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Waddell Bluff
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In terms of popularity and world class contests, Waddell is the undisputed king of north coast spots. Like most north coast sites, the wind is side onshore at Waddell. This, along with the fast breaking waves, limits bottom turns. But, for addicts of air time these conditions make this a world-class kitesurfing & windsurfing spot. Kites typically dominate the line-up, but there is plenty of space upwind & downwind for all.

Waddell has a broad long sandy beach. In the Spring, big surf and big wind are common and Waddell is often a playground only for the best. There are a few small rocks in the impact zone. There are more rocks in the surf zone to the north.

Do not go out when the surf is high and the wind is light unless you know what you are doing There is a longshore current and some rips.

In the summer, the surf is more mellow and intermediates can flounder a bit and practice. Beginners can keep their car in good cosmetic condition by practicing out of the main area and knowing surf rules.

Some of the basic surf rules are that the first surfer on a wave has the right of way. Waddell waveriders take this to mean that the person bringing a wave in from the outside has the right of way over someone turning onto the wave upwind of them. Also, waveriders going out always take care not to interfere with someone else's ride - so try to give way to someone riding a wave. This modifies the "starboard tack right of way" rule a bit. So, wanna get a wave? Go way outside and bring the swell in. You'll have right of way on the peak you bring in.

As of 2008, Waddell has become quite busy. Even on weekdays it has become common to find 40 people in the water, making the action fast, close and sometimes dangerous - especially if there are people new to kiting in the water. If you are learning kiting or do not have *complete* control of your kite, please respect others and stay well downwind of any crowds. There have been many injuries here from less experienced people losing control and hitting others.

Some people see "localism" as an issue at Waddell. Regulars however seem to have no problem with people from other areas, just sometimes issues with those who don't know the rules or who endanger others (see above). Also these "locals" are the first to the rescue when anyone gets into serious trouble or stuck outside (chumming).

This is the southern apex of the red triangle and the warden does hang out here. Try not to float around on the outside too much. Best not to body drag outside of the surf zone for long (locals just call it "trolling").

Waddell is a good place to watch since the action is up close. Nice beach, but on really windy days the beach is not picnic friendly. Good morning surfing can be had before the wind starts. Also, just across the highway is Big Basin Redwood State Park offering camping, showers, great hiking, and restrooms. In the Spring, while you rip, the non-ripping members of the family can check out the elephant seals and their mating antics at Ano Nuevo Reserve, just to the north.

The strong northwest clearing winds are best mid-March to mid-June. Mid-June through August are often foggy but there are plenty of good moderately windy days. In late August and September, the NW winds may return but not as strong -- usually just in the 15-25 knot range -- but with beautiful clear skies.

NEARBY:

Many windsurfers go to Davenport Landing beach, six miles south of Waddell, where kitesurfing is pretty much nonexistant, the wind is often stronger, and the point can handle most swell directions well.

In between Waddell and Davenport is another long beautiful beach Scotts Creek that in the early to mid spring has a world class reef point break that will hold up to 20 ft on the set waves (EXPERT ONLY).If you have an intermediate skill level do not even consider it, wait for summer...Lots of rocks on the inside and to the north side and huge closeout sets on the beach just south of the break...again not so bad in the summer.
Parking can be hazardous as it is right on the downhill side of the freeway however the bluff offers a fantastic vantage point for photos/videos or just watching

When the wind goes north, Gazos Creek, 10 miles north of Waddell, is a fantastic spot. This is just below Pigeon Point, so check that sensor, if it is working, and note it only updates every few hours. The Waddell sensor won't read much if the wind is really north. Gazos can be firing and has plenty of room for lots of people, though the waves can be heavy here even when it is flat almost everywhere else. An advanced spot.
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 Season: March-Sept. 
 Water: Cold and clear 
 Ability Level: Intermediate to expert 
 Familiness: Beach, watch, camp 
 Parking: Crowded weekends and now weekdays too 
 Launch: Sandy a few rocks - watch for submerged ones! 

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.

This WeatherFlow sensor resides on a cliff to the south of Waddell Creek. Due to the elevated and downwind position of the sensor, readings are a bit low on most prevailing W - NW days. Actual on-the-water winds at the beach are typically between the reported average and gust value. However, any wind with an easterly component, the sensor will read somewhat low.


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