Skyway Bridge East
Wind Direction: NE, E, SE
Hazards: Deep water, strong currents and small bailout to the south. Deep water and no bailout to the north.
Skyway Bridge East is located off the same exit as the west launch area and is compatible with any wind coming out of the east. On a north easterly wind, the wind coming across Tampa Bay wraps around Coquina Key and amplifies in strength by the time it reaches the Skyway. If you’re looking at the “Tampa Bay J Cut” sensor on Ikitesurf.com add a couple of mph to get an accurate reading of the Skyway wind.
The water can get choppy on high tide so if you are looking for the flattest water then Fort Desoto East Beach is the better alternative. See the Google image of an aerial view of where the shallow and deep water is located. The best place to ride to avoid the current and for flat water is on the inside of the sand flat that runs north to south. The water directly north of the launch is deep enough to foilboard. If you’re foilboarding, be careful of the flats to the east and the channel to the north.
In the “freeride zone” you will get the cleanest wind and experience the least amount of current. On a weekend it can become busy in this area so make sure you practice good etiquette and respect the other riders on and off the water. If you’re practicing tricks, try them away from the beach and at the edge of the “freeride zone”. If you’re new to kiteboarding, I would recommend body dragging upwind, going to the northwest first then to the east, until you hit the “teaching zone”. Give yourself enough room away from the students taking lessons and the kiteboarders who are freeriding.
The launch on the east side of the Skyway is off the same exit as the west launch
From St Petersburg/ Tampa: take I-275 south towards the Skyway Bridge. After you go through the toll take your first exit on the right towards the fishing pier and rest area. When you get to the stop sign, take a left and continue under the bridge. You’ll take your second left (the first left brings you back on the highway) and head towards the big beach area on the right.
From Sarasota/ South of Skyway: take I-75 north to I-275 towards the Skyway Bridge. Pass through the toll and travel over the Skyway Bridge. Take the first exit over the Skyway towards the rest area and fishing pier. At the stop sign take a quick right and head towards the big beach on the right.