Kayaking in San Francisco^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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nichburton
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Kayaking in San Francisco^

Post by nichburton » Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:50 pm

I'm off to San Francisco next week for business and luckily have a spare day in the area. I'm an experienced river & sea kayaker, so am hoping to get some paddling done - any recommendations for trips or things to see from the water (sea or nearby rivers)?

Google has found several companies working in the area, but am interested to know if any of you have relevant experience of the area!

Thanks.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:21 pm

Nearest worthwhile river - the American River system (various forks), based from Auburn, which is 3-4 hours travel.

http://www.awa.org/rivers/state/CA/
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Jim
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Post by Jim » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:26 pm

The other option is surf, not sure just how cold the northern California winter is but it has a reputation for being cold and scary with the boardies (mind you I am thinking of Mavericks which is well nuts!). I've found good waves at Bolinas (to the north, over the Golden Gate bridge in Marin county) and also somewhere to the south, I think it was called Pescadero but I couldn't a beach that looked right on a photo survey of the coastline that Clark linked off the sea board some time back. There is information about a break right under the Golden Gate bridge but I gather it needs certain conditions and get pretty big. I mentioned Mavericks earlier, so it might be worth saying DON'T check out half moon bay, the break is on a reef just outside the bay and it is for registered psychopaths only.

Sea touring in Marin County could be a good option - I'm sure Clark will look in and tell you if it's feasible at this time of year (or find the thread with the photos) - miles of rugged coastline and impressive cliffs and sealions, so it might just be too hardcore? I doubt if paddling in the bay itself is either very exciting or very safe with the amount of other boating traffic.

Rivers wise I think Mark has covered, but for goodness sake check the gauges and ski-reports, I suspect there might not be many rivers in the Sierra Nevada at this time of year.....

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Post by Owen » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:15 pm

Have a look at;

www.seakayakermag.com

click on water trails > california > San Francisco bay area.

Looks good.

Rob G
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SF Bay Kayaking

Post by Rob G » Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:02 am

SF Bay is a very cool place to paddle. Google Seatrex or Seatreck and talk to them. If Jim at Rip tides and Rapids has something going, he's the one to go with. He's the NDK and Valley dealer there and his website address is www.riptidesandrapids.com.

The bay is outstanding and has nice tidal races at Yellow bluff and Alcatraz. There is enough challenge to hold a 5* Sea assessment split between the bay and the outer coast. I did all my trainings and assesment there. The city view is superb, especially at night. It's not Penrhyn Mahr, I am told, however, everything has it's own unique beauty.

I don't know who any of the folks in the Sonoma area are but Bodega Bay is stunning. At the moment, the swells are in the 3-6 meter range and will probably stay high as the winter has been quite rough this year. You can keep track of the progress by logging onto www.noaa.gov and https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/PUBLIC/.

If I lived there I'd have you out, but I'm way up north in Washington State. Oh, try posting a note on www.bask.org. It is a bay area sea kayaking site.

Cheers,

Rob G

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seismicscot
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Post by seismicscot » Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:40 pm

SF Bay is an amazing place to paddle. Lots of interest and some 'challenging' conditions resulting from complex bathymetry, strong tidal flows, and strong winds. The water varies from very cold to bloody freezing - dress for immersion!



If time is tight and you don't want to drive too far, then Seatrek in Sausalito (http://www.seatrekkayak.com/pages/renta ... entals.htm) is the closest place to the City. There is also CCK in Jack London Square, Oakland (http://www.calkayak.com/), however, they don't have as ready access to the variety of sea kayaking that you have from Sausalito. Wherever you end up in the Bay, take note of tides (http://www.tidesonline.com/) and weather (http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/pub/data/text/FZUS56/KMTR.TXT) as these will determine where you can paddle!



A couple of good trips on the Bay are:



1. From Sausalito to Belvedere Point or Tiburon Point, ferry glide across Racoon Strait and circumnavigate Angel Island. Good tide rips, interesting coastline and great views of the City.



2. From Sausalito to Yellow Bluff, Horshoe Cove and out under the GG Bridge; and on to Point Bonita if time allows. Excellent Franciscan coastline and Yellow Bluff is a great place to play when the tides are right!



If you want to travel a wee bit further afield, then Blue Waters (http://www.bwkayak.com/) on Tomales Bay or MBK (http://www.montereybaykayaks.com/retail/index.php) in Monterey are also recommended as places to rent kayaks and have direct access to some superb paddling.



If you are looking for a paddling partner, then send an email to BASK (Bay Area Sea Kayakers http://www.baskers.org/frame.html) at info@bask.org. There will nearly always be someone willing to go for a paddle on the Bay.



If you need any more detailed info, send me a PM. Also, there is an article in a recent Sea Kayaker on paddling on the Bay. If you want I can scan it and send it to you.



Enjoy your trip to SF.



Cheers,



Clark
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nichburton
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SF advice

Post by nichburton » Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:31 pm

Excellent stuff there, thanks all! I'll surf through it properly tonight, but it sounds as if Sea Treks from Sausalito could be worth checking out. My hotel is right in the middle of the city so it also sounds like the most accessible.

Must remember to pack the dry cag & thermals next to the suit & smart shoes. ;o)

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seismicscot
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Post by seismicscot » Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:16 pm

Jim mentioned Mavericks, which went off in style last week:

Image

There are many more mouth-watering (or bowel-losening? depending on your point of view) pictures at http://www.mavsurfer.com

More amiable surfing spots are Bolinas (both at the mouth of the estero and, for the more gnarly, the reef off the point). Fort Point is recommended only if you like trading fist with boardies. Dillon Beach (between Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay) was always my favourite spot - just watch out for Carcharodon carcharias tracking you through the soup!

Cheers,

Clark
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Rob G
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tidal info for the bay

Post by Rob G » Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:33 pm

The following link is a good source for tide and current:

http://tbone.biol.sc.edu/tide/sitesel.html

Rob G

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nichburton
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Angel Island

Post by nichburton » Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:33 am

Thanks for the excellent advice! I only had 1 day free and luckily the weather was great. Took the ferry over to Sausalito and hired a kayak from Sea Trek, and then did a trip around Angel Island, complete with seal watching.

http://gallery15608.fotopic.net/c840295.html

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:11 pm

Nice one, Nick - I like the 'arf, arf' picture!
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