Downwinding the Puget Sound!

Posted on February 27 2024

Do you ever have feelings that overcome you with excitement out of nowhere? Well, I did late Saturday night. Wind forecasts were changing rapidly, and texts were starting to pour in. Maybe it was the full moon or maybe it was the fact no one had seen that much wind for months, but everyone I was talking to was on the same page. A downwind run was inevitable. 


downwinding puget sound seattle


Woke up Sunday morning not realizing what was about to happen. I had potentially scheduled a wing lesson with hopes to go out on mild southerly on the Lake after the big blow had gone through. The Seattle area has been a tough one to forecast this Winter season, so I have not been confident in what the wind was actually going to do based off the forecasts given until the day of. After calling off the lesson until the afternoon the downwind talks became real.  


Meet at Edmonds 9am, park and load the van with people and gear, drive to Golden Gardens, rig and be on the water around 11am. Get back to Edmonds 1:30 – 2 and get a ride back to the van. Solid plan! It is a good idea to set a plan and let someone know who is not going with you. 


We had a solid crew of seven after getting two more riders from Edmonds to jump in the van! The Westpoint Light house was already reading mid to upper 30’s and the pre-flight jitters were creeping in. Luckily, I had picked the calming voice of Willie Nelson as our pump-up music. The crew seemed to enjoy the classic Whiskey River. 


We arrived at Golden Gardens to find the wind setting up nicely for a kite launch. Although still a little gusty on the inside so get your kite up and get out to cleaner wind quickly. I was the only wing foiler of the group, so I launched the last kite and followed everyone out. We had all agreed to buddy up and keep an eye on each other, but everyone was an experienced kiter, and their confidence was high. I was riding my Duotone Unit 4m with an 80L Starboard Wingboard and the Lift 150HAX, I was in heaven. The rest of the crew were spread out on 5, 6 and 7m kites with surfboards and twin tips. 


The first portion of the run was a little gusty and the waves were disorganized. The wind was strong and seemed to be building. Everyone got settled in and we started to head North. After about 10min I realized that I was going downwind much quicker than the kiters. I decided to sit on my board and get the GoPro set up. Kiters must have a sixth sense to a GoPro turning on because before I knew it, I was getting sprayed and jumped over! 


kiting puget sound seattle

Robin sprays the camera

Duotone evo jumps

Charles with the one footer

strapless surfboard style seattle

 Eric's strapless style


“Ok, Let's go!” I yelled, and away we went again. Bumps were increasing as we got closer to Carkeek Park. Connecting longer rides and finding more of a rhythm. With the wind direction being very southwest, meaning the wind is coming from the southwest, the waves were always pushing us back towards the shoreline. We had to make sure that we would extend our outward tacks a little longer to ride the swell back in. The rolling swell towards the middle was starting to get good! While me and my buddy Jeffro stayed out, some others started to head closer to the shoreline to find some breaking waves. 


Everything was going fine until, suddenly, I fell awkwardly into my wing. My harness hook then decided it wanted to tear a hole in the middle of my wing! I had a nice gash that opened up to maybe half a square meter. Almost a blessing as the wind was picking up and I needed to dump some of that power anyway! 


wingfoil downwind seattle


Jeffro rode by with the classic line of “You are shredding too hard!” I was not actually, but to my surprise the wing held up fine for the rest of the run. 


wingfoil downwind seattle


Some of the best waves of the day were had between Boeing Creek and Point Wells as we passed through a group of people riding off Richmond beach. This was also the strongest wind we had encountered yet and Charles was throwing some massive jumps on his Duotone Evo D/Lab 7m and Jaime 139. Seattle sure can get windy! 


kiteboarding big air seattle


Coming around Point Wells we had Edmonds in sight, we were in the home stretch and some of my personal highlights of the session. The waves were massive for Puget Sound and so clean. I had a couple of rippers! Getting to speeds I have not done before, which is not saying a lot as I am a pretty slow foiler. Eric dropped in on one right in front of me and I almost lost sight of him in the trough! My friend Bart even rode upwind from Edmonds to meet us. I could have done that section over and over again! 


downwinding in big puget sound swell

 Eric dropping in on a big set


We arrived at Edmonds Marina Beach Park after 2 hours on the water where only a few more jumps and swell rides were had before everyone was off the water.  


kiteboard strapless surfboard seattle

Eric tweaking out a big one


Overall, we had an excellent time and it reminded me of how awesome this downwind run is! It is something I will look for again when the wind is this strong. Lighter days would not give you as good of swell and may make it challenging to get downwind, so look for those nuker days to get out there! I would not recommend this if you were unsure of your riding skills or have never ridden winds over 30kts. For anyone who is planning a run like this in future I would say to head through the first mile quickly and then take your time with the rest of the run. 


Kiteboard downwinder seattle

Happy Jeffro on his 5m Naish Pivot


Thanks to everyone who rallied and made this happen! Let's get back out there! 


  • Matt 


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