North Kite Demo 5/15-16 Alameda, 3rd Ave

Join us to try out all the 2015 kite gear from North! When: Fri 5/15  CROWN BEACH ALAMEDA  2pm-6pm DEMO IS ON! update FRIDAY 5/15 at 11:39am NORTH/NAISH DEMO IN ALAMEDA forecast for mid to high teens WSW 2pm-6pm @ Boardsports Alameda   Sat 5/16 3rd Ave, Foster City –  1:30pm-5:30pm DEMO IS ON! update SATURDAY […]

Naish Kite Demo 5/15-17 Alameda, 3rd Ave, Coyote

Join us to try out all the 2015 kite gear from Naish! When: Fri 5/15  CROWN BEACH ALAMEDA  2pm-6pm DEMO IS ON! update FRIDAY 5/15 at 11:39am NORTH/NAISH DEMO IN ALAMEDA forecast for mid to high teens WSW 2pm-6pm @ Boardsports Alameda   Sat 5/16 3rd Ave, Foster City –  1:30pm-5:30pm DEMO IS ON! update SATURDAY 5/16 at 10:40am […]

How Not To Kill Your Kite

Besides the obvious (not crashing your kite, stabbing it with a packing knife, or burning it with a cigarette butt) follow these steps to maintain the life and value of your kite, and prevent expensive repairs… 1. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KITE PARKED IN THE SUN OR HOT ENVIRONMENT. If you’re not kiting, pack up your kite […]

Naish Kite Demo

Come check out all of the 2012 Naish Kites and Boards. Nick Stuart is in town with the mother load Naish RV!

He will be loaded up with all the goodies. Come try out anything and everything.

When: Fri/Sat/Sun 5/25-27

Where: Locations Announced HERE and on FaceBook, Twitter, and Forums ( and Bay Area Kiteboarding) based on best wind but will include Alameda & 3rd Ave

What: 2012 Naish Kites (Torch, Bolt, Park) and Boards (all of ’em, twin tips and surf boards)

North Kite Demo May 18

Come check out all of the new 2012 North Kites/Boards with rep Dan Schwarz. He is in town for the weekend and will be hosting a full demo with the entire 2012 lineup. Locations will be confirmed based on best wind/weather as we get closer to the date but for now we are planning>

Friday May 18th at COYOTE POINT San Mateo 2pm – 7pm w/ BBQ (Alternate location Alameda if wind looks better there)

Saturday May 19th at 3rd AVENUE Foster City 1pm-6pm

Sunday May 20th at ALAMEDA 2pm-6pm

Bonaire: An Island Watersports Playground!

If you’re looking for a warm-water destination in the winter – particularly in the months of January-March, look no further than Bonaire. We just got back from a 9-day trip to this small, Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela and we wanted to share our experience.

Ultimately, this a great island to escape to if you’re looking for a diversity of things to do in the water. This island is mainly renowned for two thing: sensational SCUBA as the island is surrounded by a coral reef and a place called Lac Bay, an intermediate and freestyle windsurfer’s dream. However, there is a kite boarding beach, amazing snorkeling, powerboat rentals, wakeboarding/waterskiing and sailboat excursions.

Let’s start with Lac Bay, the windsurfing area.

The winds speeds in Lac Bay were fairly light compared to our wind conditions.The average wind speed was probably about 14-16 knots but we had some lighter and some strong wind days.

The bay is divided into two sections.One section is a huge area of thigh-high, flattish water.This area is amazing for intermediates to practice all of their skills and a great place to work on freestyle moves because if you mess up you can easily just hop right back onto the board. This is a perfect place to work on any intermediate skills or non-looping freestyle moves.

If you do want to practice looping or go for longer runs or even get into less crowded deeper blue waters, just sail a longer distance into the deeper section of the bay. You may even see lots of sea turtles and other fish (there are flying fish all around the island).

Just as fun, and sometime more fun than sailing, is watching the unbelievable freestylers on the island. 3 of the world’s top 5 windsurfing freestyle champions are from Bonaire. The moves these guys can pull will blow your mind. Even the light wind freestylers are hard to take your eyes off.

Caesar Finies is just ridiculous in light winds. If you think light winds are boring, let’s see if you can do some of these tricks! Do not miss the end of this video for him taking the sail off, throwing it into the air and catching it to sail back onto the beach. This is him below.


