Like Miami, San Francisco combines one of the world’s most popular travel destinations with kiteboarding. Many kiteboarders, myself included, have put kiting under the Golden Gate Bridge at the top their kiteboard bucket lists. I’ve only been to San Francisco in January, while on a road trip, and wasn’t lucky with the wind, but it’s not the last time I plan on visiting.
Challenging conditions and gusty winds
Don’t think that because the kite spots are so scenic that they’re safe. Kiting here is challenging, so unless you’re kiteboarding with a kite school, the area is best for advanced riders.
As a rule, it’s always a good idea to talk to a local kiteboarder before heading into the water to learn about potential dangers at a particular spot. During springtime, the wind is best in the late morning through the early afternoon — it becomes too gusty later in the day. In the summer, look out for some great NW winds.
The best San Francisco kiting spots
Within San Francisco proper, head to the long and sandy Ocean Beach, which has lots of space for launching and landing. It also has a big swell, nice ramps to jump off from, and strong currents, which is why it’s only recommended for advanced kiteboarders.
Crissy Field, the picturesque and most famous spot at the Golden Gate Bridge, is for advanced riders only due to strong tidal currents, ship traffic, and shifty, often gusty, wind.
South of San Francisco near San Mateo is 3rd Avenue/Baywinds Park, one of the windiest and most popular kite spots in the Bay.
Intermediate to advanced wave riders will love Waddell Creek, which is further south along US 1, just north of Swanton.
Sherman Island is a must-visit during the summer if you’re up for a road trip — just about 2 hours northeast from San Francisco. It’s a perfect location for “kite-eat-sleep-repeat.”