From the blog

Past Blog Posts

  • SUPper Club Tour Sat 1/17 2 hour paddle south end Crown Beach

    This weekend’s SUPper Club Tour is down the south end of Crown Beach Alameda to the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and back. The paddle takes about 2 hours and is from 1pm-3pm. This tour is open to all and does not require SUP experience. The cost is $39 and sign ups are recommended. Call or email us. Jane & Rebecca
  • Adding Jetskis to our fleet for 2010….kite lessons in San Mateo

    I had some fun going jetski shopping today. We are adding 2 jetskis to our fleet for our kiteboarding lesson program in San Mateo. We will continue to offer our full kiteboarding lesson program from both our Alameda and our San Mateo facilities. Come learn how to kiteboard with us!
  • Harnesses – All Top Brands Ion, Prolimit, Underwave, North, Naish, Dakine

    thumbnail_prolimit-kitewaist-pro-2013 We carry all of the TOP BRANDS of harnesses for your windsurfing and/or kitesurfing needs. Both of our shop locations – Alameda and San Mateo, are FULLY STOCKED with tons of choices for you. Come in and try on a harness, and GET HOOKED for life! We are happier in a harness, using the wind to speed along the gorgeous San Francisco Bay. Top Harness Brands:
    • Ion
    • Prolimit
    • Underwave
    • North
    • Naish
    • Dakine
    Visit our ONLINE STORE to check out the selection and come on in to try one on.
  • 4th of July Wetsuit SALE – 15% OFF


    Come on in and get a new wetsuit!

    15% off (non-sale items)

    In-store purchases only

    Alameda & San Mateo

    We are open all weekend at both shops.

    4th of July weekend hours & directions
  • 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
  • Blade FAT LADY Kite Demo Alameda Sunday 8/7

    Join us to try out the 2016 Blade FAT LADY 17m Kite

    When: Sun 8/7 Where: Boardsports Alameda Time: 1pm-5pm Cost: Free to experienced kiters that are independent and riding upwind What: try out the ultimate light wind high performance kite from Blade. “The Fat Lady does it again! This is by far one of the best kites this year! I owned the previous model and loved it to death. Turns even faster this year, probably the fastest turning 17m I’ve ever flown and it works great in all conditions with an amazing wind range,” Clint Sterba. Read more at The Kiteboarder Magazine Review of the Fat Lady BLADE-FAT-LADY-LW-GEAR-REVIEW-2015-02
  • British Virgin Islands Kitesurf/Windsurf/Stand Up Paddle Vacation on a 50′ Catamaran

    Life is good. Life is very good when you find yourself on a 50′ bareboat charter with a bunch of fun loving sports enthusiasts for a weeks’ vacation in the tropics. The idea of going on this sailing trip was easily inspired by a lifelong desire to cruise amid turquoise waters and stupendous lush green Caribbean islands.

    The BVI’s archipelago of 60 closely knit islands make for a sailor’s paradise.

    Who wouldn’t want to go sail around paradise? Each person I called to invite reacted by saying “I have always wanted to do that! This is my dream trip!”

    The best way to see the British Virgin Islands is by sailboat, and for the utmost comfort and spacious luxury, we chose the largest cat we could find, the Lagoon 500. Catamarans are not all the same. They come in many different shapes and sizes. Jesse and I started to do the research, and it quickly became clear which boats looked the coolest, nicest, and most desirable.

    Once the plans were laid for the boat, the rest of the trip production started to fall into place. I love planning travel. It’s kind of like producing your own dream. Imagine where you will go, visit a bunch of websites with beautiful pictures, read endless reviews and opinions online about the best spots. Mundane travel logistics can be more laborious, such as the best flying routes, what times do the ferries run, and what do we all need to pack. It’s all in a day’s work – and that is a job I’ll take any day! What yummy things can we cook for 11 people for 7 days? Can we fit 11 stand up paddle boards on deck? Where do we store all the kite gear on a boat? Which islands do we visit and in which order? After some careful research filled planning, we arrived to Tortola a few days early just to make sure we had everything in place.

    Our boat charter company recommended a small hotel on the west end of the island called the Tamarind Club. The hotel was tucked into a little jungle spot near Josiah’s Bay surf beach. It had a very lively bar scene, an eclectic family staff, and very good food. They also have a very nice swimming pool, so I got to do some laps and swim up to my bar stool.

