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       Windsurfing

                Bird Island Basin (BIB), Laguna Madre, Corpus Christi Bay and Gulf Of Mexico

 

Area launch information taken from the CCWA website

Corpus Christi Windsurfing Launch Sites

Launch Sites

  • Bird Island Basin
  • JFK Causeway
  • Grassy Point/Bluff's Landing
  • Oleander Point at Cole Park
  • Ropes Park
  • Poenisch Park
  • Corpus Christi Marina
  • North Beach (Corpus Christi Beach)
  • Texas A&M Beach
  • Wave Sailing
  • Port Aransas
  • Packery Channel
  • Bird Island Basin
    Location: Located on Padre Island National Seashore, this is one of the most popular windsurfing spots in the country.
    Conditions: With shallow water (3-5 feet deep) which is flat to moderately choppy, Bird Island is a forgiving environment for any level of sailor.
    Difficulty: Beginner and intermediate but can be a great place for learning at any level. For the advanced, the winds can be strong and water flat which makes for fast speeds and ripping jibes. Bird Island is a great place for learning waterstarts and planing jibes.
    Wind/water: Any wind direction works here. A weed fin is needed from late spring through early fall. The bottom is sandy, but booties are recommended when sailing anywhere in the Laguna Madre to avoid cuts from oyster shells and other sharp objects on the bottom. Jellyfish are usually not a problem.
    Parking/rigging: Parking is usually adequate with rigging on the dirt shoreline.
    Camping: Primitive camping and restrooms are available at the site.
    Directions: From Corpus Christi, take Highway 358 (SPID) over the JFK Causeway to Padre Island. The road changes to Park Road 22 South at the first traffic light on Padre Island. Keep going for another 12 miles. Once you pass the Padre Island National Seashore entrance station (and pay $10)take the first right and follow the road to the water.
    Fees: Usage fee for Bird Island Basin is $5/day or $10/year. For more information on the park, check out the Padre Island National Seashore Home Page.
    Facilities/concessions: For more information on the windsurfing, and for on site equipment rentals and lessons, check out WorldWinds.

    Location: Becoming more popular with kiters lately, this launch site is located about mid-way along the causeway on the right when heading from Corpus Christi to Padre Island
    Wind/water: Sailable in SE, S, or E winds. The water is waist deep or less and flat to slightly choppy. There are some boat channels out there that are over 6 ft. deep.
    Difficulty: With the flat, shallow water, it's a good place for beginners on light-wind days. Footwear is recommended. If you plan to sail fast here, use a short, well raked-back weed fin, watch out for the shallows, and don't try it if the water level is low.
    Hazards: Three deep row of posts to the left of the old causeway bridge that are cut off just below water level. On most days, they cannot be seen from the surface. The posts are marked by a row of bamboo poles in line with the long axis of the new causeway bridge. If you want to go further out through the islands into the Laguna Madre, dismount and walk slowly and carefully between the posts repeating this drill on the way back. Do not try to sail through them.
    Parking/rigging: Parking is ample along the shoreline. No facilities. No camping. Grassy Point/Bluff's Landing

    Location: At the south end of Laguna Shores Drive in Flour Bluff. The launch is on private property located inside Bluff's landing marina, lodge and restaurant.
    Wind/water: Conditions are very similar to Bird Island Basin, only more sea grass, thus the name (Grassy Point). The water is waist deep or less and flat to slightly choppy. Local sailors have marked some shallow hazards with red flags but be sure to ask where the oyster beds are before going out.
    Difficulty: With the flat, shallow water, it's a good place for beginners on light-wind days. Footwear is recommended. If you plan to sail fast here, use a short, well raked-back weed fin, watch out for the shallows, and don't try it if the water level is low.
    Hazards: There were more hazards in the water before the owners of property developed it in 2007 and built the marina, restaurant and lodge. But there are definitely still some so ask other sailors to be sure.
    Parking/rigging: Gravel parking lot and freshwater shower at windsurfing launch. Launch fee required. Ask at marina store. For more information, call 888-526-4191 or visit Oleander Point at Cole Park
    Central Corpus' most popular launch, Oleander is a small grassy pull out in the south part of Cole Park where Oleander Street ends at Ocean Drive.
    Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced. This is a great bump-and-jump spot. On a windy day, the bay is rough and for experienced sailors only. Solid jibing and deep water waterstarting skills are recommended. The launch is easy with waist to chest deep water for 75 to 100 yards out over a sandy bottom. After that, the depth is 6 feet or more.
    Hazards: Jellyfish sometimes present.
    Parking/rigging: Parking accommodates 30-40 cars with a large grassy rigging area and a short, steep walk down the bluff to the rocky beach.
    Wind/water: Usually sailed with a SE wind, although is sailable in N, NE, E, and with a windline, in S winds. No facilities are at the site, but restrooms are available about half mile north in Cole Park.

