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Newcomer to North CA - advice requested from locals
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moigno



Joined: 09 Jun 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:06 am    Post subject: Newcomer to North CA - advice requested from locals Reply with quote

Hello fellow windsurfers,

I'm an Irish windsurfer planning on moving to the Bay Area within a few months and I'm hoping to get a feel for the local scene before I get there, so your advice would be hugely appreciated!

I'll probably end up living somewhere in the vicinity of San José, where I will be working, but access to good coastal sailing spots might convince me to live as far south as Santa Cruz, and to put up with the longer commute to work.

I currently sail big gear (120l board, > 6.0 rig) or smaller gear (90l board, < 6.0 rig) depending on conditions. I can enjoy flat water blasting, bump'n'jump or small waves (I'm no noob but no hardcore wave sailor either!) The cost of bringing my stuff halfway around the world might limit me to bringing one board and a couple of sails. I'd prefer to bring the smaller gear - are there safe spots in the vicinity of Santa Cruz that get regular wind that would get me out on, say, 90l/5m?

Is localism an issue? In Ireland we have plentiful coastline and not many windsurfers, so the scene is small, open and friendly. I do of course respect the "rules of the water" and not go sailing when the location/conditions are too much for my abilities, but I'm just hoping that I wouldn't be made unwelcome anywhere just through the act of rigging up and getting in the water? Open to opinion maybe but I thought I should ask to be sure Smile

Finally, would it be easy to get acquainted with informal groups of windsurfers with abilities like my own? Are there means of getting in touch, apart from forums like this? Its always safer and more fun to not go sailing alone

Huge thank you to anyone who takes the time to help me out. Good wind to you all!
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beallmd



Joined: 10 May 1998
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, as a windsurfer you are making a terrific move! No less than Robbie Naish said San Francisco has some of the best and most underrated windsurfing in the world. That's correct, its only because there are Maui and the Gorge that it doesn't get its due.
The unwelcome days are long long over. With the shrinkage of the sport windsurfers are happy to see new folks. Also windsurfers are always into talking; its the second biggest part of what we do. Yesterday a fellow showed up at our local hangout, Washoe, pulled up, parked, got out and started talking with everyone. This is exactly what I did when I moved here and what my buddy who showed up a moment later did as well. Then another fellow did the same from Tahoe. We all had a good time and hung out and sailed and of course, did much talking as usual. It's also safer to have someone keeping an eye on each other as things can happen. I think this is true at most of the spots,
Finally there are about 10 places to sail. If you'll be in San Jose or Santa Cruz, then Waddell and Davenport, about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz, offer wave sailing, are friendly now and can be challenging. Watch out for Davenport, it is for advanced sailors only as being able to stay upwind is critical. Waddell is more forgiving unless the waves are big. Many have cut their teeth there on wavesailing.
On the bay side, you are in luck as San Jose is a great locale from which to go sailing. 3rd is terrific as is Coyote. Friendly and don't hesitate to ask about whatever. Coyote is good to improve skills. Candlestick is a great place to get better and is a favorite of the trick guys. They seem to hang out together and encourage each other and have a good time. Palo Alto is rather unique and interesting and has very nice sailing, if a little lighter, once you get to understand the oddities (launch from a dock, negotiate a slough to get out etc.)
Finally trips to Sherman Island are definitely part of it and well worthwhile, depending on conditions. It becomes a "mini Gorge" when things are right. Rolling swells on the ebb and often has steady strong winds. You can camp there, or go over to Antioch and stay in a hotel, eat, catch a movie etc.
Welcome. Just don't do dumb stuff and it will work out just fine.
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victor



Joined: 03 Aug 1998
Posts: 545

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i second the notion that you are making a good move. there are places with more consistent and extreme conditions but without the employment opportunities of a major metropolitan area. it isn't difficult to sail 100 days a year if you have a good quiver and don't mind driving a little.

you will find conditions somewhere around the bay area for any combination of gear. i'd say with something around 5.0M and 85L you can get a lot of days in around here. you can browse the "where we're sailing today..." section of the blog to get an idea what people are riding at which sites. there are regular swap meets with good used equipment at ridiculous bargains.