    Tamarind club is close the the best kite beach – Long Beach near Beef Island airport, and close to the only windsurf gear rental spot on Tortola – Trellis Bay. We got lucky with the wind and snuck in a few good days of kiting before we got on the boat.

    Here is Rebecca cruising on her 9m Naish Torch.

    With food unpacked, soft luggage stowed, paddle boards secured, kite gear lowered into multiple storage hulls, snorkel gear within reach, and “pain killer” cocktails a flowin’, we were ready to set sail!

    Kerstin found more spots to store all the kite gear!

    Here is Capin’ Jesse. He is so comfortable being in charge. He made our trip so relaxing!

    Day 1: Our first stop was a short sail to Marina Cay (pronounced “key”). This is my kind of island. It’s a little teeney weeney island with not more than a pay phone and a bar. We tied up to a mooring ball, and took the rib into the dock to go snorkel.

    Here is our very cool rib. What made it so cool was that it was orange.

    Every other rib we saw was grey – so ours was easy to spot on a crowded dock at night after many painkillers. We were not pill popping, this is the ever so famous Caribbean concoction of rum, pineapple, orange juice, creme of coconut, and nutmeg!

    Our first site upon arriving at Marina Cay Island was an old school British pay phone on the dock. Who should we call? Does the phone still work? Our cell phones certainly didn’t!

    Thankfully a colorful sign pointed us in the right direction. Off to snorkeling we went!

    The water was really shallow – so I referred to that Marina Cay snorkel spot as “nano” or “mirco” snorkeling. All the fish were scaled down to size – and swam around happily in their warm water paradise.

    Ok, nothing “nano” about this ray!

    Marina Cay is a great starting point for 3 reasons: it’s a short easy sail from Hodge’s Creek Marina on Tortola, the snorkeling was super cool and different, and there is a Pusser’s Landing bar to serve up some tasty Cruzan Painkillers at dinner!

    No pain no gain for me, Kerstin, and Bonnie. I paid extra for my painkiller recipe mug that I got to take home with me!


    Day 2 Marina Cay to Virgin Gorda Baths.

    We got up early to set sail to Virgin Gorda. In less than 2 hours, we were tied up to another mooring ball and were ready to feast on some ginormous boulders. The Virgin Gorda Baths are quite a spectacular tourist attraction. The Baths, a geological wonder comprised of awe-inspiring granite boulders, form sheltered sea pools on the beach’s edge. You gotta see it to believe it!

    From the Baths we set sail for the northern end of Virgin Gorda – and the Bitter End Yacht Club. Virgin Gorda, so named because this British Virgin Island resembles a large reclining woman, is the 3rd largest island of the BVI’s (Tortola 1/ Anegada 2). Our sail from the Baths to the BEYC (Bitter End) was my most memorable, as the Virgin Gorda backdrop is stupendous. We all took turns at crew to help Jesse sail our luxury cruiser. Everyone made it look pretty easy (and the push button trim on the sail didn’t hurt either).

    Kerstin and Silvia take their turn at crewing.

    Once we arrived at the north side of the island, we grabbed a mooring ball nice and close to the Bitter End Yacht Club (paradise on earth!).

    Mooring ball anyone? The ladies had it down!

    Ariel view of the north sound and BEYC. Not bad for a 2 night hang spot.

    The resort has some nice rooms – only about $900 per night! Beachfront king cottage anyone?

    Not a bad panoramic view of a bunch of crazy ginormous yachts.

    Day 3: North Sound for a second night.

    Rebecca, Jesse and I chillin at the BEYC.

    The Bitter End has some nice windsurfing gear for rent.

    Jesse tuning a sail – more downhaul! Lol, it wasn’t very windy in the protected harbor. Great beginner conditions though!

    Rebecca going out to help out Rick and Bonnie on windsurfing tips!

    Bonnie’s time on the water in Alameda showed…she looked so graceful sailing in between the gorgeous sailboats.

    Daily paddle board rental for only $200! Good thing we rented our boards in advance and had them on board our 50′ cat!

    Having 11 SUPs on board gave everyone independence once we tied up at each mooring. Freedom ain’t free but it sure is worth it. The boards were great NSP SUPs.

    Carlin and Megan on the beach at BEYC.

    Carlin, Megan and I went for a paddle and a mini hike (lol) to check out a cool resort that overlooked the other side of the hill from the yacht club.

    I think Kerstin paddled to the bar with Silvia and Laura!

