On a recent Thursday night at Crissy Field, just around 7 p.m., kitesurfers began to emerge from the fog to call it a night.
Many had been participating in the evening’s race, one of the last as the summer season at Crissy winds down.
“I shoulda won,” said Bryan Lake, a professional kitesurfer from San Diego who lost to reigning champion Johnny Heineken. “That’s all it came down to, though, was a wipe-out just before the finish line.”
The fog hung especially thick that evening, all but obscuring the kites that dotted the sky above San Francisco Bay. A cold wind rustled kites resting on the beach, and drenched surfers shivered as they headed to their cars to change into dry clothes.
Fog is just one of the features surfers encounter at Crissy, Lake said.
“It offers a variety of different conditions: sunny, windy, fog,” he said. The location also offers challenges around tides and motorboat traffic, with surfers sometimes navigating the water next to heavy cargo ships.
“If you can kite here, figure out how this all works, you’re ready for anywhere in the world, I’d say,” Lake added.
Heineken, who works for a wind power start-up in the East Bay, concurred.
“We have a good area here, a good training ground,” he said, noting that surfers travel from all over the globe to launch from Crissy Field. “It’s one of the best places to race in the world.”