Kite spot California: Waddell Creek Beach

Crisp waves, high as a tall man, roll to the broad beach. The steady North-West wind make Waddell Creek Beach one of the best spots for kiteboarding and wind surfing. It’s clearly not a spot for newbies. It’s the one great spot for pros between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. When the wind picks up around noon, kites are inflated en gros. It is as if a big cake was served and now all the ants show up, drooling and with fork and knife ready for action.

Kiteboarder enjoyes the waves at Waddell Beach

We went there many times but as those waves really impressed (scared) me, I didn’t try kite boarding up until just recently. The waves were only high as an almost tall man and with some gentle force from my loved one, I made it into the water with kite and board. My first approach was to body drag through the waves and start behind the craziness but I got battered by the waves. So I tried starting in the white water to kite downwind till a magic whole in the waves would appear through which I could slip. Even after I smashed onto the beach once, I thought this was the better approach. Behind the wavy area it was even for me ok to kite. I tried to hard to stay upwind though and lost my board numerous times. One of the pro surfers was so kind to always bring it back. Great service, sir!

Last weekend we went again to Waddell. We stopped at the lighthouse for a little bio brake and where surprised to see some seals in the water. In Santa Cruz, where we staid over night, more seals, lots of pelicans and other birds. I’m wondering, are there more birds and seals because there is more fish in the moment? And if there are more seals, are there more sharks??! After all, Sharktober is about to start. So, no I didn’t kite last weekend. It’s clearly not a good idea to body drag through the red triangle, looking like a helpless, little seal.

Pelicans and Kites

But anyhow, I had a great time, watching the pro’s and hundreds, if not thousands of Pelican’s, the rolling waves and the cliffy coast.


Kite boarding parameters

Season: seems to be March till Sharktober

Wind: Known for steady strong North West Wind Windalert

Tide and Current: Tide table here

Waves: high

Wetsuit: yes, it’s cold, bring a wetsuit!

Beach: sandy, to the right rocks hide in the water

Specialty: Waddell is the opening location for the American Windsurfing Tour since three years due to the very reliable conditions. And Sharktober.

Who’s there: Advanced Kite and Wind Surfers, Surfers

Good to know: Watch out for Whales, Dolphins, Sharks, Seals, Pelicans

How to get there: Take Highway CA-1 from San Francisco down South (1 h 15 min) or same Highway from Santa Cruz up North (30 min). No matter if you go North or South, the rough cliffs along the coast are incredible beautiful. The drive itself is worth the trip. If you are not too much in a rush to get to the kite spot, take one of the small, dusty parking lots along the Highway and find a paths down to the ocean. There are Whales and Dolphins out there, maybe you’ll see one, or even a whole family.

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  2 comments for “Kite spot California: Waddell Creek Beach

  1. January 16, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I would like to be able to launch myself off the boat on a kite and just fly across the wind or water, it’s create too much fun for me. Thanks to share this wonderful post.

    • January 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Yeah launching from a boat is something I would like to learn too.

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