For rentals and/or lessons there are two beach side equipment rental concessions to help you out: Jibe City and Bonaire.

Jibe City rentals are very nice and consist of mostly new JP and Neil Pryde equipment.

Bonaire Windsurfing Place has a stellar selection of Starboard, RRD and some Naish Boards. They also carry a full spectrum of Hot Sails Maui Sails including the DD for those who want the lightest weight rig possible.

Both locations also have restaurants and bars right on the beach so you can eat, drink and watch the action – or have a place to relax after a long session.

On the kiteboarding front, there is a smaller, offshore wind beach about 10 minutes away from Lac Bay. If you’re an experienced kiter confidently going up wind, you’ll do just fine. The local kiteboarding school has rescue boats and for $20 you can catch a ride back home if you get stranded down wind. As this site is on the ocean side, you can see lots of flying fish in this area. There is really nice swell on the outside and the area closer to the launch can be relatively flat.

We did take some down time from all of the windsurfing and kiteboarding to rent a powerboat and cruise around Klein Bonaire, a little islet about a half mile off the western side of the island. The snorkeling and diving there are absolutely amazing: Lots of coral, fish, crabs and things to see.

Bonaire is a little quite on the nightlife side, but the food on the island is the best that we have had in the Caribbean. Try the ceviche at New Peruvian Restaurant, the mussels with spinach and gouda at It Rains Fishes, the grilled shrimp and Mona Lisa and just about anything at Unbelievable Restaurant.

For accommodations, I’d recommend contacting Ann Phelan the master of Bonaire travel info:

HOT new 2011 NORTH kites rolled out at Sherman Island Sun Sept 5th

Zoe and I ventured up to Sherman Island, a.k.a. “The Delta”, yesterday to join the North crew of Dan and his family. His brother Brian was out on the new kites, and later I got to meet his parents. For the day my family was made up of me and the pooch. Rebecca stayed back at the shop to help all the customers get their season end smokin’ deals. Zoe and I got a hall pass for the North Demo.

Zoe loves the Detla, with fresh water swimming, sand boxes to eat, and people to bark at with the hope of picking up some extra food. I have to keep her on a leash nowadays, as all of the temptations are overwhelming for a nearly 14 year old golden retriever.
Dan (North rep), Molly (his wife) and Dane (there little munchkin) had made the drive down for Hood River to roll out the 2011 kites and give us a chance to test them. Nice sunny warm weather and early burn off the marine layer meant very light winds in the Delta yesterday. But I headed up anyway, as I was excited to check out all of the new kites and hang with Dan and his family.
Dan rigged up a full quiver of 2011 Rebels and Vegas’s.

The Rebel as a few cool new improvements:

  1. double thickness canopy that North designed and has the exclusive on for 2 years. So an already super durable well made brand sets the bar higher with stronger canopy design.
  2. the inflate valve is one way and has a cool close valve system that will prevent leakage. i never saw leakage issues on the current one, but the new design is pretty cool.
  3. the sections of the leading edge have been refined to add even more stability to this truly awesome kite. the 2011 north rebel is incredibly stable. i noticed improved low end in the 12m as the kite turns fast and locks in to really nice low end power
  4. i noticed the 2011 turns faster than the 2010. i hesitated to ride any 12m as i like faster turning kites. the 2011 rebel turns fast and is truly enjoyable to ride. i can’t wait to try the 11, 10 and below.
  5. cool new colors – 3 to choose from. black w/ red, turquoise blue w/lighter blue, and bright light green/purple/red

Here is the 12m Rebel (pictured below) that i got to try. The bar has new graphics but is essentially the same as the 2010 bar. At first i wasn’t keen on the black kite (i am a fan of bright visible colors). but the black rebel grew on me as it looks pretty damn cool. It will probably be the most popular color in the line for all the cool rebels out there!

For a 3rd party review on the 2011 North Rebel, check out: My summation of the north rebel is as follows: direct feel, incredibly stable, smooth power delivery, and lively turning machine!

Here is the 11m in the turquoise blue/light blue/red. All the design influence on color palette is driven by European sport fashion trends.

