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SF Bay Area KiteBeach
 


SF Bay - Report
Alameda Crowne Beach
Bodega Bay
Collinsville
Coyote Point
Crissy Field
Franks Tract
Half Moon Bay
Larkspur
Limanteur
Mandeville Island
Marsh Lands
Moffet Field
Ocean Beach
Palo Alto Harbor
Sherman Island Access
3rd Ave
Treasure Island
Waddel Creek
Windy Cove, Brannen Island

Introduction to Tides
Tides and currents affect each beach in a unique manner. Generally, slack-when the tide is high or low, have little or no current. Slack is nice since tides are less of a factor. Slack going into an ebb-when the tide is moving out of the bay toward the open ocean is usually best, since, the tide begins to slowly increase it's ebb flow and the added current affect improves your ability to go upwind becuase the current is pulling you upwind.

Overall, some beaches are better at highest tide since no muddy bottom or rocks are exposed however, other beach locations, such as those in the Delta rivers like Sherman Island improve as the tide is lower exposing more sand and thus more beach area to launch kites.

Tides generally change about 4 times a day here in the Bay Area. The Sun and Moon’s gravitational pull cause the water to be pulled in alignment with their orbit. The tide change occurs about 45 minutes later each day. Always check the tide charts and know what the predictions are in order to understand where the water is going. If you're new to a beach, ask locals to tell you anything they may know about the tides.

Gathering mariner info will improve your ability to understand and predict conditions. Tide information may be downloaded to your palm pilot as noted on our palm tools page. and www.ikitesurf.com has graphical tide and up-to-the-minute wind charts for review plus even more beach info. A safety guide and launch info is published at SFKitesurfing.com. Email OOTO to let us know how we are doing. We appreciate corrections and additions.

3rd Ave, San Mateo Bridge, CA

Conditions
3rd has some of the most consistently windy conditions on the SF Bay. Wind ranges from 15-30 knots. With stronger winds in Spring. Summer months bring consistent winds around 15-20 knots.

Current
3rd Ave’s main beach is nestled in a cove that is protected from strong currents. However,bay tides affect the launch conditions dramatically since there is exposed mud at low tide making for an unpleasant launch. Ebb tide conditions present chop and very large swell toward the channel. Flood tides are not bad since the beach is in a cove and currents aren’t strong on the inside near the beach. Be wary of landing at low tide in the dark marshy mud.

Summary
3rd is an awesome kite beach with a great crowd. There is a launch upwind for beginners to practice downwind runs and 3 beaches downwind. The windsurfers separate themselves from the kiters with a separate launch area! There are 3 last ditch beaches before you’ll get sucked under the San Mateo Bridge, if you miss the last ditch beach you’re really screwed.

The rocky shore can make for tough unplanned landings. If you do come in on the rocks land your kite over the levee and in the bushy marsh. It’s best to carefully land on the sandy beach. The point in front of the parking lot is freestyle mecca. It’s on eof the best places to practice tricks in the entire Bay Area. The flat water provides excellent launch area. There are many kiters and MOST are quite friendly and helpful.

There is a high kook factor since most people are working stiffs and not hardcore. There is more safety equipment here than the Gorge and Maui combined. 3rd is the kitebeach of the technology workers who tend show up as early as 2-3pm and sail til’ dark. A strong community exists. Be nice and 3rd Ave kiters will be nice back.

Occasionally a dark smelly seaweed develops in the launch area so be careful to keep your lines out of the water when launching and landing.

Directions
From: North Bay and northern East Bay: Go south across the Golden Gate Bridge: Take 19th Ave off ramp 1 mile past bridge. Pass through Golden Gate Park and later past San Francisco State and then merge onto Hwy. 280. After several miles take the 380 off ramp heading east. Merge with Hwy 101 heading south and pass SFO airport. Then take the 3rd Avenue off ramp and head towards the Bay. Third Avenue becomes "J Hart Clinton Drive" a few blocks east of the freeway, then turns and follows the shoreline going southeast. After the main parking for the golf driving range, turn left at the middle of the range, then right into the windsurfing parking lot.

From East Bay: Go across the Bay Bridge then merge with Hwy 101 heading south and pass SFO airport. Then follow the instructions above.

