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Old 09-14-2006, 08:23 AM
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ricki ricki is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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Default FLORIDA GUIDE - NE Coast, St. Augustine

St. Augustine

Provided by Eddy Toy with Extreme Kites, St. Augustine

The coast around St. Augustine stretches from Vilano Beach in the north to Matanzas Inlet in the south. Between these 2 inlets is 15 miles of
unobstructed sandy beach, except for the pier in St. Augustine Beach. Here are the launches from north to south:

Vilano Beach - the east facing beach at Vilano is usually very popular with surfers, so it is better to stay offshore or closer to the inlet. On east
winds the outgoing tidal current can help to stay upwind in the inlet
channel. On west winds, Porpoise Point on the inside facing west is the
best offshore wind launch in the area on incoming tide.

Ocean Trace - 1/2 block S. of Extreme Kites is Ocean Trace Rd., next to the Oasis restaurant. Summertime here can be very busy with cars driving on the beach, so we usually head north about 1/4 mile to get away from the crowd. Ocean Trace is best on S, SE, N or NE winds.

Matanzas Inlet (ocean side) - one of the best kiteboarding spots in the
southeast. Outgoing tidal current opposes the wind, creating a escalator
effect for heading back upwind. Even beginners can go upwind their first
time here. N or NE winds hit the N side of the inlet, driving onto the
beach ramp and heading S to the inlet. E, SE, or S winds in spring and
summer, hit the S side, walk down the rocks, and walk N towards the inlet.

Matanzas Inlet Frog Pond (inside) - can be good on strong E winds, but you have to make sure you can stay upwind, or get blown over to the other side where there are oysters. Best wind direction is strong SSW with an outgoing tide. Can be very gusty, making you feel like a leap frog.

Notable hotels, restaurants for visiting riders:

Hotels -
La Fiesta Ocean Inn & Suites -
810 A1A Beach Boulevard, St. Augustine Beach FL 32080
Tel: (904) 471-2220 ? Fax (904) 471-0186
Toll Free: 800-327-1462

Channel Marker 71 -
Barrier Island Inn & Restaurant
7601 A1A South
St. Augustine, FL 32080
(1.4 miles south of S.R. 206 on A1A)
PHONE: 904.461.4288
FAX: 904.461.4881
Toll Free Numbers:
1.866.461.4287 Inn / 1.877.461.8841 Restaurant

Jeremy from Florida Kiting has a condo in Seaside at Anastasia which rents for $600 week in slow season. Check out some pictures here:

Casual Dining:
The Matanzas Innlet Café - S. side of Matanzas Inlet
South Beach Grill - intersection of SR 206 and A1A in Crescent Beach -
Mango Mangos - A Street and A1A Beach Blvd. in St. Augustine Beach -
Sunset Grill - 15th street and A1A Beach Blvd. in St. Augustine Beach -
FA Café - Pope Rd. and A1A Beach Blvd. in St. Augustine Beach -
Café 11 - 11th Street and A1A Beach Blvd. in St. Augustine Beach -

Casual Fine Dining:
Purple Olive - 1/2 block N of Dondanville Rd. on the W side of A1A -
A1A Ale Works - downtown St. Augustine, over the bridge of Lions, first left on San Marco, right on the corner overlooking the water -

3. Regular kiteboarding events.
Matanzas Halloween Blast - the weekend before or after Halloween depending on the day of the week this year. Basically a big party where everyone kites. Last year we had over 100 people on the beach and 50 kites in the air at one time.

Checkout photos from the event in 2005:

St. Augustine usually picks up SE swells from approaching hurricanes before other beaches in the state. The beaches are perfect for downwinders, and can be done in either N or S winds depending on the time of year. Sometimes in September tropical systems will hug the coast and bring us 12-15 foot wave heights and 30 knots sideshore winds. Then starting in October, cold fronts hit before reaching S. Florida, bringing N-NE winds 15-25 knots. Matanzas Inlet on the outgoing lower tide has the best of both worlds, with epic flatwater and a rivermouth point break for wave riding on the outside.

There are currently no restrictions on kiteboarding in our area, and only
about 20 local riders, so very few crowds. St. Augustine Beach can be very popular for surfers, so we try to stay further offshore around A Street to avoid any problems. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the country, with lots of cultural and historical tourism. It is also a great place to learn to surf, fish, sea kayak, wakeboard, go boating, parasail, jet ski, or any other outdoor activities involving the ocean.
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