Dan needs no leap of faith to love the 70s disco palette on the 10m below. Again, at first I was reminded of bad ski clothing of the 70s (and singer Sheena Easton). In person, the bright green/purple/red is really cool looking. I may have to join Dan with his impeccably bad taste on this one, and get myself a neon green ION wetsuit and neon green ION harness to match. Remember, 80% of participating in most sports is all about looking cool (or thinking that you look cool at least).

Should I go for the disco green rebel? What will I use for a board to match?The Vegas has been improved slightly from 2010…and is best summed up here on

“The most important and most challenging innovation is the new Technoforce D2 material. This especially for North Kiteboarding developed double rip stop material was introduced with the Fuse and is now used in any kites of North Kiteboarding. Flying and handling characteristics are changed a lot so the kites have been finetuned a lot to fulfil the expectations of the test crews.

The stiffness of the D2 is way higher then at common materials and tensions in the kite can be used to improve the handling and the performance of a kite. This was a main reason for being able to change the profile in the centre and the tension on the trailing edge. The result is a more powerful and more constant pop.

Unhooked tricks can be done easier because the kite offers a more constant line tension. Handling and feedback of the kite are finetuned and enables to have enormous control of your kite.

The sizes 5, 7 and 9 offer a second brake line attachment, which is slowing down the turning speed of the kite.”

As the sun started to set, Chris announced the BBQ/Pig Roast was under way down by the boat ramp picnic tables. We all migrated down to the food, and enjoyed the warm sunny 85 degree weather. I had about an hour of riding on the 12m rebel before beer thirty rolled around. I was able to stay upwind with my 132 North Select twin tip. That is a major advantage of being a chic (even though I am not a small petite flower like Rebecca!). I can stay upwind on a 12m and small board in very little wind (and I have all that light wind efficient riding practice in Alameda).

Zoe joined me at the BBQ for a while, until she finally managed to get to my leftovers on my plate, including her favorite delicacy, napkins. I tied her up by the car for a break, and returned to the BBQ for some of Maui Mike’s famous bbq’d chicken.

Maui Mike and his crew apparently do this season end BBQ every year. It was a very tasty and impressive spread, including an entire roast pork (yep, head and all), some yummy mango salad/salsa, rice, and bbq’d chicken. Here is the pic of my dinner plate before Zoe got to it.
The warm weather at sunset in the Delta was gorgeous. I did not need a sweatshirt, despite my San Francisco instincts to bring one along. The party crew included many of the Delta regulars, who all greatly appreciate the hospitality of Maui Mike. I am not sure if this is the same guy, but I found a website in Hawaii that may be behind the culinary genius of this very warm and welcoming host, Maui Mike.
Dan was overwhelmed with the local vibe, and sprung up to offer Maui Mike any 2011 kite he wanted. This was his gesture of appreciation for throwing such and awesome and generous bbq for all of us to enjoy. Thanks Dan!!
Of course Mike picked the 12m Rebel that I got to ride this afternoon. Damn, I guess I’ll have to put in my order for one now!!

Here is Dan (with no flash on my iphone and digital cam battery gone dead), offering Mike “any kite you want man, you da best!”
While enjoying the food and pondering the gorgeous, warm, but windless night, I asked Donny of Kitopia when he thought we would get some good wind in the Delta again (and I was looking for my excuse to pitch my tent in the bushes so I could have a breakfast session on Labor Day). Donny looked me right in the eye, and replied “I am hoping by June of 2011”. The black birds then swooped over our heads, and flew off into the sunset beyond the boat ramp. Danny then noted, “the arriving black birds are the sign of death…. the death of the wind for the season”.

I am hoping Donny is dead wrong. There is marine layer in tomorrow’s forecast, so I am headed back to the Delta if there is any hope for wind!


Kiteboarding 4 Girls Clinic at Sherman Island 6/18-6/20

I had a blast at the recent Kiteboarding 4 Girls Clinic up at Rio Vista. Kristin Boese (9x world champion pro kiter) and Sandy Parker (pro rider and owner of Kitopia kite school based in the delta) produced the event. I got to actually attend the event and sponsor the food and wine (cha!). The SFBA / San Francisco Boarding Association and North Kiteboarding also helped me to sponsor the food, and thanks to Lee Ann we were all well fed.

The clinic lasted for 2 days. Day 1 was our day to meet and greet, head up to Kitopia Island, get some trick demos, and ride for a few hours to practice our stuff. Day 2 was a simulator demo (no wind) and then many of the ladies took off for a sesh at Crissy.