From North of Santa Cruz: Go north on Hwy. 1 to Half Moon Bay Go east on Hwy. 92 over the coast range and at Hwy. 280 go south. After a few miles take the Hwy. 92 off ramp going East. Continue on Hwy. 92 until you near the Bay. Before the San Mateo Bridge take Hwy. 101 north. Then take the 3rd. Ave. off ramp and follow the instructions above.

From Santa Cruz: Go east on Hwy 17 then north on Hwy 280. Then east on Hwy. 92. Continue on Hwy. 92 until you near the Bay. Before the San Mateo Bridge take Hwy. 101 north then take 3rd Ave. and follow instructions above.

Crissy Field, CA

Conditions
Crissy Field is one of the aesthetic wonders of the world. The view from the water to the city is one of the finest views of San Francisco. The conditions are often windy however several factors make for difficult conditions. The wind is excellent when it is west. Predominant conditions are wsw which is gusty due to nearby hills. If you can get off the beach, the wind improves across the bay, especially at the northern edge of the Golden Gate bridge. Tides have a dramatic effect on the conditions. Ebb tides are excellent and sometimes flood tides can make for smooth water even in high wind.

The most difficult aspect is launching and landing on the gusty, narrow and sometimes crowded beach. Generally, the conditions are good for windsurfing experts and not recommended for kiting. Sailors must have a plan for emergencies as the liklihood of a problem is high.

Currents
Typically there are four tides a day changing every 4-7 hours. Tides can vary greatly across the bay with the strongest movement initiating toward shore and moving to the center. When the tide is initially flooding in the center there is a back-eddy near shore and vice versa. In any case be aware of the tide predictions but don’t be surprised by radical changes across the bay.

Summary
Crissy is one of California’s most beautiful locations. Gusty wind and strong tides make for highly challenging conditions. It is often windy and cold.

Directions
Crissy filed beach is located off marina boulevard in the Presidio of San Francisco. Take 101 north to Lombard and turn right on Divisidero prior to the Golden Gate on ramp. Follow Divisidero to Marina blvd. and turn left on Marina into the Presidio. Turn right into Crissy Field.

Coyote Pt., CA

Conditions
Coyote Pt. Is located just southwest of the end of the runways at SF airport. The wind is often strong and good in the channel. The beach is shallow to non-existent so kiting is not common. At low tide the sand and mud bottom is exposed allowing for kiting. There is not much area to launch and there is a large rocky point to the southerly end of the beach. If you get blown downwind it is a long and difficult walk back.

Currents
Currents have less affect near the beach and increase as you come to the channel about 1-2 miles out.

Summary
Coyote Point is an excellent windsurfing beach but has limitations for kiting.

Directions
Coyote Pt. is located off hwy.101 on the peninsula near the SFO airport.

Ooto Kite School is on the beach in the building with grass and facilities. Come to the building with your stuff.

From the South Bay take 101 north past San Mateo Bridge and take Dore exit and follow the frontage road north (next to the Freeway). Turn right into Coyote Pt front gate and go straight to enter the park. Take your first left turn to the beach and follow the road until you hit the beach
or turn left to continue on the frontage road toward the humane society and ASD/S2A shop.

From: North Bay and northern East Bay: Go south across the Golden Gate Bridge: Take 19th Ave off ramp 1 mile past bridge. Pass through Golden Gate Park and later past San Francisco State and then merge onto Hwy. 280. After several miles take the 380 off ramp heading east. Merge with Hwy 101 heading south and pass SFO airport. Drive until you see Coyote Point jutting out into the Bay Then look for the Poplar off ramp. Go west on Popular Watch carefully for signs to Coyote Park. Turn Right on Idaho or Humboldt. Go one block then turn right on Peninsula Ave heading east back towards freeway. Pass over freeway. Then carefully follow signs into the park. At the entrance, pay then make a left turn and head towards the beach to park.

From Sherman Island and central East Bay: Go across the Bay Bridge then merge with Hwy 101 heading south and pass SFO airport. Then follow the instructions above.