    Our other fine adventure was sneaking over to Necker Island (Richard Branson’s little island oasis). We pumped up a bunch of kites and had a blast riding around. The water is so beautiful in the Caribbean. The clarity is spectacular, and you can see everything while you almost ground yourself on coral reef! Look where you want to go! Oops!

    We launched from the nice white sandy beach adjacent to the main island. It had a fake palm tree on it. Awesome!

    Ariel view of Necker Island.

    Apparently one island is not enough for Richard…he is looking into buying another one nearby. Not bad for a virgin!

    After two glorious days at the North Sound, we were ready to set sail and head to the North side of Tortola. Time for some more sailing!

    Day 4: BEYC to Cane Garden Bay, North shore Tortola

    Scenic Cane Garden Bay was our destination – quite a contrast to where we were sailing from. Cane Garden Bay – think laid back reggae town (after the 100ft yacht scene at BEYC).

    By this point in the trip, we noticed an extraordinary number of rainbow flags on nearby sailboats. Who knew we were along for the ride for gay sailing week! Go gay pride! I need to find out how to get all these nice gays out to San Francisco for some windsurfing, kitesurfing, and stand up lessons. Oh wait, maybe they all came from San Francisco?

    We did some paddling, some snorkeling, and then went ashore for some dinner at Cane Garden Bay. Here is the restaurant we ate at, Myett’s Beach Bar. Great live music, good food (served on Caribbean time, about 2 hours after we sat down!), and great people watching.

    Day 5: Cane Garden Bay Tortola to Sandy Spit, Jost Van Dyke

    The next morning we set sail for the east end of Jost Van Dyke, where a small paradisiacal island called The Sandy Spit sits at a normally perfect angle to the wind.

    Ok so the angle was not perfect (hello self rescue!), but we had a great day kiting when the wind came up, other than the moment that I got caught (literally) by a fish hook attached to a fishing pole on the back of a passing catamaran. Damn, I forgot my kite knife! Never again…

    They have had a great wind season – average wind speeds of around 20mph every day.

    Rick (pictured below with Laura) was our anchor man at the Sandy Spit. He was quick to jump in the water with snorkel gear to make sure our anchor bit in the sand. This is a very important job, as anchoring a 50′ cat between two other ginormous very close cats is not for the faint of heart. Good job Rick and Captain Jesse!

    Sandy spit is not a bad place just to hang out and swim on the lee side of the island!

    After a full day of kiting, we set sail again for the west end of Jost Van Dyke. There lies gorgeous White Bay and the famous (or infamous) Soggy Dollar Bar.

    Soggy Dollar Bar – for the “original” painkiller.

    Sunset at White Bay:

    Sunsets are romantic! Lindsey and Rick enjoying the last bit of daylight and the gorgeous sky.

    Me, Laura, and Kerstin

    Double rainbow!

    After all of that kiteboarding, I was up early the next day to see the sunrise on White Bay. Now that was worth rolling out of bed for!

    Day 6: White Bay Jost Van Dyke to The Indians

    Off to another day of “sailing” to get to The Indians – one of the best snorkel spots in the BVIs. Megan, Rick, Carlin, and Bonnie hanging out in the outdoor living room.

    The Indians

    Amazing snorkeling! Rock beauty fish:

    Yellowtail damselfish, one of my favorites!

    Rebecca kickin back on deck!

    Jesse selfie by The Indians:

    To top off our snorkeling, we headed to the Caves next, not far from The Indians.

    The caves were great for snorkeling, check it out!

    After all that glorious snorkeling, we sailed to Peter Island and moored by Willie T’s. Believe it or not, we were too tired to get silly drunk and jump off a boat bar. I think we had had our own floating booze cruz and were ready to just kick back and chill. Paddling to Willie Ts seemed much cooler.

    We also had a reason to kick back on board. We were happy to hang for our final group dinner, and to help celebrate Rebecca’s birthday! Kerstin had been a cool cat and snuck a rum cake on board without Rebecca knowing it. I brought some big candles all the way from San Francisco. What a great way to celebrate the end of a fantastic week for all!

    After our amazing week at sea, Jesse, Rebecca and I had to do a “debriefing” at the Fisherman’s Reef Marriott on St. Thomas. We discussed all of the finer points of the trip and whether we should change anything for next year. Come to think of it, I am not sure we would change a thing!

