Enjoying Crissy Field Kiteboarding
Welcome to Crissy Field. Thank you for familiarizing yourself with Crissy kiting protocol so we can all be safe and have a great time.
Crissy Field is a world-class sailing, windsurfing and kite surfing area for experienced riders. Gusty winds and strong currents can make kiting here challenging. The wind is side-offshore and the launch can be tricky, with winds often fluky/light on the inside.
Kiters should excel in upwind and jibing ability, be knowledgeable of ebb, flood and counter currents, and be strong swimmers. A full wetsuit year round is a must. Because the wind can be light on the beach but nuking on the outside, rig the right size kite for the outside.
• Beach Goers – We share the beach with families, tourists and dog walkers. They always have the right of way. Please ensure you set up/launch away from the crowds and children.
• Windsurfers – Are well established at Crissy. Kiters generally launch upwind of the windsurfers and head toward the north tower.
• Kites on the Beach – Remember to put sand on your kite to avoid a runaway, and quickly roll up lines to avoid crossing someone else. Once launched move to the water quickly; please don’t stand on the beach with your kite in the air.
While On the Bay
• The Inside – From Anita Rock to the beach. It’s generally lighter in here and not great kiting unless it’s a strong NW day. You can usually swim in from here.
• Anita to the Channel – The span where the wind picks up and fills in. You are closer to the swimmable zone yet not in the channel.
• Fort Point/South Tower – The topography and the Fort there make for a wind shadow that moves around the tower base, which can drop your kite. Give the South Tower a wide berth.
• Presidio Shoal – On the inside upwind of Crissy. Holey and light, kites often drop here.
• North Tower – Smooth butter just outside.
• Shipping Channel – You probably want to spend the least time here.
• Last Chance Beach – Or the stairs before StFYC, is usually an easy shot if you miss Anita or even swim from inside Anita.
Commercial Ship Traffic
Please always give commercial traffic right of way. This means not crossing their bow. Rule 9 places the obligation on us, the small vessel operator, to avoid impeding the large vessel (http://www.uscg.mil/d11/vtssf/rule9.asp)
• Allow more than enough time and space for a large vessel to see that you are moving out of their path. Make early and clear movements for them to note.
• Monitor VHF Ch 14, which commercial vessels use to communicate with Vessel Traffic Service (VTS).
Self Rescue Tips
• Use the buddy system and stay within in sight of the pack.
• Know how to taco/self rescue; never jettison your gear and swim for it.
• Always keep your kite inflated until you are rescued by a boat.
• If the wind shifts offshore, flip your kite on its back and clip your leash to the pump attachment point, so you can swim parallel to the wind and current.
• If you drop your kite inside Anita, swim for it.
• If its light on the inside, take a few tacks out and recon the wind line to find a way back home.
• On good days, coming in high (upwind of Anita) is fine, on most days ripping across the wind may be best, but sometimes going low is the only (and counter-intuitive) option.
• If you miss last chance beach, stay out away from the piers down wind.
• Fort Point (South Tower) is not a rescue option, unless you’re familiar with it and it’s low tide with the small clearing visible between the rocks.
Coast Guard Etiquette
• Consider carrying a VHF radio and a strobe light. Use 16 to report an incident to the Coast Guard.
• Mark your gear with your name and phone number. If you lose anything, report it to the Coast Guard station (415) 331-8247 to avoid a search and rescue operation. We don’t want the Coast Guard searching if you are safe. For Sector, which covers USCG emergencies area wide, call (415) 556-2103.
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