From north of Santa Cruz: Go north on Hwy. 1 to Half Moon Bay Go east on Hwy. 92 over the coast range and at Hwy. 280 go south. After a few miles take the Hwy. 92 off ramp going East. Continue on Hwy. 92 until you near the Bay. Before the San Mateo Bridge take Hwy. 101 north. After several miles take the Dore Avenue offramp and follow the frontage road just until you pass the golf course, then turn Right. Follow the signs into the park.

From Santa Cruz: Go east on Hwy 17 then north on Hwy 280. Then east on Hwy. 92. Continue on Hwy. 92 until you near the Bay. Before the San Mateo Bridge take Hwy. 101 north. After several miles take the Dore Avenue offramp and follow the frontage road until you pass the golf course, and then turn Right. Follow the signs into the park.

Crowne Beach, Alameda, CA

Conditions
Crowne Beach in Alameda is the among the best beginner spots on the Bay. There is sandy beach nearly 3 miles long. The wind is generally moderate at 10-15 miles an hour. On occasion the wind can increase to 20 knots making it an awesome spot for kiting. Winter storms bring wind and chop that is a nice break in the winter dull-drums. The predominant direction is SW for best wind. There is grass and bathrooms available.

Currents
Currents are a factor since low tide exposes rocks but tide is not strong on the inside.

Summary
Crowne Beach in Alameda is the among the best beginner spots on the Bay. Conditions are rarely spectacular and often moderate.

Directions
From SF take Bay Bridge to 880 south and take broadway exit along 880 and follow to the tunnel into Alameda. Take Broadway to the end and turn left and then the next right along the park. Turn into Crowne Beach.

Treasure Island, CA

Conditions
T.I. receives the most consistent wind on the bay. It blows nearly constantly typically 25 knots from SW. The point conditions with side off wind make for expert only sailing. For kiters, T.I. is an extremely dangerous launch and landing.

Currents
T.I. is located practically in the channel. Currents play a big factor, although due to the shape of the island the tides are often reversed close to shore. Tides rarely are what they seem here. So for example, you can sail a flood on the inside. An ebb tide is not as influential on the inside and often has the tendency to pull away from shore. The problem is the farther you get away from the shore the true tidal affect is increased. If you are having a blast on a flood enjoying flat water on the inside and then have a problem and are pulled away from the island, the tide will begin to increase flood affect and you will pulled rapidly away from the shore to the downwind beach of Berkeley.

Summary
T.I. is an expert location with incredibly steady and strong winds. The launch, landing and sailing are extremely difficult. Do not sail alone.

Directions
From SF, take the 80 the Bay Bridge toward the East Bay. Exit on the left into T.I. Follow the road to the NE corner. You’ll see a parking lot and a launch ramp for sailing.

From East bay take 80 Bay Bridge toward SF. Exit on the left onto the Island. The launch is located on the North East corner.

Moffet Field, CA

Conditions
Moffet Field has a marsh area that can be accessed for launching. The land ownership is uncertain with NASA and US Navy claiming there had possession but not ownership and now the status is uncertain. Legally, you can enter the base and find your way to the launch. Although the entire process is daunting. At times you’ll be interrupted by one of many government agencies, State, City, County, NASA, or US Navy or U.S. Coast Guard none of which have clear jurisdiction in this unincorporated area.

Currents
Ebb tides are best for sailing. Low tide presents a very muddy launch and landing so most prefer a high tide.

Summary
Moffet Filed has potetntial as a great spot. The beach is in legal discussion in order to determine the Navy’s level of responsibility to improve and return the marshes to their pre-exisitng state.

Directions
Take 101 to Moffet exit. Enter base and follow the roads to the marshlands.

Palo Alto, CA

Conditions
Palo Alto Marsh lands at the harbor are an excellent place for wind in the South Bay. The wind is consistent and not as gusty as other Bay Area locations. Due to the Palo Alto airport just North, kites are restricted in the flight path. So legally you must launch at the edge of the marsh as far east as you can. If there are many kiters there is a chance for a stern word from the harbormaster/park ranger.

Currents
Ebb tides are best for sailing. Low tide presents a very muddy launch and landing so most prefer a high tide.

Summary
Palo Alto is an excellent sailing location in the South Bay.

