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Jones Beach Light 8
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Jones Beach is located north and west of the Portland/Vancouver area along the lower Columbia River between Longview, WA and Astoria, OR. The coastal range of mountains (which separates the Pacific Ocean and the I-5 corridor) has a tight gap that strongly funnels onshore gradients. When the barometer drops in the Portland area and remains steady at Astoria (look for a difference of at least .07), Jones Beach becomes rideable. Quite often on summer days, a slow moving mass of cool foggy ocean air will sit on the outside of the coastal range whereas the interior valleys will burn off becoming quite hot creating very strong pressure gradient driven westerly wind in the afternoon/evening. The channel on the north side of the river was nicknamed "Nuclear Alley" years ago by the windsurfers. The launch is often called "Harry's Beach" for a beloved older sailor who was killed by a drunk driver. Sails and kites are often a meter smaller in the alley. Typical sail & kite sizes are 4.7 to 5.2; 6M to 9M in Nuclear Alley and 5.0 to 6.0; 9M to 12M on the Jones Beach side. Occaisional stronger days can see wind near 30 mph. The river is quite wide at this point. The river can be ridden on either an incoming or an outgoing tide, but an incoming tide requires strong upwind ability. The swells are best in the Nuclear Alley channel on an outgoing tide when the winds get above 20 mph. The swells are similar to Mosier or Rowena. The wind waves and shore echo on the Oregon side of the river set up a washboard effect that is uncomfortable at times and lacks any rhythm. Also the Oregon side abuts the shipping lane so a sharp lookout for large ocean going vessels is necessary. The Oregon launch includes paved parking and a large sandy beach over a mile long and several hundred feet wide. Perhaps the best kite launch on the entire Columbia River. However there are no facilities. Camp at your own risk. Respect the fishermen. The Washington side has no facilities and no space to launch a kite. All parking and rigging is on private property and highway right of way. There is only parking for about half a dozen cars. The advantage is that you are able to launch in Nuclear Alley out of the shipping lane. Be very careful crossing the highway as motorists are often distracted by the action on the river and traveling at a high rate of speed. Whatever you do, clean up after yourself. There are no facilities here so plan ahead!
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 Season: May to October 
 Water: chop, small swells 
 Ability Level: intermediate 
 Familiness: no facilities 
 Parking: sparse 
 Launch: gravel, near highway 

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