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Alert: Several SF Bay Spots Threatened! <a href="/community.iws?topic=Photos&display=Collection&colID=8&pciID=654"target="_new">Take a look at these graphics.
Berkeley Marina is the center of East Bay windsurfing. Berkeley has the steadiest winds in the Bay Area but a meteorological quirk makes the winds prone to dying fast. In past years the winds here were most commonly in the 6.5 to 5.5 range but in recent years 4.5 5.0 days have become more common. On these days Berkeley has some of the best swell in the Bay.
On most summer sailing days, Berkeley offers superb slalom board sailing. Advanced slalom sailors leave the launch site for long cruises towards Treasure Island, Brooks Island, and beyond. Other sailors stay closer to the launches and enjoy the sizable rolling swell. The lack of chop makes this a pleasant place to sail but a bit tame for hardcore bump and jump sailors until the wind gets over 20 knots.
Berkeley depends upon summer fog and a deep marine layer for wind. The prime season is mid-June through August. There is occasionally storm sailing in southerly winds.
The Cal Sailing Club, a co-op that is inexpensive to join, provides lessons and windsurfing equipment at the site. They are located in the Berkeley South Sailing Basin (where most windsurfers launch). Click here to go to the CSC <a href="http://www.cal-sailing.org/">website.</a>
There are four launches:
At the sailing piers you have to do a pier launch. Be prepared to make a fool of yourself the first time. The light winds here make a floaty board a good idea.
At His Lordships Restaurant head climb down the big rocks into the tiny cove on the west side of the restaurant and wade out until you can waterstart. It may be crowded in the cove with sailors entering and leaving the water so make your entry and exit prompt.
The third launch is at Pt. Emery in Emeryville. It's a sandy beach launch, with grassy/sandy rigging area. The water is warmer here than at most sites in the Bay and a bit muddy.
There is also a windsurfing launch ramp they put in at the Emeryville Marina. Lots of parking, grass to rig on, and a shower!
<a href="http://bit.ly/9lq98Z">Aerial View</a>
That launch is very slick, literally. It puts you further upwind and close to the Ashby Shoal which can provide some fun onshore chopswell at lowish tides. Just be careful, the shoal goes dry at really low tides and has been known to eat some fin boxes. You can even surf real waves at the shoal (with a surfboard or SUP or even a beginner windsurf board) when there's a large groundswell and a low tide. Launching at Emeryville Marina also gives you almost a straight shot to the Olympic Circle, where you can get TI like conditions without the bridge toll.
Berkeley is good for intermediate and advanced slalom since at both sites you have to be able to point very well since the launch sites are tiny. Pointing skills are especially needed if you launch at Pt. Emery (Ashby Ave). The latter is a good location to practice water starts. Beginners have problems being blown down wind into a windless cove or against the freeway frontage road shore rock rip-rap protection. There is lots of land downwind so it is hard to get into serious trouble. The winds are onshore and the current is pretty weak so you will always be carried back to shore sooner or later. Anytime the wind is borderline here or dies early head to Pt. Isabel.
Most people wear full suits since the air is cool when it is windy and wind chill is a factor.
There is lots to do if you want to bring the family. There is biking, fishing, skate rentals, and a playground. There are a number of restaurants in the marina area. For a spectacular view of the windsurfing action and all you can eat lunch/brunch with great prices try Hs. Lordships at the launch site. Don't be put off by the classy interior...jeans are OK. There are restrooms near the Marina.
Parking by the piers is only crowded on weekends. The parking at His Lordships is plentiful unless the restaurant is crowded. On really windy days cars parked along the water front will be covered with salt water spray.
There is occasionally storm sailing in southerly winds. When the wind is north, Pt. Emery is the place to be.
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 Season: Late March - mid October 
 Water: Nice swell, bit muddy in low tide 
 Ability Level: Beginner-Advanced 
 Wetsuit: 4/3  
 Familiness: Food, playground 
 Parking: Crowded on weekends  
 Launch: Docks or Rocky Cove or Beach 

From Marin cross Richmond / San Rafael Bridge. At Berkeley take the University Avenue exit. Go west toward the Marina / Bay. Park near the small piers on the left or continue to end of road turn left and park near Hs. Lordships Restaurant From Crissy, and from the Peninsula when Bay Bridge has heavy traffic or when Larkspur might be blowing: Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and then take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. off ramp to the Richmond / San Rafael Bridge. Then follow the instructions above. From Sherman Island: Go south on hwy 160 over the bridge to Antioch. Go West on Hwy 4. Merge with Hwy 80 "West" going south which merges with Hwy 580. Continue to Berkeley area then follow the instructions above. To get to Pt. Emery take the Ashby exit from Hwy 80 if going West and the Powell Street exit if East bound. Take the frontage road along the bay to the Pt. Emery penninsula parking area. Parking is limited, and parking enforcement is strict.

Exclusive WeatherFlow high-resolution sensor located at His Lordships restaurant. Wind readings are 5-10 knots higher than at the pier launch site, but reflect winds out on the bay with good accuracy. When the wind is strong the sensor is pretty accurate, however when the wind becomes more marginal on the water, the sensor is definitely more flaky so you are taking a gamble on these days.

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