Directions
Take 101 to Oregon expressway exit. Take the exit East to the marshlands. Turn left at the stop sign where the road ends in a T and follow the road to the end where you’ll see a lanuch ramp and rigging area.

Ocean Beach, CA

ConditionsO.B. is south of the Golden Gate Bridge on the coast. Wind is often 10-15 and very consistent. A shore break makes for a tough beginner launch.

Currents

Current is not a huge factor for sailing though tides affect waves.

Summary
O.B. is an excellent place to kite when the wind is southwest everywhere else. The beach is a great place to learn to fly the kite.

Directions
O.B. is located off the Great Hiway on the coast near the Golden Gate. From SF take 19th ave. to Fulton and head West to the water. From the South, take 35 to 1 to the Great Hiway.

 
 
SF Bay Area KiteBeach
 


Limanteur, CA

Conditions
Limanteur is located on the coast just west of Inverness. The beach is good and wind and waves setup nicely to the north.

Currents
Currents are not a huge factor.

Summary
Limanteur is an amazing beach that has a nice break to the North. The beach is often windy and increasing windy up at the northern break.

Directions
Take 101 North to Sir Francis Drake and follow to 1 North to Inverness. Continue on to Limanteur beach.

Rod & Gun, CA

Conditions
Rod & Gun club on the North Bay is a nice place to sail but kiting is not often good. The launch is not friendly nor is parking. If something goes wrong (as it often does) your next stop is the San Rafael bridge.

Currents
Currents are not a huge factor though an ebb tide or slack is preferred.

Summary
Rod & Gun club is a nice to sail. The wind is moderate and often good when it’s no good elsewhere. Generally it’s not a great place to kite. If something goes wrong it’s all over. Only a few people can kite here. Due to limited parking.

Directions
Take 101 North to San Quentin follow the road until you see a small pull off. Park and ride.




Windy Cove, CA

Conditions
Windy cove is preferred for it’s grassy launch area. The wind is nice when it’s more northerly than the typical SW. The grassy area is not wide enough to accommodate many kiters and it’s usually windier every where else so it’s a rare spot for kiting.

Currents
Since sailing is best on a Northerly wind which is perpendicular to the river tide is not a huge negative factor. Big currents cause close chop which can be unpleasant.

Summary
Windy cove is nice alternate location when wind conditions are Northerly.

Directions
Windy cove is located along the river about 5 miles east from Sherman Island off highway 4.

Frank’s Tract, Sacramento Delta, CA

Conditions
Frank’s Tract is a large open water area with a nice campground. The area is among the windiest in the Delta so it’s popular with sailors. Kiters must locate a launch location and work together to sail here. A boat or wave runner is nice to have due to the large area and high wind that easily blow you far away from your starting point.

Currents
Franks Tract is a flooded area. Currents have a lessened affect and the typically high wind makes tide less important. Low tide presents obstacles and some sand bars.

Summary
Frank’s Tract is a an amazing high wind fresh water location without many easy access beaches. A camp ground exists and some kite launch areas exist with assistance.

Directions
Frank's tract is located near Sherman Island off hiway 4. From the Bay Area head out to 680 North and take the 242 to the 4 East. Check a map or ask around for the exit.

Collinsville, Sacramento Delta, CA

Conditions
Collinsville was once a resort near the small town of Bird’s Landing a few miles from Sherman Island on the opposite side of the river. Collinsville has nearby sand bar at low tide accessable only by boat that makes for a nice place to launch and land. Wave runner required.

Currents
Conditions are similar to Sherman. Ebb tide is nice but can make for huge chop. Flood is flat but makes getting upwind difficult in moderate wind. Low tide presents sand bars and more beaches.

Summary
Collinsville is an old time, deserted resort with high wind. At low tide there is a nearby sand bar in the river and an island for hanging out.

Directions
Take hiway 12 to Collinsville / Bird’s Landing. Watch out for the 4 hillbilly locals.

Mandeville, CA

Conditions
Mandeville is a high traffic open water area which often has nice winds. The best sailing is in the channel which presents problems for the beginner to intermediate. Kiters require a chase boat plus excellent skill. There are few launch areas when crowds fill the beaches on busy weekends.

