Crissy Field is one of the most scenic places in the world to kite and also one of the most challenging locations. Kiting under the Golden Gate bridge should be high up on everyone’s bucket list of places but strong tidal currents, shifty winds, and lots of ship traffic makes it quite easy to get in trouble if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. Talking to the locals is strongly encouraged to get a better understanding of the conditions as they vary greatly from day to day, much can change within the space of an hour. St Francis Yacht Club hosts a Hydrofoil Race Series every other Thursday evening from April through October which can be very exciting to spectate from the beach. If it is your first time, be sure to check the guidelines posted at the site and chat up some of the locals before scoring your first Golden Gate experience.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: San Francisco (SFO)
DISTANCE TO LOCATION: 45 minutes
TRANSPORT TO LOCATION: Taxi, Uber or Lyft are great ways to get around the San Francisco area, but if you are looking to sample some of the other nearby locations a rental car is probably best.
BEST SEASON: April through mid-September
WIND RANGE IN KNOTS: 10-25 knots on the outside
LOCAL RULES/SAFETY: See online SFBA guide or bulletin board by the bathrooms and talk to locals.
LODGING RECOMMENDATIONS AND COSTS: Budget lodging in San Francisco is very hard to come by but you might try to connect up with local kiters or try www.LonelyPlanet.com for a list of hostels. North Beach and Marina District are a 5-10 minute cab ride away from the beach and offer a lot of mid to high range hotels. AirBnBs are also very popular in the San Francisco area.
LOCAL SHOPS/SCHOOLS: CaliKites is the local shop and Live2Kite is just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Kite The Bay offers boat supported lessons under the Golden Gate Bridge.
THE ONE THING EVERY VISITOR MUST DO: Make it back to the beach — seriously, read the rules, talk to the locals and return to the beach if you have any doubts about the conditions.
WHY ERIN RECOMMENDS CRISSY FIELD:
“Having kited almost daily at Crissy Field now for over 10 years this extraordinary spot still challenges me and instills a sense of awe every time I make it out under the bridge. While City Front is not the best place for attempting freestyle tricks, it is certainly a beautiful location just to ride. Crissy boasts one of the most competitive hydrofoil kiteracing scenes in the world; top racers train and race in the waters off of San Francisco almost every day, and it’s unparralelled in scenic beauty and intense kitesailing conditions.”
Words and photos by Erin Loscocco
Want more locations like this? Grab a digital copy of Tkb’s 2017 North American Travel Guide. There’s an amazing variety of kiteboarding destinations out there and there’s nothing like scoring a great session far from home to keep your level of excitement high. Start planning your next kiteboarding getaway today!