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Where to get started windsurfing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Where to get started windsurfing in the San Francisco Bay Area When it's scorching in Sacramento, Bay Area windsurfers rejoice. Why? Because on most summer afternoons, hot inland temperatures draw foggy winds from the ocean. And when coastal breezes are brisk, windsurfers mount their boards for thrilling rides on the waves.

At most of the windsurfing spots listed here, you can take lessons or rent a board. And at some sites, you can watch exciting competitions or--if you're ready--join some of the hottest wave sailing and jumping action around.

Getting started: lessons, rentals

A beginning group lesson generally starts with an early-morning chalk talk on basic windsurfing theory. Then, on a landside simulator, you learn how to rig a mast, sail, and boom, and get a feel for board balance and wind and sail behavior. Finally, while winds remain calm, you get on the water to practice technique, safety, and self-rescue. The lesson lasts from 6 to 8 hours and is usually broken up over two days. Boards, rigging, and wetsuits are included in the lesson fee. Make reservations at least two weeks in advance. Separate equipment rentals are also available.

After completing the course, you'll be given a certificate. This allows you to rent windsurfing boards at most firms (a large deposit is required if you're not certified). Since regulations vary at each concession, call to check before you go.

North Bay: Sausalito, San Francisco

Richardson Bay. Sausalito Sailboard School, 1505 Bridgeway Blvd., Sausalito 94965; (415) 331-3393. Open 9 to sunset Wednesdays through Sundays. Lessons are held on the beach at Schoonmaker Point (foot of Spring Street). A two-day, 8-hour beginning lesson costs $75; the 2-hour highwind clinic is $20 (four-person minimum).

Beginner boards cost $10 per hour, $20 half-day, $35 full day; more for intermediate and advanced.

Crissy Field. When tides and winds are right, this spot offers some of the most challenging windsurfing on the Bay; only experts should sail here. There's free parking, but no rentals or lessons. Easiest access is from Marina Boulevard: at Lyon Street, enter Presidio gate (closed weekdays from 5 A.M. to 1 P.M.) and head west; turn right past warehouses.

August 13 through 15, a regional windsurfing competition will be held here. This series' national finals are on August 16 and 17. For details, call 365-2440.

Candlestick Park. San Francisco Sailboards, 623 Valencia St., San Francisco 94110; 864-5867. This new concession at Candlestick Point State Recration Area is open 9 to 5 Thursdays through Sundays.

Giants infielders can testify to the force of the winds here. The park has expansive lawns, a protected cove for lessons, and a breezy side for challenging windsurfing. Parking costs $2 on game days only.

Two-day, 8-hour beginner lessons are $75. Three-hour intermediate and advanced clinics are $45 ($30 with your own board). Rental fee is $10 an hour, $20 half-day, $30 full day; more for advanced boards.

East Bay: Berkeley and Alameda

Berkeley Marina. This sheltered cove offers good practice before heading out into stiffer breezes on the Bay. There are three piers to launch from but no beach (rig boards and rinse equipment in adjacent parking lot). From Interstate 80, take the University Avenue exit west, following signs.

California Adventures, 2301 Bancroft Way, Berkeley 94720; 642-4000. Concession is open at the marina 9 to 5 Fridays through Sundays. Beginner lesson fee of $57 includes 2-hour evening classroom instruction and a two-day, 6-hour weekend lesson; call for intermediate times and fee. Rental card for 6-hour use costs $45; 14 hours, $100.

Windsurfing Berkeley, 1827-C Fifth St., Berkeley 94710; 841-9463. Concession hours are noon to sunset daily at the marina. Two-day, 8-hour beginner classes ($69) are held on Thursdays and Fridays and on weekends. Saturday afternoon advanced lessons cost $35.

Rental fee is $10 first hour, $8 each additional hour, $34 per day maximum; more for advanced boards.

Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda. California Sailboards, 1290 Powell St., Emeryville 94608; 652-5757. Concession hours are 11 to 7 weekdays, 10 to 7 weekends. Relatively warm waters and a prevailing wind that blows you back to shore make this one of the best places on the Bay to learn windsurfing. You master the basics on the broad, sandy beach before heading out in shallow waters. Beginner fee is $65 for a two-day, 6-hour course; intermediate, $60 for a 2-hour private lesson. Rental fee is $10 an hour. There is a $2 parking fee weekends only.

South Bay: San Mateo

to Mountain View

Coyote Point County Recreation Area, 1701 Coyote Point Dr., San Mateo 94401; 573-2592. A high-wind area, this is one of the most popular spots for experienced windsurfers. There are no lessons or rentals. The park, open daily from 8 to 7, is just east of U.S. 101 (Bayshore Freeway). Northbound, take the Peninsula Avenue exit; southbound, take Poplar Avenue. Day-use fee is $2 per car.

Foster City Lagoon. Bay Windsurfing, 853G Industrial Rd., San Carlos 94070; 595-2285. Beginner lesson fee is $55 weekdays and $75 weekends and holidays for a two-day, 6-hour course. Concession hours are 10 to 7 daily. The calm but narrow salt-water lagoon has shallow, almost-warm waters and winds that are good for beginners. Rentals cost $10 per hour weekdays, $12 per hour weekends and holidays.

Regattas are held here at 6 P.M. every Tuesday (Windsurfer class only) and Wednesday (open class). To get to the lagoon from U.S. 101, take Hillsdale Boulevard east; go right on Shell Boulevard to the greensward at Central Park.

Mountain View Shoreline Park. Spinnaker Sailing, 3160 Stierlin Rd., Mountain View 94040; 965-7474. The park has lessons and rentals on its 50-acre salt-water lake. Concession hours are 9 to sunset daily; a fresh-water rinse and grassy lawn for rigging are available. Lessons are offered daily except Mondays. Fee is $65 for a two-day, 6-hour beginner course. Rentals cost $8 per hour weekdays, $10 per hour weekends and holidays.

Summer regattas are held every Thursday at 6 P.M. through August 7. Entry fee is $5. A personal flotation device is required. Also, a sailboard race series will take place August 23 and 24; for details, call above number.

Waddell Creek--windsurfing hot spot

Waddell Beach, State Highway 1 at Big Basin Redwoods State Park (75 miles south of San Francisco). When the winds blow at the mouth of the creek, you'll see some of the hottest windsurfing action on the coast. The Santa Cruz Slalom series takes place here August 2, 3, 30, and 31; call (408) 429-5464 for details. For recorded reports on wind, temperature, and wave changes, call (408) 426-3613.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 1, 1986
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