Best High-Risk Water Sport San Francisco 2008 - Kite Surfing at Ocean Beach
Kite surfing in the bay is nasty enough — freezing water, hellish currents, oil tanker captains playing chicken with the bridge footings. But the hardiest waterfolk have cast an eye toward a body of water that has made killing people a matter of record for decades: Ocean Beach. When conditions become horrendous for any activity beyond trying to withstand a gale, out go the kite surfers, riding back and forth, skimming atop the wind-tossed sea and threading along the powerful waves. Message board users on sites like www.bayareakiteboarding.com sternly dissuade newbies, highlighting a long list of required talents (the ability to ride "upwind" cannot be stressed enough, and the buddy system can be a matter of life or death). Adding to the hazards at Ocean Beach, from rips to pounding waves, is the ridiculousness of being attached to the kite by thin, easily-tangled-in-the-feet cords. Absolutely for experts only.