport.


I think it would be helpful for beginners to get this on more regular basis. Today forecast on iKitesurf for Alameda Grand is 13-22 mph, similar to yesterday and Pro Forecast for Alameda gives 12-16 kts. Looks like another great day.
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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby AAADiver » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:51 pm

Great posts! My buddy and I are complete newbies and could really use your expert guidance. We only have the weekends as we're an hour away. We've definitely socialized more than we've kited in Alameda but that's a great part of the experience too. Making trips more productive would really help our skills and relationships with our wives!! :-) Thx again!


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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby reyrivera » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:20 pm

Was fun again today in Alameda.

Once again, to all beginners, please pay attention to what you are doing.

I was in a hurry wrapping up my gear around Shell Gate late for an appointment, this one beginner decides to rig and self launch there. As I was running to grab my stuff he somewhat rudely interrupted me and wanted me to teach him how to self launch. Dickhead move.

First, he set up his kite and tried to attach the bar to the fence. Second, I noticed he crossed his outside lines. I ended up giving him a quick lesson which led me to miss my appointment. I guess I saved him a trip to the hospital.

Please do not launch by yourself if you do not know what you are doing. Go to a spot where there are people that can help you.

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Re: Alameda daily go/no go

Postby alexglebov » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:58 am

The last two days the pro forecast from iKitesurf was spot on and with a good direction too. Let's see if it continues to be true today: 10-14 kts 4-5:30pm, 12-16 kts after 5:30pm. So, maybe a go. Any other opinions?
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