Kristin (on left) and Sandy (on right) greeting our crew of 30+ women KB4 Girls participants.

Lunch break up at the island and introductions. We had a diverse group of girls from around the country, including a teen aged 17 all the way up to a lady in her 50s. Experience ranged from 1 year kiting to 11+ years of kiting. Everyone went around the circle to share where they were from and what they whated to achieve in the 2 day clinic.

We all gathered for a self rescue demonstration, led by Kristin, to make sure everyone could get back to the beach in case of any issues.
Nice self rescue! Kristin wore a permanent (and contagious!) smile all weekend.

Time to pump up 30 kites! I went old school with a hand pump, despite the available generator.

Everyone then went into the water so Kristin could demonstrate a bunch of tricks (and shred) in super light winds (10-12). It was chilly for the Delta (70s) but I stayed toastie in my Hyperflex wetsuit jacket.

Kristin demonstrates a chop hop into our faces.
How Kristin busted jumps in 10mph winds was impressive.

Nice! She went through jumping, back rolls, front rolls, unhooked riding, raileys, and a handle pass.
Many of the ladies totally ripped in the clinic. It was totally inspirational to all kite together up at Kitopia island and see a bunch of girls shredding!
Good thing we got some nice winds Saturday (I was on my 7m North Rebel later that afternoon) as Sunday was a warm and windless morning. We gathered for a bar simulator and learned some new tricks.
My first back roll. I will get one on the water once I try one! :)
This is just plain dangling.
And then there’s Kristin….is that a backwards upside down dead lady? I wish I even knew the names of all the tricks she can do!
Group shot to end the wonderful weekend.
Thanks to all the sponsors of the KB4Girls tour and to Kristin and Sandy for making it all happen. What a blast. Hope you can join us next year!

Naish / North Kite Demo Tour 5/6-5/9

We had an extremely successful kiteboarding demo weekend with Nick Stuart from Naish and Dan Schwarz from North. We started the tour at Crissy on Thursday night. It was sunny, warm, and beautiful at Crissy.
We got a few people out on kites and then all got a chance to ride. The wind was light and it was flooding, but it was great for light wind kiting. Dan and Jeremy had the guts to go way across the bay (despite the light winds and flood)…but the wind shut down quickly and we all had to swim/self rescue back to the beach. Dan and Jeremy did their best, but with SW ultra light winds, their self rescue was only going to get them to Alcatraz. We called the coast guard and made sure they got in safely.

I got to practice my back stroke back into the beach, so in the end I got a fantastic work out (sheesh dat water is cold!).

We ended up barbecuing at Crissy and watching the gorgeous sunset.
We hung out with a bunch of the Crissy regulars way past dark…Steve, Chip, Greg, and our demo crew. The brats and beer went down smoothly after a long swim. The match light kept us warm til late.

Friday we headed over to Alameda and the wind came up late but was great. We got to demo and ride. Nick tore it up on the 12m Naish Torch.

Apres surf was hangin at “the shack” and enjoying some more bbqing.

On Saturday we headed to 3rd Avenue in Foster City. The conditions ended up being quite nice (although Alameda was the windier spot Saturday with gusts into the low 30s).

We ended up getting lots of people out on the 2010 North and Naish lineup, including all the directionals, the Naish Torch, Cult and Helix, and the North Rebel, Fuse, and Vegas.

The tide was low so there was plenty of room for all the demo gear. Thank you Shane for helping Dan inflate all of those kites!

3rd Ave kiter and Naish Team Rider Fred with Nick from Naish.
We had to schlep the gear from the golf parking lot so we were good and hungry at the end of the day.

Sunday in Alameda was probably the best wind conditions of the 4 day tour with west winds 18-23 and smooth water.

We had a host of very good riders show up and show off. The spectator scene was lots of fun with a line of people on the sand bank checking out the tricksters.

I had a blast trying out the North Vegas (I think I am in love with C kites again!), the North Rebel (perfection!), the North Fuse (4 line version of the Rebel and super powerful with lots of grunt), the Naish Helix (super fast kite!), the Naish Cult (perfection!), and the Naish Torch (C kites are back in fashion!).