Currents
Tides are not a huge factor for sailing. Low tides open up more beaches.

Summary
The island is a busy place on weekends. There are almost no places to launch to sailing off a boat is the prime solution. The channel presents the best wind and some people kite all day — since there’s no place to land.

Directions
Mandeville is near Stockton. It is accessable by boat.

Half Moon Bay, CA

Conditions
Half Moon Bay is beach break with a moderate breeze. Wind fills in nicely in winter storms making this a nice place to take a break during rain storms. Some kiters enjoy the harbor and some prefer to sail the waves.

Currents
Currents are not a huge factor.

Summary
Excellent when clear and breezy. Fun on winter storms.

Directions
From 101 or 280 take 92 west and head North 1-2 miles.

Bodega Bay, CA

Conditions
Bodega Bay has potential for kiting with a large bay and sandy beach. It’s often windy. It’s not a popular kiting location due to the rapidly changing wind and weather it’s also fairly remote for most people making a nice escape when the conditions are right.

Currents
Low tide can expose brick-a-brack in very shallow water. Current is not a huge issue in the Bay.

Summary

Bodega Bay is a windy place with great sailing. It's proximity to the white triangle make it less desireable for it's tendency yo seem sharky. No one has been bit yet.

Directions
From Golden Gate take Sir Francis Drake to 1 North.

San Luis Resevoir, CA

Conditions
San Luis Resevoir has excellent kiting conditions when fog fills inland from the coast. If it’s fogged in Santa Cruz to Monterey and hot in the Central Valley it’s good on the resevoir. Lots of launch space and warm fresh water make this a nice place to escape to from the cold coastal conditions.

Currents
Almost no current except during dam runoff.

Summary
Great freshwater reprive from foggy coastal conditions.

Directions
Take 101 south to 152 inland to San Luis Forebay park exit.

Sherman Island near Rio Vista, CA

Conditions
Sherman Island is an incredible place to kite. The wind is strong and the river is fresh water with currents. During an ebb the waves and improve along with the ability to go upwind. On a flood tide the water is flat. When it’s super windy, the tide is less relevant, except that more beach is exposed at low tide which is nice. There are nearby lakes, islands and inlets that make for a variety of excellent conditions. Kiters and windsurfers share the river and most launch spots. There are no separate areas for kiters. Be polite and flexible. You’ll often find yourself in a situation where a windsurfer is cutting directly downwind of your lines, or stepping on your lines on the beach. The main launch spot is a leeward beach that is about 10 meters long and 2 meters deep. If you come in overpowered you’ll crash into the beach and you and your kite will land in the pricker bushes or trees.

Sherman is windy through Spring, Summer and Fall when temperature gradients between the coast and the inland valleys are high. Foggy days in San Francisco and hot weather inland generates windy mornings and evenings on the river with less wind in the mid-afternoon. Sailing varies from Sherman Island to Rio Vista depending on the wind direction.

Camping at the Sherman Island park is currently unregulated but day parking fees are charged ranging from $4-6. There are bathrooms but little else in the way of accommodations. Camping with and without hook up is available officially and unofficially.

Currents
Strong tidal currents and river currents interact. The currents at the Golden Gate reaches Sherman Island about 6 hours later.

Summary
River sailing at Sherman is one the best places to kite in the most consistent wind and freshwater in Northern California with wind often 20-30 knots. Sherman is a warm weather reprieve from foggy cold weather in San Francisco. The currents can make for excellent kiting but they can cause havoc for beginners. Check the tidal charts, ask locals and make sure you know what’s happening. The launch is difficult for kiters, especially at high tide when the beach disappears. Launch on the beach or launch in the parking lot and walk through narrow paths bordered with pricker bushes to the beach.

Wind is usually strongest in the early morning and at night though occasionally the wind blows consistently all day from more NorthWest directions. On North wind days try launching at Sandy Beach down the river from Sherman.

For best conditions, look for fog in SF Bay and hot weather inland to start the wind machine pumping. Check the wind for Sherman Island prior to Sunrise and if it’s good call in sick and you can ride all day.

