California Distance Kiting

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California Distance Kiting

Postby tomf82 » Wed May 16, 2018 12:03 pm

I’d love to do a long distance downwinder this summer. Crissy to Sherman is one idea. I’m not really sure where to start planning-wise. Looming questions include:
—What is the macro-meteorological conditions that would make this route blow all the way through? Does it even happen? What month is most likely for this to occur?
—Are there any known impasses(e.g.wind shadows) that would make this impossible?
—Objective hazards: losing power in shipping lanes/boat traffic, getting stranded, hazardous exit points, physical challenges(fatigue, exposure). Am I missing anything?

One idea I had for planning was to go out and kite all the sections to get the lay of the land.

Open to any and all suggestions, including other big West Coast downwinders. Im competent on a foil and am open to ideas that go the distance but aren’t downwind.
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Re: California Distance Kiting

Postby reyrivera » Wed May 16, 2018 4:47 pm

It's been done before by L.M.G. (RIP) back in the day, all by himself, ..., maybe the peeps he spoke with could chime in on details.
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Re: California Distance Kiting

Postby hg_ » Wed May 16, 2018 8:04 pm

reyrivera wrote:It's been done before by L.M.G. (RIP) back in the day, all by himself, ..., maybe the peeps he spoke with could chime in on details.

An LMG classic post worthy of another read...

To tell this story I must first make a few corrections:
First I was supported- I was wearing a seat harness, which in conjunktion with my full suit acted kinda like a jock strap...
Truthfully, my friend Dave and his trusty dog Andy were their for me.. Dave dropped me off at Crissy and was hanging out later at Sherman to give me a ride home.
I didn't have a dry bag- the only things that stayed dry were my cell phone which was wrapped in three zip-lock bags and my lunch which was wrapped in one...
There were no cloths or shoes with me, in fact Dave had pretty much everything I brought for the night... What I carried was a cell, a radio, my lunch which consisted of a P.P.J. and two Powerbars, also I had a full bag of Gaterade in my Camelbak..
For a ride I choose a 10' long board. The reason I choose this perticular board was two fold.. First I'd never ridden it and second because I knew I could paddle it for miles if nessarry.. In fact all I'd done on that board was paddle it and I wanted to know what it felt like to stand up on... So it's first ride was about 70 miles, it rode pretty well.
For a kite I choose a 10m Fuel.. The kite I knew was going to be key to success. What I wanted was a kite with good power but not to much. It had to be fast and agile with easy relaunching, The Fuel proved perfect- also I happened to own it!
The ride was more of a reconnaissance mission then anything else.. You see my goal was not just to ride to Reo but to one day make it a RACE.. I'd been thinking for YEARS of doing this ride with a few friends but I never really had any friends that were up for a day of kiting that was most likely going to end in defeat.... So I figured I best run the course myself before I sucked a friend or two into ruining there day too.
What the ride was like was... pretty mellow. I wanted to go under every bridge starting with the Golden Gate and end the ride at Reo.. Well the long board proved a bit harder to ride then expected.. Being strapeless, never having stood up on the thing and all made the upwind tack seem darn near impossable.. After about 45 minutes of plugging away at the up-wind I gave up only about 3/4 of the way up to the bridge.. (So there you go!! Someone is actually going to complete the REAL ride someday, 7 Bridges!!)
Anyway I turned tail and rode my trusty plank down wind and rounded Point Blunt and took a wide angle to not fall pray to the hugh wind shadow of Angel Island. I headed due North somewhere off of Mariana. After barely making the San Matio Bridge on one tack I entered the fastest wind of the day.. About his point I was a bit worried that I had to much kite.. Riding pretty lit unstrapped in larger swell with a tanker under my feet was somewhat worrysome.. Anyway I passed that section and things chilled quite a bit.
The next set of bridges were interesting... Where the C&H Sugar factory is the wind is very strange, it actually is swerling in that area and I managed to ride, under power, in a complete circle. This area will prove to be one of the biggest problems for future riders.
The next set of bridges was a group of three.. This area was VERY TRICKY! After making the first bridge I had to fly under a very low train tressel bridge with my kite turning sidways in less then 30 or so feet.. I somehow flipped my kite in the sky a couple of times under this structure and gleefully survived airborn only to drop the kite a moment later in the backwash rotor just past this massive obstical.. With my kite now on the water I floated past the next bridge and didn't find any wind for quite some time...
Sitting on my board, riding the current up river, I looked toward a giant section of glassy water.. So I pulled out my lunch and eat... As I sat eating I started to think the day might be over.. But thankfully the current was working FOR me.. This was not luck, for luck is the residue of design... My entire trip had been planned around the currents.. I knew that the only salvation to wind holes and bridges and rotors was going to be keeping moving further up stream in the event I couldn't keep my kite airborn.. Well as I sat there for perhaps an hour I began to think I may be spending the night riding the river on my butt... But I knew if I could move far enough up stream I'd find wind again,, and I did.
Around the Mothball fleet fingers of wind were hitting the surface again and I managed to relaunch my kite.. From there on I rode into progressivly better wind.
Entering the Delta I made my first and only real mistake. I rode into the wrong area and ended up having to spend about an hour tacking back up wind to get out of what seemed like a dead end... Those of you that have ventured into the Sluews know that this area is a mase of waterways with numerious potential pitfalls.. The worst case would be to drop your kite back in the reeds and never be able to relaunch.. I have helped others out of this situation, WHILE flying my own kite- I've jumped and bumped and crawled myself back into the reeds to try to relaunch the other persons kite.. This kind of situation proves nearly impossable... but where there is a will- there is a way... We did it TOGETHER... Anyway this time I was alone and in an area that I didn't know.. The only signs of life were some shotgun shacks that I'd past and so I knew tis area was going to be my home for a while IF I didn't manage to get back out.. So I did.
Back on the main river again I rode down the center of the river and charged up stream because the day was drawing to a close.. About an hour before sundown I passed the crew playing at Sherman.. I hung around for a minute or two and waved Hello to the guys ripping up Second Island and proceeded to Reo..
At about sundown I dropped my kite and floated under the Reo bridge.. I was a bit surrprissed the Bridge operator didn't lift the span for me but I figured what the hell. and charged the bridge! just as I got to the bridge I dropped the kite and dragged now against the current past the bridge and self rescued to shore..
Once on shore I rolled up and went to Micky-De's and called my friend for a pick up.. He didn't ansure so I began to hitch hike.. After a while a kiter came by with a car.. He aggred to drive me back even though he was intending to go home.. We stashed my board in Sheldons backyard and drove back to Sherman where I partied tell I dropped... That might have been half an hour-

So the moral of the story is: WE CAN DO IT!! All we need is a PLAN and an oppertunity to put the pieces in place when Mother Nature provides....

Many THANKS to my friend Dave and his trusty dog Andy-
Enjoy, L.M.G.
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