For boards I got to try the Naish Momentum (super smooth with great pop), the Naish Thorn (stiffer and great for boosting big air), Naish Haze (great all around freeride twin tip), North Jaime (stiff with pop but smooth in the chop), North Xride (my favorite and super smooth and fun to carve). We have every board and kite available for demo if you missed our weekend’s festivities. Just give us a call to arrange and you can even take the gear to your local riding spot.

Thanks to Nick, Dan, and Shane for all of the support and fun over the weekend!


SUP, Windsurfing and Kiteboarding in November!

After 18 years of living in San Francisco, I still feel extremely grateful for our weather. The picture above was taken this past Saturday, November 14th! What a great day to be in Alameda.
As you may recall, Saturday morning was gloomy! I woke up to cold, dreary skies and rain. My first thought, “The weatherman sure missed the mark.” The forecast was for sun, but I had serious doubts about seeing sun that day. Fortunately, about 1 hour later, blue skies were on the horizon and the next thing I knew, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen!!

I drove to Alameda and set up for our SUP tour/BBQ and windsurfing lessons. Four of us, hit the water for a Balina Isle paddle at 11:30. The conditions were ideal. Amazing flat water, blues skies and lots of pelicans diving for their lunch. The tide was ebbing so the paddle out was also easy.
Once in side the lagoon area, I could feel the wind picking up. Perfect for our two beginner windsurfing students, Ed and Ben. It was also perfect to have tail winds come back around the other side of the Isle.
Ed and Ben were able to sail around as the wind picked up to a steady 8-10mph and stayed there all afternoon. Even Jesse was able to get out kiting on his 19m Flysurfer and Litewave 161 Wing!

At the end of the day, a few of us sat on the lawn chairs and watch the sun start to set. How lucky we are to live in the Bay Area!

Stellar wind in Alameda this weekend…and traveling to Crown Beach by Ferry

I went to Alameda by ferry yesterday, cruising down Nob Hill on one of our new Ultramotor Electric A2B Bicycles. The whole SF to Alameda bike/ferry trip takes about 35 minutes.

We are now a dealer of these cool electric bikes. Come by or call us for a free demo ride anytime.

I am totally addicted to riding around town on them. They go up to 20mph, have a range of 20 miles on one charge, and can fully charge (by basic power outlet) in 3 hours. You can pedal while you motor, gaining great speed and getting everywhere in a flash. They are technically a bicycle, so NO registration or motorcycle license is required, and you can take them on Bart and all the local ferries. Saturday Marie and I cruised down to Coyote by Bart and bike and I had so much fun that I decided with the Bay Bridge closed for the weekend, this was the most elegant option for getting to Alameda on Sunday.

The ferry leaves from the Ferry Building in SF, and drops off right by Rosenblum Winery in Alameda. From the winery, it’s about a 6 minute pedal to the shack.

It’s a gorgeous ferry ride and it was a beautiful day to travel by boat.

I got a nice view of the Bay Bridge Construction Project.

Alameda was warm and mellow when I arrived at the shack. Around 2:30pm, the wind came up nicely, blowing a steady 18+.

Arde was overpowered (I mean totally lit!) on his 19m Raven. I went out on the 10.5 Cult and had a blast. We have just received our 2010 kites so if you would like to demo the new Cult, give us a call. It is sweet!
The beach was less crowded than usual, with lots of people out of town for Labor Day Weekend.

On my return trip to SF, the Bay was lit up by an almost full moon.
What a nice way to spend the day, and a what a relaxing, fun way to travel the Bay. Thanks to the wind Gods for a very nice windy September weekend in Alameda!


10 Instructors Certified in IKO Course May 17th

We have been so busy teaching kite lessons that I am late in posting this blog entry on our great IKO instructor certification we hosted and completed May 17th. David Dorn and his wife Susie flew over from Maui to run the course at both our Alameda and San Mateo facilities. IKO stands for the International Kiteboarding Organization and is the main international outfit that certifies instructors around the world. This will allow a lot of our team to travel internationally over the winter and share their passion for kiteboarding by teaching globally!

We had a great 5 days together learning lots of new teaching techniques that we have already implemented into our beginner program. Here is the crew on the first day in Alameda, ready to soak up some new teaching techniques for our beginner kiting school.
Here are some of the pics Susie took over the 5 days. Thanks to Susie and David of Action Sports Maui for coming over to teach the course!

