They call it the Light Wind Olympics for a reason!
I made a trip last summer to Everett, around 30 min North of Seattle, for the first Jerry Island Light wind Olympics competition. I didn’t know anything about the spot, but I knew some of the local riders such as my friend Philip Schonger and some other hard-core kiters. They convinced me that my 12hr drive to get there would be worth it and that I would for sure have a good time…
Well, my friends were right!
Jerry Island is a great NW wind spot for learning and riding. It has a nice breeze in the afternoon until 7pm from April and September. I found the wind was super smooth and steady. The island is clean, and the main beach is long enough to make it a great spot for beginners; a 2 miles gem to be more precise! It is also a great place for hydrofoiling that is perfect for last-minute races with great foilers such as Adam Vance. If foiling is not your thing, make sure to bring your big kites as it is a light wind spot: I was mostly on my 12M while guys were usually riding on 15M to 17M. It seems hard to find accurate wind forecasts; I personally relied on friends to tell me if it would be rideable or not.
On the “inside” of the island, mainly at high tide, I have enjoyed one of the best flat-water spots I have seen in the US. To add to the fun, the community has built a nice kicker for wake style lovers. It seems that pro rider Colleen Carol made her first attempt at wake style moves there; the ideal place to practice before hitting the busy slider park in Hood River.
Things to know before going there
The Port of Everett manages the island, which is divided between recreational use and a bird refuge.
There is a daily parking fee at the boat launch. The only way to get to the island is by SUP, Kayak and inflatable boats. Make sure to wear a life jacket as the coast guard is really stiff. Starting in July, the port of Everett also offers a free ferry but be ready for a line up during sunny days. Also, make sure to bring sunscreen, as there is not much cover once on the island.
Please respect the island restrictions and guidelines:
- Bikes and pets aren’t allowed – pets because it’s a bird sanctuary.
- Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Alcohol is prohibited on Jetty Island: $1000 fine for violators.
- Kiteboarders should set up equipment on the far North end and ride well out of the way. of any beachgoers(2-3 line length safety buffer).
Jetty Island surprised me, and it was one of my best weekends riding at a new spot last summer. It was so good that I will make the drive again next summer. The vibe is awesome; local riders are super talented; the scenery is gorgeous; the island offers perfect wind, flat water, great kicker, and deep water for foilers…well, there is something for almost every style (unless you are a “30+ knots only” rider!).
Kite schools: www.thekitelesson.com
How to get there: by ferry
Where to stay: there are camping spots around Everett, but you are also near Seattle for plenty of hotel options.
Where to eat: Go to Everett to pick-up your lunch and snack as you won’t find food to buy on the island. However for the after kite party, make sure to stop by Bluewater distilling.
North of Everett, there is also a supercenter (walmart, etc) to get supplies before getting to Everett.
Facebook group to follow: Northwest kiteboarders
Credit: Featured photo by Dmitry Kraskovsky