    Join us next year for BVI 2015! Join us if you can! We all had a blast! Thanks to everyone for joining us on an amazing trip!
    Jane & Rebecca
  • 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…
    you’re not kiting, pack up your kite or move it into the shade. UV rays
    will degrade the fabric, make the canopy weak and prone to blowouts,
    cutting your kite’s life in half. Think about the ways the sun can burn
    and damage your skin. Also, in hot conditions, air inside the LE will
    expand while your kite is baking in the sun can exceed the kite’s
    maximum PSI, causing the LE bladder to explode. If your kite is left in
    a hot car, the valve glue can fail, causing ALL of a kite’s valves to
    delaminate at once. This is an expensive repair. Sometimes this can
    happen if the kite is in the luggage compartment of a plane on a hot
    tarmac. Remove your kite from a hot car/cargo box and if possible try to
    bring your kite as carry on luggage if you’re traveling someplace hot –
    sometimes it’s possible to pack two clean kites into one bag for this
    2. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KITE FLAPPING IN THE WIND. If you’re not riding,
    pack up your kite or anchor it in a safe leeward wind shadow. If you
    notice a lot of white cracks forming in the tail edge of your kite, it’s
    the UV coating being beat to death by the wind – think of an old flag
    that’s been flapping in the wind for a while. As this UV coating
    degrades, your kite’s canopy also becomes less water resistant and
    heavier after it lands on the water. This changes the performance of the
    kite, as the material becomes saturated, heavier and less responsive.
    3. CLEAN YOUR KITE. After being packed up, sand left in the kite will
    act like sand paper against the canopy and LE Dacron, abrading the
    fabric and causing pinholes that will turn into full on blowouts when
    the kite is crashed. ALSO, when sand is packed up with the kite, it will
    work its way inside the LE and struts and can cause pinhole leaks in the
    bladders. A simple tool to use is a small hand-broom, or even a rag.
    Keep it in your kite bag and before you deflate your kite, just take a
    minute to brush off the sand especially from the cracks between the
    canopy and inflatable frame. And when you do pack the kite, try to pack
    it loose instead of tight. Salt crystals can also abrade over time, so
    for long term storage also rinse the salt crystals from the kite with
    fresh water, and DRY COMPLETELY so it won’t mold.
    4. INSPECT YOUR KITE FOR PINHOLES. Check the canopy, LE and Strut
    materials for small holes and repair them. If unchecked, these WILL turn
    into full blowouts when the kite is crashed on the water or when under
    pressure. Two easy ways to avoid pinholes: don’t pack your kite with
    sand and make sure the neoprene covers for the one pump hose clips are
    actually covering the hard/sharp plastic hose clips. NOTE: Sharp-tipped
    beach grass, sea shells and rocks can also cause pinholes, so try not to
    set your kite on those.
    This is a great write up from one of our instructors. Use these guidelines to make your kite last longer. The instructor who wrote this article can help you out with bladder replacement, bladder repair, valve repair. Contact us by email to arrange a repair. But honestly, he rather just ride with you, so follow his suggestions so you can maximize your time on the water. We sell repair kits and supplies. We also have a list of local repair services around the SF Bay Area
  • Boardsports nominated “BEST OF BAY” by SF Chronicle, VOTE April 7th!

    Boardsports School & Shop has been nominated by the SF Chronicle for the “Best of Bay List” for 2009. Click on the banner below to place your vote – voting starts April 7th!
  • Rent the Starboard TANDEM Windsurf Board in Alameda