First day ride test in Alameda…wind was sweet!

Bruce ripping it up on his bamboo surfboard.
David braving the 70 degree Alameda water in a wetsuit (he used to Maui but braved our local site anyway!), on a 15m Naish Boxer, and a Litewave Wing. Go boy go!
Back to work reviewing all of the different safety systems on the bars….
Lots of Naish kites on the beach in Alameda…David’s favorite brand so he felt right at home.

After riding for a while we were hungry. Susie helped out on the grill with some yummy sausages. Thanks Susie!!

The next day it was back to work and reviewing self rescue teaching techniques. David gettin’ down and dirty in the sand at Crown Beach Alameda…
Andy, Matt, and Kirsten practicing self rescue teaching techniques in the water.
The third day we moved over to Coyote Point in San Mateo to do some boat training.
Water lesson training at Coyote Point at low tide on short lines.
Then on to the boat for launching and landing training….
On day 4 we brought in some “dummy” students for practicing our teaching techniques. Jason had a blast learning from Kirsten!

And the newbies got to go in the water in San Mateo and get free lessons :)
We look forward to hosting an IKO course every Spring as we had a great time and learned some really cool stuff.

Congratulations to all 10 of our Boardsports School instructors who got certified with IKO including from left to right – Kirsten Doerre, Andy Crafts, Michael Mirisciotta, Jonathan Busby, David Dorn (Action Sports Maui and IKO Instructor Trainer), Martin Stokl, Bruce Johnson, Martin Loeffler, Jane Cormier (me), Matt Johnson, Tim Watterman.


Great wind for North Kite Demo 4/25 in Alameda

Dan Schwarz (new North rep as of this Spring) and the North pro team rider John Van Malsen paid us a visit on their West Coast North Kiteboarding Tour this past weekend.

We got very lucky with the wind Saturday in Alameda. Around 4pm, the winds kicked up to 25+ and we got a lot of people out on the new 2009 line of North kites and boards.

Dan said it was his most successful demo over the two week tour – with lots of riders hungry to try all of the North goodies. With such a nice setup in Alameda – good wind, sunshine, and a great crowd, we were pleased to have another successful demo event.

The highlight of the demo was of course the 2009 North Rebel. The kites were great last year, but have some significant improvements in 09. We’re not sure what else they can do to this kite as it seems to be near perfect. Here is a description of its’ riding characteristics>

“The 2009 Rebel is bashing down the barriers of free-riding and surfing! The clean, simple 5 line design delivers smooth, reactive steering, extreme resistance to back-stalling when over-sheeted and the most direct bar feedback yet. Our unique quad strut configuration produces a light weight kite with quick turning and a snappy feel which makes the bigger sizes feel more crispy and lively than ever! The quad strut also helps create a very clean center profile that delivers constant, predictable power for free-ride comfort. The Rebel is heavily reinforced with Dacron to take some severe thrashings in the surf and come out in one piece. The combination of decreased weight and a rounder arch helps prevent the Rebel from falling quickly when the lines go slack while surfing making it easier to recover from steering errors. One pump inflation for added simplicity.”

I got a chance to ride the 10m Rebel last week in Alameda…and was very impressed by the “snappy feel” and stability of the canopy through turns. The 10m had quite a bit of power, and I was able to crank upwind on a light day. The massive depower also makes it a very forgiving kite that will please beginners…just sheet out when that gust comes and the kite lets go of the power. I have been watching Yuri play on his Rebel in Alameda for some time…now I can see why looping the kite is so easy on a Rebel. Lots of response, quick turning, and a steady smooth ride. We have the 09 Rebels available for demo (and new ones in stock if you know you already want one) at Alameda and San Mateo. Come by anytime to try one out if you are in the market for a great new kite!

Dan invited me out with his crazy buddies Saturday night as well. Even though Dan is now 30 something…I am guessing his very cute and lively friends were in their 20s.