    Oleander Point along Ocean Drive, Ropes sometimes receives overflow when Oleander fills up. No facilities.
    Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced. This is a good place to sail when the wind is from the south and creates a shadow at Oleander.
    Wind/water: The sailing at Ropes excels in winds of 25+ mph (N, NE, E, SE, S) with excellent bump-and-jump conditions in waist-high chop.
    Parking/rigging: Parking is very limited, but it's OK to park along the street. The rigging area is grassy with a short, steep walk down the bluff to the beach. The launch ranges from sandy to rocky with submerged reefs. Footwear is recommended.
    Hazards: Riprap along the shore and some submerged rebar and other materials. Ask a local for exact locations. Location: The park is located near the south end of Ocean Drive about a half mile north of Ennis Joslin Drive. No facilities.
    Wind/water: Poenisch is a good spot for NW, N, NE, and E winds. It can be sailed in a SE wind, but a windline forms off the beach. The sailing conditions vary widely according to the wind direction. Poenisch goes off in NW to N to NE 30 knot cold front conditions and produces fun, waist-high chop. This is a good place to sail when the winds are too offshore at Port Aransas. The water is waist deep for approximately 50 to 75 yards out with a rocky launch and a grassy rigging area.
    Parking/rigging: Parking is very limited. Location: Downtown Corpus Christi
    Conditions: Slightly choppy in south/southeast wind, becoming totally glassy in east/southeast winds (near the breakwater).
    Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced skills recommended. Mostly a speed strip, where pushing the limit can mean high speed wipe outs, or a potential crash into the rocky breakwater. Sailing with a partner is strongly recommended.
    W Wind/Water: Easterlies work the best. East/northeast means sailing the course on port tack, with NE becoming unworkable. Southeast works well, but once winds go past 150 degrees, it’s better to look elsewhere for those high speed runs. Water depth ranges from 12 feet in the middle of the marina, to just a few inches near the breakwater. Look our for the pvc stakes marking shallow water for the sailboat near the S/E corner of the marina.
    Parking/rigging: Parking is usually along the seawall, in front of memorial coliseum, but can also be accomplished on the Coopers Alley L-Head. If you park in front of the coliseum, rigging is done along the sandy extreme south end of the marina. If parking at the L-Head, the asphalt parking lot is all that’s available.
    Directions: A fairly easy location to find, as the marina is located in downtown Corpus Christi.
    Hazards: Occasional floating debris (due to storm water outlets nearby). A rather deep drop-off at the seawall’s edge (not to be confused with the rocky breakwater, which is more of a gradual drop-off). Barnacles and oysters grow along the concrete walls, so stay away if possible.
    Facilities: Public restrooms are located on the Coopers Alley L-Head. Visiting yacht club members can use Corpus Christi Yacht Club’s reciprocity policy, and have access to warm showers, and great dining.
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    (Corpus Christi Beach)
    Location: Two miles north of downtown Corpus Christi on the other side of the Harbor Bridge. This site offers the longest sandy beach along the bay. Highlights include jibing under the stern of the USS Lexington battle ship permanently anchored there and sailing past throngs of tourists on the beach.
    Wind/water: North Beach is sailable in N, NE, E, SE, and S winds. This spot attracts fewer sailors than Oleander Point, possibly because the wind tends to be more onshore and the shore break can make launching somewhat difficult. Also, the swells don't usually line up as cleanly here as they do at Oleander. When there is a big wind shadow near the shore at Oleander Point, North Beach is a good choice. Especially fun when the wind is directly onshore (E-SE wind direction). Also, when the wind is farther east than usual, it's good here as you can sail exactly parallel to shore and rip up and down the beach (please watch out for bobbing heads of swimmers in the shore break).
    Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced
    Hazards: A sandbar runs parallel to the beach about 20 yards from shore. At low tide you can hit your fin on it. At Surfside Park, remains of an old pier covered in barnacles near the water's edge are normally submerged, so watch out for those.
    Parking/riggging: Park at the end of any of the several small roads that dead end at the beach. Rig on the sandy beach. Launch anywhere. Hayes Street is near the north end and if you launch there are no wind shadows from condos and are no hazards in the water.

