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Bay Area Beginner Seeking Progression Advice
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wolfprime



Joined: 04 Sep 2014
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject: Bay Area Beginner Seeking Progression Advice Reply with quote

Hi All,

So I took a lesson at California Windsurfing in the Foster City lagoon. I've been out 5 times, each session for about 2-4 hours. Last time out I moved up to a 5.3 sail, but still using the big beginner floaty board. Wind was probably 10-15mph. Should I continue to try and get some more time in the Lagoon, or maybe try a rental up out of Alameda? At what point do you progress to a non-beginner board?

Any advice appreciated!
-Parker
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windward1



Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 718

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi wolfprime,
Welcome to the sport.
In answer to your question, I have questions?
How far have you progressed?
Do you go to windward well?
Get back to where you started at will?
Tack and jibe without falling?
Rarely fall at this point with that beginner board?
Able to handle the fastest speed that you can reach with that board and sail?
If "yes' to all of the above, you are way ready to try Alameda and a smaller board. You may wish to try a smaller one at Foster City to even better judge.
Windward1
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bonuslife



Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject: Cal Sailing Club Reply with quote

I highly recommend joining the Cal Sailing Club, even if it's a schlep for you to get to Berkeley Marina.

http://www.cal-sailing.org

Besides the low membership cost, here's why I recommend joining:

  • They keep an eye on you to make sure you're safe (especially as a novice).
  • There's a learning track. As you progress you take tests to advance to the next level, which gets you access to more advanced equipment.
  • Lessons are part of the deal.
  • Community. There's no substitute for learning from others. They are really nice people over there.
  • You can learn to sail, too.
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wolfprime



Joined: 04 Sep 2014
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Windward1,

No problems going windward and can get back to where I started, including pulling up along side shore, depower and hopping off without ending up in the water (although still working on making that graceful). Tack and jybe without falling and I'm not falling too much.

Hopefully I'm ready for the smaller board.

I realize I'm not there yet, but what skills should one have before trying coyote point?

Thanks!
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dsgrntlxmply



Joined: 16 Jun 2010
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I concur with the criteria offered by windward1, but recommend that you plan for a session or two with an instructor and on a larger board at Alameda, before going solo or trying a smaller board.

Alameda has a current and swell that bring specific challenges that you might not have encountered at Foster City. Also, Alameda has a few obstructions that can cause trouble, and at times has quite lot of kiteboarding traffic. You need to develop good situation awareness, and sufficient skills to stay out of harm's way. An instructor's advice and assessment of your skills relative to site conditions, will be valuable.

In lighter winds, with typical NW direction, the current at Alameda can have you making less upwind progress than you might at another site, or even drifting downwind.

In the swell that Alameda often has (long fetch across the bay for typical wind directions can at times cause the swell to be disproportionate to local wind), uphauling, getting started, and successful completion of tacks/jibes, can be more challenging than at sites with flatter water. Skills gained at Alameda will be valuable anywhere when conditions get rougher.

When you are ready to try a smaller board without centerboard, if Boardsports still have the Naish Kailua 160 (twin fins), that is a very nice board for taking the next step.
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windward1



Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 718

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi wolfprime,
Good advice by the responders here.
Key things they mentioned that will be totally different than Foster City are:
1. Waves
2. Current
3. Traffic
These are HUGE in the difference it makes to windsurfing. If you are facing these at either Alameda or Coyote, then sailing there first with a larger board before going small is a good idea. If you can do this with an instructor better yet.

Waves: Balance is much, much more difficult than in smooth water. It seems like a whole other world. So best to experience it with a board size you are familiar with and have already mastered as it will help you 'learn it' faster.
Current: Another problem if at all strong. Adds another whole dimension regarding getting back to where you started. Plan a time when the tide is slack when going to your first spot the first time on The Bay if possible.
Traffic: Kiters, other windsurfers, swimmers, boats, fishermen and their lines, etc. are all things you will want to stay clear of. Might be a little easier to find the ability to do that as the season is going to be winding down. But check out your spot and see if it can be clear of others as you work on handling bay conditions.

If you know anyone who is already experienced to take you for your first time it would be helpful. If not available, really do consider a lesson geared to you from BoardSports or equivalent. Consider that CAL Sailing Club recommendation as well. The thing is, after you tried a smaller board and tamed that, there is an even smaller board in the offing. And another after that. Cal Sailing Club has the gear and information to handle that kind of progression, from what I hear.

Good luck! And do not let these things be obstacles to your progressing, but always look the site over, check the conditions and be safe. With a little thought and planning, you can accomplish the next phase of learning. But getting into trouble is easy, so always pay attention to where you are and do not venture too far from your launch too soon. And watch for those currents. They are invisible and thus can sneak up on ya!

Windward1
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tomg



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I concur that Berkeley is an excellent place to learn. i taught my son a few years back when he was 11 or so and noticed that Berkeley lacks the annoying chop found at Alameda that makes up-hauling tough. But that fact that you started in Foster City leads me to believe that Berkeley is just too far to be feasible. In that case, check out the [almost finished] new n improved Coyote Point. It has good reliable wind, shelter and fairly safe if you stay close in. Boardsports is right there and can rent you gear and provide excellent instruction.

Welcome to the best sport in the World!

Tom
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mtnview



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Bay Area Beginner Seeking Progression Advice Reply with quote

I'm a believer of just going for it and getting into the Bay as soon as possible. Coyote is world class and you can rent and get lessons from Boardsports. Good place to learn how to waterstart which is the most important skill for sailing in the Bay. You'll want to go earlier in the day before it gets too windy. There are 8 year olds out there learning at Coyote, so don't worry - just go for it!

How much do you weigh? I'm 180lbs and I rented at the beginner phase until I was ready for the Bay, then bought a 130 liter board. You don't want too big a board in the Bay as it gets bumpy in the chop. Rent a few times from Boardsports to try out different sizes.

- Dave
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cgoudie1



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 1279
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Bay Area Beginner Seeking Progression Advice Reply with quote

Wondering, am I, if you ever planed up, if you used a harness, if your
feet ever got close to any straps (if there were any straps on the board).

5 Times at 2-4 hours a time ~15 hours water time might have gotten
you planed up. These things might also be good to know for what you
might want to do with gear next.

-Craig

wolfprime wrote:
Hi All,

So I took a lesson at California Windsurfing in the Foster City lagoon. I've been out 5 times, each session for about 2-4 hours. Last time out I moved up to a 5.3 sail, but still using the big beginner floaty board. Wind was probably 10-15mph. Should I continue to try and get some more time in the Lagoon, or maybe try a rental up out of Alameda? At what point do you progress to a non-beginner board?

Any advice appreciated!
-Parker
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DAVIBO



Joined: 04 Jun 1996
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:43 am    Post subject: next steps & where to go Reply with quote

If your in Marin, Larkspur offers great & safe beginner sailing with wind about 10 kts in the AM to 25 kts in the afternoon and you start in light wind @ the launch and progress out to higher wind between Tiburon & Richmond Bridge (more in the middle of the bay) - so you can select where you feel the most comfortable, the site is surrounded by land on 3 sides and is pretty shallow so you can touch bottom when you need to very easily.
If your in the area give me a call as I have 4 short boards that you could take out, Naish 8'5, Screamer, Mike's Lab 9', and Saxo - boards I've been trying to get rid of for some time but are excellent boards....just too small for me. You can drop me a call if you want use one...Bob Davis 415-722-9111



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