I was hoping I could keep up with them and I did my best for a few rounds at Mas Sake on Lombard. I had my first experience with Sake Bombs…where you fill a glass with beer, place 2 chopsticks on top of the glass, rest your sake on the chopsticks, bang on the table to drop the sake into the beer, and shoot it back pronto!
Drinking with the boys reminded me of my days back on the east coast with my financial buddies at Merrill Lynch…taking me to crazy clubs in Manhattan and trying new fangled concoctions. Oh to be young again! I had to head home early Saturday night so I could wake up Sunday morning and teach the stand up paddle clinic in San Mateo at 9am. That is what saved me in the end…

After teaching a great SUP clinic in San Mateo with sunshine and perfect flat water conditions, I made my way to Crissy for some more North demos and / or sailing. We got a few more people to try out the Rebels…but it was a bit holey and gusty, so I opted to take a maiden voyage on my new windsurf board and sail…the Tabou 76 3S and bright orange Hot Super Freak.

I had a total blast and got to sail with Abigail, Rigapasta, Mary, and the regular Crissy crew. I miss hanging out there and will make time this year to get in some great sessions there.

We have some more great demo weekends coming ahead over the next month. Stay tuned on our website for dates/times/locations.

Bye for now.

Trip to Oregon to test Kite, Wind, and SUP Gear

Rebecca and I spent last week up in Oregon to test out some ’09 gear and have some fun on the river and at the coast. We had a blast of a week – and got very lucky with the conditions. Here is a bit about our trip…

Friday, August 8 – fly to Portland from SFO and drive 1 1/2 hrs to Hood River, OR
We drove straight to Pacific Boardsports (north american distributors for Naish) to meet up with Charlie, Nick and MJ. The crew was unloading a container of ’09 goodies, but had time to stoke us out with windsurf and kite gear, and got us on our way to get a session on the river.
Rebecca and I dropped by Big Winds to say hi and get the scoop on the forecast. They pointed us slightly east for the best wind, so we hit Doug’s Beach and they were spot on! The wind was pretty gusty and in the high 20s, but it was a perfect warm up session for sailing in the gorge. I was on a 75 ltr Naish Pro Wave and 4.2 Force and Rebecca was on a 65 ltr Naish Pro Wave and 3.7 Session. The gear was sweet and we got it dialed in for the weekend.
Saturday Aug 9 – get up and go sailing!
Saturday the forecast dictated we hit the road for Roosevelt (the delta of the gorge – 1 1/2 hrs drive east of Hood River). The drive along the Columbia River was gorgeous. As we got further east, we saw the wind continue to build. By the time we got there, it was gusting into the low 40s and we were wondering if we were going to be able to hang on to our 4.2/3.7 sails. We rigged up, hit the water, and lasted about 45 minutes. It was too windy and super gusty. That day got chalked up to a nice drive along the river. Here is a video clip of the conditions (notice the inside is light so winds were NW and GUSTY at Roosevelt). The little 4 year old had no trouble with his fast tack!!

Sunday, Aug 10, get up late and go sailing!
We slept in Sunday and had a big breakfast in our awesome Skamania Lodge room. We once again hit the road and headed to our new gorge favorite spot, Doug’s Beach. Although the launch can be a bit of work (you have to drop your gear at an opening/crossing in the rail tracks, carry it down a hill, walk back up and then go move your car). The sailing spot is sweet and worth the effort with great wind, nice ramps for jumping, and some of the smoothest swell around.
Once we dropped off and walked down our gear, we went back to move the car and change into our wetsuits. The string of parked cars went back about 20 cars, so we pulled in and gave ourselves several car lengths of space so we could get half naked and change into our suits without being right next to our parked neighbor (who was also changing). While I was half exposed and in the process of pulling on my wetsuit, I started to hear a train approaching behind us (we were in between the road and the rail tracks). With the train approaching and the tracks just adjacent to my half naked state, I was about to be exposed to the driver. I screamed to Rebecca to quickly pass me a towel. I avoided a full flash, but the driver could not resist blowing the horn “whuuuuhhhh wooooooo”. I did not know train horns could do that. Ah, the efforts and adventures we go through to windsurf!
Here is Rebecca enjoying our favorite session of the trip – 3 hours of solid sailing on Sunday afternoon in 28mph winds that were relatively steady.
Monday, Aug 11, get a quick ride on the ’09 Naish Cult, then head to the coast
Monday the forecast was for light winds, so we decided to test out the ’09 Naish Cult and then head to the Coast for our Starboard dealer meeting. We went to the Event Site and rigged up a 10.5m and a 12m. Kiting at the Gorge is a bit intimidating, especially with the crowds and the normally gusty high winds. The Event Site proved to be quite welcoming and friendly, and due to the light winds, we managed to enjoy a nice session before heading out. The new kites turned super fast and are even easier to water relaunch, so we know the “Cult” will continue to be an easy kite to love.
We picked up Kipps, one of our windsurfing instructors, at the Portland airport Monday evening, and headed west of Portland 1 1/2 hrs. to the little town of Netart’s Bay. After a gorgeous drive, we arrived in time to catch sunset and dinner at the local Schooner Restaurant.