personally i would want to live farther north than san jose unless you really plan on sailing the coast a lot. somewhere in the airport area would put you in closer proximity to the best launches and still have a manageable commute to a job farther south. i like brisbane.

everyone has a favorite launch. crissy field may have the largest group of regulars. with very few exceptions everyone gets along and welcomes new meat.
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prevett



Joined: 25 Jun 1997
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Moingo,

Given that your work will be in San Jose, and your current windsurfing focus is flat water, bump & jump, and small waves, I would recommend living somewhere between Sunnyvale and Redwood City. You could sail places like 3rd Ave or Coyote after work (if you could cut out a bit early). You are going to love 3rd Ave, BTW. For about 10 years, I lived in Sunnyvale, worked in the San Jose area, and sailed most of the Peninsula sites. It worked out real well.

I would not recommend living in Santa Cruz unless you will be doing mostly wavesailing and don't mind a lousy commute "over the hill" on Highway 17 to San Jose. This road can jam up during commute hours. Especially when you are driving home and trying to get an after work session in.

One other thought: There is plenty of high quality used gear at very reasonable prices for sale in the Bay Area. The IWindsurf buy/sell postings give a good indication of prices and availability. So weigh the cost of bringing any gear vs. the cost of buying used locally.

You are going to love it here. 100 days a year is very doable.
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churan



Joined: 05 Mar 2008
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

90l and 5.3 5.7 should be you go to kit. if your average size. Perhaps selling the larger stuff and repurchasing after you get your feet wet and get a feel for the area. As you discover our range of conditions your gear will want to change to fit your new skills. Welcome and get ready for wave sailing to change your life.
Ps rent before you buy a home. commutes are brutal. you will want to get a feel before setting roots.
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kevinkan



Joined: 07 Jun 2001
Posts: 1128
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too recommend living somewhere on the Peninsula if you want a reasonable commute and proximity to windsurfing sites, unless you're really into surfing and wave sailing.

Here are some links to give you a feel of what to expect out here:

http://www.sunsetsailboards.com/blog
http://www.videojibe.com
http://humancatapult.blogspot.com
http://mud-dawgs.tumblr.com
http://east-of-maui.blogspot.com
http://www.cal-sailing.org
http://stevebodner.blogspot.com/

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dsgrntlxmply



Joined: 16 Jun 2010
Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

churan wrote:
Ps rent before you buy a home. commutes are brutal. you will want to get a feel before setting roots.


Look carefully before you rent. Commutes can indeed be brutal, rents are high, and peace, quiet, and personal/property safety can vary widely between locales that do not seem far apart on a map.

Years ago, shopping for an apartment in Mountain View, I crossed one place off the list because there was an obvious fist hole through the manager's front door. The apartment that I ended up with was in a pleasant and convenient location, but was so poorly constructed that my downstairs neighbor's snoring sometimes kept me awake, followed by his daily 5AM diesel pickup truck extended warm-up in the parking spot beneath my window.
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labdad



Joined: 16 May 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on making the move from Ireland! One of my best buddies is from Dublin and is a great windsurfer. I guess cutting your teeth in the North Sea does one good!
I also agree with Kevin and recommend living somewhere on the peninsula to give you the best lifestyle, commutes and sailing access.
I learned to sail in Colorado and tired of searching for wind, so we made the move to Millbrae (mid-peninsula) in 1985 primarily for the windsurfing, but also because world class skiing is an easy drive away, and San Francisco has always been my most favorite city.
Good luck with the move and welcome to California!
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watermonkey



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The areas that are conveniently halfway between the Coyote/3rd Ave launches and San Jose are some of the most expensive (ie, Palo Alto)…so north or south of PA is where you'll likely end up living. So you're balancing your work commute with your sailing "commute". If you can arrange your work hours starting after 10am commute times are less of an issue in general. If you can live on the Peninsula and telecommute on windy days, you're set!

Windsurf when there's wind, snowboard when there's snow, bike when there's neither, soak up the culture all the time. Welcome to the best place to live in the country.
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windoggie



Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 2369

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider Berkeley. You can hang out with the Grim Reachers Windsurfing Gang. Just bring peanuts. Salted.
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