    alt="Texas A&M Beach" width="400" height="202"/>
    This site offers the most flat-water sailing on the bay. Drive SE down Ocean Drive to the Texas A&M Corpus Christi campus. The beach is across the street from the campus with minimal parking on the side of the road. Launch is sandy but some small manmade barrier islands can make getting out a little tricky to a novice. This beach is interesting in that a windsurfer named Deidre Young designed the beach as of her master's thesis. Then A&M built it under her supervision. Before, it was just a rip-rap shoreline. Now, it is a big sandy beach with breakwater rocks that create smooth water near the shoreline -- great for kids. Parking is limited. See red arrow in photo above. Location: Wave sailing conditions are often good along the Gulf of Mexico beach on Padre Island. Popular spots are between the jetty and Horce Caldwell Pier at Port Aransas and at Bob Hall Pier farther south. Since the construction of Packery Channel in 2005, windsurfers, kitesurfers and surfers have all been going there a lot.
    Wind/water: All sites are sailable on N, NE, S, and SE winds with winter providing the N and NE winds while summer features predominantly S and SE winds. True S or N are best. Depending on the direction, the wind will vary from side shore to side-on to straight on shore. Strong currents can build with the winds and make for challenging conditions. Great for downwinders! If the winds blow all night or for several days in a row, the surf can get big with 8-foot faces, or bigger if a tropical storm or hurricane is in the gulf. The surf is sailable year round, but is best from April through August, early mornings or late afternoons. Listen to NOAA weather radio for Port A or Bob Hall Pier reports of 20+ mph winds.
    Difficulty: Conditions are more challenging than the bay and for experienced sailors only. Jellyfish are sometimes present.

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    Port Aransas:
    This spot is sailable in N and NE winds. Drive to the beach in Port Aransas. Locals usually put in about 300 yards north of the pier. If the surf is big, or you are a novice at surf sailing, it is best to start closer to the jetty where the surf is usually smaller. Wave height varies from knee high to overhead, averaging about chest high. This is a good place for the first time wave sailor since the waves break easy and broken masts are rare. There are restroom and shower facilities.

    ThirdCoastPhoto.com
    Packery Channel:
    Packery Channel is a new launch site, developed when the jetties were constructed during the summer of 2005 for the new channel, which connects the laguna with the Gulf of Mexico. The long granite jetties both cut the current and create a nice break. It is rapidly gaining favor with local wave sailors.
    Wind/water: Packery is best sailed when the winds are SE-S. On weekends the beach can get very crowded with windsurfers and other beach users, so it may be necessary to park several hundred yards north of the jetty.
    Difficulty: Like Port Aransas, Packery can be good for beginning wave sailors on the first day following several days of low winds. Three days of 20-25 mph SE winds can bring in large Gulf swells and waves which will challenge most sailors.
    Hazards: You'll usually find surfers just north of the jetty and, in the interest of safety and courtesy, it is best to sail upwind or north of them. Use caution when sailing towards the beach – the late-day setting sun makes it difficult to see surfers in the waves.
    Directions: From Corpus, take SPID (South Padre Island Drive which becomes Park Road 22) to "The Island." Once you're on the Island, turn left at the first traffic light which is Commodores Drive (Hwy 361 north to Port Aransas). After about a mile you'll go over a small bridge that spans the new Packery Channel. After crossing the bridge make the first right on Zahn Road and follow it to the launch site.