Tuesday, Aug 12 thur Friday Aug 15 Staboard Dealer Meeting and Product DemosThe rest of the week was made up product meetings and demos. The crew at Trident Sports hosted a top notch week of fun and our hosts included Declan and Tracy (organizers extrodornaire), Scott Mckercher (2004 World Wavesailing Champion), Svein Rasmussen (owner of Starboard),

Ekolu Kalama (3x champion of Molokai to Oahu SUP race),

and Jim Drake (inventor of windsurfing).

We all stayed in a cozy little cabins and condos at the Edgewater Inn, complete with a wood burning fireplaces and views of the breathtakingly beautiful Oregon coast. We didn’t have to get in the car all week so we got much needed respite from the trappings of city life.

The most exciting stuff we heard at the meetings was about Stand Up Paddle boarding’s new explosive growth around the world. The SUP growth is bringing many of our memories back to the early days of windsurfing… when everyone was getting into it and you could see it everywhere (1 in 3 Europeans owned a windsurfer in the 80s). The promise of this new craze is to bring lots of newbies into a very easy to access sport. SUP has many cool features including a built-in awesome core workout, super easy for anyone to learn, tons of fun to cruise/tour on flat water/lakes/bays/open ocean, and easier to catch waves than regular surfing as you have that nice big paddle to help out.

The new ’09 12’6″ Starboard SUP (“The Cruiser and fastest, nicest one to take out with a windsurf sail) features an optional retractable centerboard – so we can help beginner windsurfers easily make the crossover….as well as easliy get SUP entrants into windsurfing.

Netart’s Bay was a perfect setting for for testing all the Starboard SUPs. I woke up early one morning, and caught a nice paddle all through the bay, complete with views of bright orange starfish and sensational bird watching (oh golly, I am getting old!).

The best part of our coastal stint was catching up with other schools and shops around the country and sharing ideas for promoting windsurfing and SUP. We had a lot of fun hanging with Mark from “East of Maui” in Annapolis, MD, Mark & Steve from Big Winds, Captain Kirk from LA and Baja, Jim Ballantyne from Sailworld Cape Cod, Randy & Angela from Worldwinds Corpus Christi, TX, Simon from Toronto, Wardog from Santa Barbara/surfingsports, Pete DeKay from Windport Mag….and many others!

Thanks to Naish and Starboard for such an awesome week! We’ll be back next year :)

Best wind season in years in Alameda!

We have had one of the best seasons ever for wind this year.  We have seen more solid wind days than in any year since we started managing the school (2002). This has helped us get more beginners up and riding and stoked on their new gear!

Come out and get some of the good wind. The forecast for the 4th of July weekend is more of the same…and we are open all weekend (including the holiday tomorrow).

TV Crews in Alameda, wassup?

On May 21st and June 3rd, TV crews from KTVU Channel 2 News and KRON Channel 4 Bay Area Backroads visited Crown Beach Alameda to report on a couple of cool stories.

May 21st KTVU report: The crew was reporting on water quality improvements in the Bay. Crown Beach Alameda was featured. Footage of kiters were shown on KTVU news that evening, and I got to see myself kiting on the news!  The water quality seems to have improved over the 7 years we have been running the school. The water is clearer than ever.
June 3rd Bay Area Backroads report: Dean, the cameraman from Bay Area Backroads, came out to Crown Beach to film Boardsports School for an upcoming feature. They are producing a spot on fun things to do on the Bay. Dean caught some great footage of kiting and windsurfing at Crown Beach. The weather was absolutely perfect – sunshine and wind in the 20s! The show will air in September and we’ll post it on the blog so you can catch the Boardsports Alameda action.
This is a great week for wind – come get out on the Bay!!
Boardsports School & Shop