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9 California Kiteboarding Destinations to Try Next
Health & Fitness

9 California Kiteboarding Destinations to Try Next

With its white sandy shores and gorgeous blue seas, California is a coastal playground that water sport enthusiasts can’t help but love.

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5 min read

May 29, 2021

Looking for the kiteboarding adventure of a lifetime? The Golden State buzzes with good times. With its white sandy shores and gorgeous blue seas, California is a coastal playground that water sport enthusiasts can’t help but love. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get introduced to the sport or an advanced rider searching for a challenging surf, these are the California kiteboarding spots you should know.

Kitesurfing utilizes a regular surfboard, a kite as a sail, and a whole lot of your core muscles. It's a mixture of windsurfing and wakeboarding.

Kitesurfing vs. Kiteboarding: is there a difference?

Generally, kiteboarding and kitesurfing are terms used interchangeably to describe the same activity. Combining elements of paragliding, surfing, wakeboarding, and even snowboarding, this extreme sport is all about using the wind to navigate the waters on a board.

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However, purists argue that there is a difference between the two terms. Those who see the board as the main tool in the sport prefer to use the term ‘kitesurfing’. On the other hand, those who put more emphasis on the kite believe the term ‘kiteboarding’ makes more sense. No matter which term you prefer to use, these are the coolest destinations in the state for the ultimate adrenaline rush.

Kitesurfing in San Diego

Mission Bay’s shallow waters make it a popular kitesurfing site, with areas for both beginners and advanced kiteboarders.

1. Mission Bay Kitesurfing

Beginners and pros can find a stretch of water ideal for kitesurfing in San Diego, especially if they head out to Mission Bay. With multiple beaches and 27 miles of shoreline, the area provides great kitesurfing opportunities for varying skill levels.

Pacific Beach and South Mission Beach, as well as Dog and Sail Beaches are perfect for beginner to intermediate surfers. Advanced kiteboarding enthusiasts can test their skills and attempt to take on the stronger winds of North Pacific Beach.

2. Kiteboarding at Fiesta Island 

Fiesta Island is up there with San Diego’s best beaches in a variety of categories—these include scenery, swimming, and, of course, kiteboarding. As one of the most popular spots in SoCal to kite, the inland beaches here feature many schools where beginners go to start off their California kiteboarding journey on the right foot. 

Surf alongside other eager kiteboarders splashing about in San Diego and make your way to Kite Beach and Enchanted Cove. These are two of the most well-known areas on the island for kitesurfing—both are suitable for riders of varying levels.

Kitesurfing Near Los Angeles

The coastal city of Long Beach is a sailing, water skiing, surfing, and kiteboarding hotspot for people of all skill levels.

3. Kitesurfing in Long Beach 

Belmont Shore at Long Beach is not only the most secure, but it’s also the only legal spot in L.A. and the O.C. for kitesurfing lessons. Naturally, this is also where beginners safely hone their skills before taking on more challenging beaches when kitesurfing in lovely Los Angeles. 

While it has many awesome perks, the biggest downside of choosing to go kitesurfing in Long Beach is definitely the crowds. Due to the scarcity of kitesurfing lesson spots, this popular destination hosts more than 100 kiters practicing on a busy day. But, don’t let that stop you from enjoying fun in the sun.

Right After Torrance Beach, aka Rat Beach, attracts windsurfers and kiteboarders. The giant kelp forest just offshore also draws in divers.

4. Rat Beach Kiteboarding

Once you master the basics of kitesurfing at Belmont Shore, head over to Rat Beach for fewer crowds and slightly bigger waves. This spot near Torrance and Redondo Beach is great for intermediate riders. Kiters with small-wave skills who are looking for a transitional spot can practice right here, before moving on to surf at Sunset and Huntington Beaches.

While the name “Rat Beach” isn’t the most inviting, don’t let it turn you away. Rat Beach is actually an incredibly scenic California kiteboarding spot—and fret not, there are no actual rats anywhere near this beach. In fact, the name is an abbreviation of “Right After Torrance” or “Redondo and Torrance.” 

Kiteboarding in the Bay Area

Learn to re-launch your kite and perform water landing, then head over to the Bay Area's best kiteboarding destination, 3rd Avenue in Foster City.

5. 3rd Avenue Kitesurfing

Bay Area kiteboarders already know what’s coming. 3rd Avenue in San Mateo has been a go-to kiteboarding and sailboarding spot for locals since the 1980s, and it’s time you discovered it yourself.

Besides featuring fantastic waves, 3rd Avenue has all the on-site amenities. You’ll have a wave indicator, parking lot, showers, and more making your kiteboarding in the Bay Area experience more enjoyable.

6. Alameda Kiteboarding

Alameda is the top choice for new Bay Area kiters for good reason. Shallow waters, gentle conditions, few obstacles, and two miles of downwind beach—can it get any better? Pros also love kiteboarding in Alameda because it’s an easy-breezy ride, so expect to share the waters with advanced kiters here as well. Who knows, they might help you with a couple of tips to improve your skills.

You can't stop the wind but you can learn to kitesurf at Montara. All you need is the sun, wind, and a kite to have a good day.

7. Montara Kitesurfing

Another favorite San Mateo kiteboarding spot is Montara. This top Bay Area beach spot is all about admiring gorgeous mountain views secludedly. If you’d like to avoid the California kiteboarding crowds, then this is the beach you should opt for on smaller wave days. But beware, Montara State Beach has days where it truly gets dangerous, especially for non-surfers. 

The shore break can be tricky to negotiate and the rip currents are pretty strong. If that’s not enough to keep you alert, shark sightings here are also a thing. Beginner kiters are advised to avoid Montara and opt for Alameda instead. And even if you do have a bit of kitesurfing experience, head to Montara only on calmer days for a safer experience overall. 

Pacifica State Beach, also known as Linda Mar, is one of the most popular beginner surfing and kiteboarding spots in the San Francisco area.

8. Kiteboarding in Linda Mar

Also known as Pacifica State Beach, this California kiteboarding destination is probably the most popular one in the S.F. region. Unsurprisingly, you should expect crowds any day you come here to kitesurf. If that’s a dealbreaker, you’re better off picking a more lowkey spot.

The popularity of Linda Mar comes with several benefits. One of the biggest perks of kitesurfing here is the abundance of amenities. These include a parking lot, restrooms, changing rooms, showers, and multiple dining options near the shore.

Where to kitesurf in San Francisco

9. Ocean Beach Kitesurfing

If you’re a self-sufficient and highly competent surfer, you’re going to love challenging yourself with the waves at Ocean Beach. Since it’s near the mouth of San Francisco Bay, strong sideshore currents are always guaranteed at Ocean Beach. 

Are you trying your hand at kitesurfing for the first time? If you are, it's best to head out during the summer when the waves are smaller and more suitable for the average surfer. But if you’ve got a bit of experience kitesurfing in San Francisco, you can definitely attempt navigating the Ocean Beach waves on bigger days. In any case, be very careful as the waves can often be too much to handle. 

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