Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kiteboarding Sherman Island - with May Yam & the Big Dog

It's literally been YEARS since I made my way up to Sherman Island - historically a Mecca for windsurfers willing to make the 90 minute (from the bay area) trek up the Delta. It is one of those rare places where its windy almost the entire day - two sessions for most of the season, one from 6AM till 12 noon and another from 3PM til 8 PM... every day.

May Yam tearin' it up.. My friend May Yam, a wakeboarder turned kiter, invited Austin, Young and me to visit her on "the Big Dog" last weekend - a 70 foot houseboat, stocked with water toys, a kayak and a ski boat. The house boat is phenominal - what a way to travel!

the Big DogAmong the cool water toys on board were a (hydro) foil board and a foil chair they use with the ski boat. I'll be excited to see those toys in action with a kite.

The launch area we travelled to is called 'kitopia' and it definitely IS one... lots of room, solid wind, a nice launch area, and not crowded.

View of Kitopia from up windIt's nice and warm there - the air temperature mid day is much warmer than that of 3rd Av, but the water temperature is comparable. It also was definitely a nice change of pace to kite on fresh, flat water compared to the brackish chop at 3rd. There's a little bit of river current that flows in the same direction as the wind, so I rigged as if it were flood tide at crissy or 3rd and went out on a 14 torch.

The winds at Sherman were defintely strong in the afternoon - and while not excessively gusty, they ramp up and down throughout the day. We were on the water from around 4:30 to 7:30 -the wind started in the high teens and ended up close to 30 Mph in the space of 3 hours. I managed to hold down a torch 14 the entire session but it was definitely 'lit' toward the end of the day. May mentioned that earlier in the week, WITHIN a single day, she started on an 18, switched to a 12 and ended the day on a 7.

One note - the entry gate to the park says 'CLOSED AT 9:00 PM, reopens at 6:00 AM'. If you stay late, be prepared to either stay a while or to figure out who in the park you need to wake up to get a key to the lock on the park gate - which is what we did at 11:30 PM when we woke someone up to let us go home.. :)


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