California Central Coast

United States, North America

It gets Strong winds Right forward From $20/day
Updated:29 April 2021

Kitesurf Season


Destination Summary

California Central Coast

Santa Barbara to Monterey. Jalama can be a gusty wind machine with some really big surf! Kite out front of the park or work your way downwind to Tarantulas. Santa Barbara County Parks. It's a one-way-in-one-way-out remote spot that's super chill. Cold Pacific Ocean. Reservations online a good idea with reservation window open as far as 6 months out. Website always shows it full, but don't be afraid to go and try for a camping spot even if the website says it's full. They have a daily drawing at the flag pole around noon. Day parking always available. They have a store and grill (Jalama Burger is "famous") with everything you need if you forget anything. Cold and raw with ripping winds in the winter. Interesting beach landscape with natural tar upwellings. Lots of kelp. "The Warden" (Great White Sharks) live in these waters so beware and vacate when the seals disappear :). Surfing is very popular here. Lompoc is closeby and has everything. Check the rocket launch schedule for Vandenberg Airforce Base and maybe you'll witness something truly one-of-a-kind during your visit to Jalama Beach.

San Miguel Island, part of Channel Islands National Park is on my bucket list. I've flown over it several times, researched it on Google Earth, and combed through the information on the internet regarding special rules to hike. It's raw, windswept, remote, and rugged. I've only seen video of a kiter in the bay. It will take planning, permits, and preparation to kite this one, but the terrain speaks of the hell that blows across this island.

Pismo Beach and Grover Beach are all about one-in-the-same. Wind and waves abound. This is home to The Kiteboarder Magazine {, as well as the late Kinsley Thomas-Wong and Xtreme Big Air ( If you're into sand dunes, horsepower, and 24-7 partying, then hit Oceano Dunes Special Vehicle Recreation Area. It's like an all-week-long college frat and sorority party with L.A.'s hard-core sand crowd, sponsored by the State of California on public property. 4-wheel-drive ambulances are the norm. Cheap beach camping. Fire. Alcohol. Sand. Salty ocean. Herbal smells in the air.

About 2.2 miles up the famous Highway 1 from Hearst Castle / San Simeon is a tiny local kite spot with one wave and half a dozen parking spots. Arroyo Laguna. Be nice. Talk to the locals. Try to get their blessing. Ask permission (although I believe it's technically public, as you pass through the zig-zag fence.). I've scored some awesome air time downwind and way out front of the beach launch. The kelp smooths out the chop and makes some buttery smooth launching. The locals generally don't jump, but don't be afraid to pre-pop yourself to the fuckin' moon, they're mostly surfer dudes with kites and stories. They began to refer to me as "The Astronaut" after a few days hanging out with them at their spot. Elephant seals are common and protected, seeking refuge all along the central coast to birth their calves, etc. Give them space. Again, the food chain is alive and well in this ocean, so don't spend time bobbing around, chumming in your wetsuit. The Warden is near :)

If you're skunked on the coast, look up Lake Isabella, an inland lake near Bakersfield, California. It gets some ripping, gusty, big air fun!

All kinds of shit to do on the Central Coast. One-star to five-star. If you use and spend a buck on the Pro membership subscription, you'll be covered for all the spots information, wind, and actual human-being professional weather forecasters during peak season. I use it and it keeps me burning gas and driving all over hell's half acres chasing wind forecasts, from Jalama Beach to Sherman Island...another f'n awesome windy spot with great vibes in the California delta.

Kite Info

Kite shop

No Kite Shop

Kite spots

Jalama Beach; San Miguel Island; PIsmo Beach; Arroyo Laguna (Hearst Castle); Lake Isabella

Best months

january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, october, november, december

Dominant boosting direction

Right forward

Wind Strength, Consistency, Wind Quality, Density

It gets Strong (Up to 30 knots) It's windy Almost every day Gusty and holey Warm and Cold wind

Water temp

Cold (You need a wetsuit)

Water conditions


Local riders


Crowd factor

Some waters users around

Woo Record

21.4 by Leif Given

Travel and life info

How easy is it to get there?

Easy to visit (< 2 hours from airport)

How do you get there?


Daily cost

Affordable ($20-50 /day)

Party Destination


Do you need a car?


Family friendly?


Other fun and activities

Vandenberg AFB

How easy is it to find cuddle company?

Sorry, no cuddles here

Internet Connectivity

Slow (can browse the web but it's painful)


High development (many accommodations; hotels; health services and shops)

Thanks to Kenneth Kerr for submiting the destination

Questions & Answers

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