Directions
From the Peninsula: Go across the San Mateo Bridge on Hwy. 92 and go North on Hwy. 880. Continue north on Hwy 880 until you reach San Lorenzo. There, take the 580 off ramp and go east towards Dublin. Near Dublin go North on Hwy. 680 Stay on Hwy. 680 until you come into Walnut Creek. At Walnut Creek take Hwy. 242 going towards Concord. Continue past Concord on Hwy 242 When you reach Hwy. 4 merge going East towards Antioch Continue on Hwy 4 going past Antioch. Merges with Hwy. 160 and cross bridge. Continue north on Hwy. 160 across Sherman Island about 1 mile. Turn left at Sherman Island Levee Road. The first thing you should see is the Delta Windsurf shop. Follow the road past the Powerlines to the end of the road where the park is developed and there is access for kiters.

From the East Bay: Go north on Hwy. 580/80 Near the racetrack just north of the Berkeley Marina get in the right lane and continue north on Hwy. 80. Near the town of Hercules turn east on Hwy. 4 Continue on Hwy 4 going past Antioch. Hwy 4 merges with Hwy. 160 going north crossing the bridge then follow the instructions above

From San Francisco and Marin County: Cross the San Rafael Richmond Bridge. Then take the rarely used Richmond Parkway off ramp. Head north for several miles until it merges with Hwy. 80 going north. Near the town of Hercules turn east on Hwy. 4 Then follow the instructions above.

From Sonoma County: Go south on Hwy 101 Past Novato take the Hwy 37 off ramp going east. Continue on Hwy 37 as it passes through Vallejo and turns into Marine World Parkway Then merge with Hwy 80 going north. Go north on Hwy 80 for about 15 miles Passing the Cordella turn off start looking ahead for Hwy 12 At Hwy 12 take the off ramp and head east for about 20 miles in strong wind. A Rio Vista cross the bridge over the Sacramento River. (don’t worry if there is not much wind here) Just across the bridge turn right onto Hwy 160 Go several miles south. Just before the next bridge check out the Windy Cove sailing site. To get to the Powerlines and Access sailing sites continue on Hwy 160 About 2 miles past the bridge the road will turn left and leave the river. Just as it makes this turn, turn right on Sherman Island Levee Rd to the sailing sites.

Waddel Creek, North of Santa Cruz, CA

Conditions
Usually windy through Spring, Summer and into Fall. Waves are often flat in the Summer though occasional South swells hit. Best wave riding conditions in Spring and Fall. Wind tend to be 15-25.

Currents
Currents and tides affect the beach. Low tide exposes rocks; watch your fins. Sideshore currents are usually not dramatic enough to cause serious problems for kiters.

Summary
Waddel Creek is a highly rated surf break with consistently strong winds. The beach is large and excellent for kiting. Waddell is one of the best breaks in California for kiting in the waves. The waves can be large so be very careful and only kite here if you are an experienced kiter and excellent swimmer. Attitudes exist with the "Sheibels trying to dominate the scene" since they consider themselves to be really "hot" ahem. West Side Santa Cruz riders might work you a bit on the inside, but’s all a big joke. ha ha ha. So play along and steal their boards or tighten their footstraps when their not looking. He he.

Directions
From the San Francisco North Bay and East Bay: From the Golden Gate Bridge take 19th Avenue to Hwy. 280 south. Continue on Hwy. 280 to Hwy. 92 then go west on Hwy 92 to Half Moon Bay. Go south on Hwy 1 past Ano Nuevo preserve. Turn into parking lot at Waddell.

From the Peninsula: Take Hwy. 92 west to Half Moon Bay. Go south on Hwy 1 past Ano Nuevo Reserve. Turn into parking lot at Waddell.

Salt Marsh, CA

Conditions
Around the bay there are many marshes with flat areas from salt farms. These provide excellent areas for practicing flying the kite. Salt maufacturers are turning these areas back to public domain for recreation opening an increasing number of spots to learn kiting.

Currents
Currents vary but often not a big factor close the edge of bay. Currents increase as you go out the center of the Bay and hit the shipping channel.

Summary
Salt Marshes present excellent places to learn to launch, land and fly kites. More and more locations are opening up as military and salt industry return land to marshes.

Directions
Go to the bay and you’ll find plenty of Salt Marshes.

 
 
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