101 Surf Sports Stand Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking on San Francisco Bay

Sitting on a board on the bay!

This past Tuesday a group us tackled the 13 mile paddle from the 101 Surf Sports shop in San Rafael all the way to Fort Baker just under the Golden Gate bridge. (pictured Dave & Barry in chill mode - photo by Jim Robsion) 

This is not a journey to be undertaken with out some thoughtful planning. We have Barry Wicks to thank for that. With a big Ebb tide helping us a long, and a north eastern breeze slotted on our tails it was literally ideal conditions. We enjoyed a great day on the bay. Good times, good tides, and good friends. Check out the report from our lead instigator Barry Wicks. His report follows this ellipsis...

I freeze, momentarily balanced with a rail buried underwater. A brief frame of composure before momentum, gravity and the power of water tumbles me off my board and into the cool green gray waters of the San Francisco Bay.


We have been sliding along a greased track of natural energy and ebb tide, traversing from the 101 Surf Sports dock southward, tapping into the free energy generated by the super moon for the past two hours. My companions, David Wells and Jim Robison are locked into their own individual battles with gravity and liquid energy as we pour through the final zigs and zags of the trip, cruising along Yellow Bluffs before rounding Pt. Cavallo into Horseshoe Bay. (pictured what it looks like out the front of the Infinity Blackfish with a Black Project Paddles pointing the way)

The stoke level is high as we glide the final hundred meters into the protected waters of the marina. Jim gravitates towards the yacht club, claiming his navigational chart is calibrated towards cold beer.The view out front.

Is it really a Tuesday afternoon in January?

The map of our San Francisco Bay Paddleboard Journey

I’d been keeping my eyes on the tide, wind and weather charts almost obsessively, day dreaming about the adventure and experience to be had. Monday morning I spotted a window in the data, and sent out the bat signal. Jim and David heeded the call. We went, giddy with anticipation and excitement.

David blasted ahead of us out of the gate, his new SIC RS race board fueling a high cadence. Jim kept steady, studying his data, finding the fast water, calling out to us our speeds. “10.8 mph! That’s the fastest I’ve seen on my garmin, maybe ever!”

We spent time riding ferry wakes when they came to us. We dodged flocks of birds so thick and vast it was like being engulfed in a feathery blizzard. We saw porpoises, seals, blue herons and a sizable fish take a swipe at a passing cormorant. We ate snacks while reveling the panoramic view of Angel Island, the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, Sutro Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and Mount Tamalpais. We schemed which house on the water would be ours. It sounds almost overwhelming. It very nearly was.

As we loaded up the van to head back up to the shop, I felt both stoked and humbled by what we had just achieved. A few hours of hooky from work and we had gained an experience very few have had.

As Jim put it, we recorded a high def memory into our brains that would last a life time. It was totally worth it. Maybe you should go try it.

It turns out the winter is an awesome time to paddle in the Bay.

Looking for a little adventure? Consider joining us on one of our Crissy Field Paddles. All paddle craft welcome. More Information on our calendar.



About The Author - Barry Wicks is a professional mountain biker with Kona Bikes. A competitive cyclocross racer, and now Kona’s race team manager. He started racing in Oregon as a junior and rose to the highest levels of World Cup cross and mountain bike racing. Barry started paddleboarding for fun and as crosstraining for racing. He calls Pacifica California home. 


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