    Windsurfing just got to be twice as much fun! Come out to our Alameda facility and rent the 2009 Starboard Gemini. This is a wide style tandem board that allows you to have twice the fun! Now you can have those conversations with someone else while sailing (as opposed to talking to yourself all day!). Rebecca and I tried sailing tandem while down in Mexico, and had a blast. Jibing is a trip without luggage! This is great form of entertainment for beginners, advanced sailors, and families with kids. I plan to sail it with Rebecca and my dog Zoe! I get the back seat Rebecca!!! (we recommend you put the shorter more durable sailor in front). Here is the review from Windsurfing Magazine> Test date: 9/18 Location: Merritt Island, Florida Wind: 4-9 mph, 8-14 mph Water conditions: Mild wind chop Tester(s): Josh Sampiero, with Eddy Patricelli and Sean Sullivan Level: Advanced, expert, advanced Weights: 220 lbs., 180 lbs., 140 lbs. Yes, it really is that big – the Starboard Gemini tandem board. Starboard Gemini Volume: 350 liters Length: 372 cm Width: 101 cm Fin: 70 cm Sail size: 2.0-10.0 m First take • It’s big. Real big. It dwarfs any other windsurfing board I’ve ever seen – and takes up as much floor space as a small sailboat. There’s no question it’s going to be stable – but can something that big actually be fun to sail? • It’s a good thing the board is designed for two people – because it almost takes two people just to carry the thing. • Long Formula-type fin, with a relatively normal-size centerboard. The Gemini has three mast tracks – two for tandem and one in the middle for solo sailors. Full EVA deck is soft and easy on the feet or knees – good for beginners. First sesh – light winds I climbed on for my first tandem experience with veteran tandem windsurfer Eddy Patricelli. The first rule of tandem sailing is that the heavier guy always goes in back, so I got in the pilot’s position and Eddy took shotgun. The 70 cm fin made getting away from shore a little tricky, but once we were going, it was easy sailing. • The board floated our combined 400 pounds of weight with ease – I’m betting it could take more if needed. If there was ever a board made for an NFL offensive lineman, this is it. • Sailing – In light winds it’s stable, but not a particularly fast light-air cruiser. Just sailing along is no difficult feat, but synchronized pumping definitely requires some practice. We tried kicking the centerboard up to get planing but no luck – there just wasn’t enough wind. • Headed upwind, then downwind, with no problem. The board turns slowly, as expected, but steering is fairly intuitive – it works just like any other board you’ve ever sailed. Tacking and jibing is a dance that requires communication and timing. The sailor in front leads, and the sailor in back follows. It’s a little tricky at first, but once you’ve got the timing down, it’s a breeze. Remember to duck! Second sesh – more wind, less weight When the wind came up later in the afternoon, I grabbed WindSurfing’s featherweight board tester Sean Sullivan to introduce him to the thrills of tandem sailing. With some bigger sails and our reduced combined weight, would we get the big board on a plane? You bet! • Getting onto a plane is fairly simple. Bear off, kick up the centerboard and away you go. Though the Gemini has Formula board width, its length means it slowly climbs onto a plane, rather than popping up quickly like a shortboard. • As far as I know, there’s no tonnage rule in windsurfing – but this board might inspire one. Once you’re up and planing, steering is certainly possible, but it didn’t happen fast. Fortunately, other sailors tended to give the Gemini a pretty wide berth. • After a few runs, Sean and I are in perfect harmony. We bear off onto a plane, then move into the straps at the same time. Transitions are initiated with a simple “1, 2, 3” countdown. Since I’m using a 10-meter sail in the back, we stick mostly to tacks, though jibes – slow, not planing – were possible, too. We’d definitely want some more time sailing the board, preferably with smaller sails, before going for a full-speed jibe. Although I didn’t have a GPS, we were able to attain some pretty impressive speeds, almost keeping up with other sailors on normal windsurfing gear. Boujmaa Guillol (front) and Eric Girard enjoy having room for two on the Starboard Gemini. Conclusions This is serious fun! The best part of sailing a tandem isn’t the actual windsurfing – it’s having company while you’re doing it. Windsurfing can be such a lonely sport when you’re out on the water, you forget how much fun it is to enjoy the company of others. Plus, there’s a thrill to working in concert with another windsurfer – and getting the massive board powered up on a plane is a blast. Starboard is marketing the Gemini as bringing a wide-board, early planing shape to tandem windsurfing boards – and I think it’s succeeded. With enough sail power and moderately skilled riders, the Gemini will get going in a relatively light breeze – it had Sean and me planing in 10-14 knots. The biggest drawback to the Gemini is that its sheer size isn’t very practical – it’s not going to fit in most vans, and probably isn’t very easy to get on the roof racks, so it’s not something you just bring along for a day at the beach. Its long fin might be limiting for some locations, but it is offered with a shallow-water fin (we did not have a chance to test the board with it). But as a board for windsurfing schools, or as something to keep at the family lake house, it’s pretty tough to beat – a tandem board will provide hours of endless fun no matter the wind conditions. The coolest aspect of the Gemini? How quickly it will create new windsurfers. A tandem board allows complete newbies to experience the thrill of sailing without the common frustrations of learning. They can watch and imitate you while getting instant feedback from the board – minus the shouting.