Skyway Bridge West
Wind Direction: NW, W, SW
Hazards: Trees at launch. 300 yards directly west is a single mangrove island, this island is surrounded by oysters. South of the launch lies more oysters and deeper water. North of the launch lies more deep water and a channel that leads towards a bridge.
Tides: Tides can sometimes affect the West Side of Skyway for two reasons. The first is if the tide is super low. On a very low tide there may not be enough water to kiteboard. The second reason is if the tide is too high. If the tide is too high, there may not be enough water to set up a kite. You can check out the tides for the West Side of Skyway here.
Here’s a typical sea breeze afternoon. Kiteboarding in June at the Skyway Bridge West side.
The Skyway Bridge is the most popular place to kiteboard in St Petersburg. There’s two launch sites, the West and the East, and the direction of the wind is what determines what side to choose. The shallow water and accessibility is what makes the Skyway so popular.
See the Google image for an aerial view of the riding area. There’s a channel that runs parallel to the highway, if you’re new to kiteboarding stay on the inside of the channel. If you’re more experienced, you can venture beyond the channel where you’ll find strong wind and flat water. The west side is rideable with a foilboard, you’ll have to put in 20 yards north of the launch and tack upwind to the channels where you’ll find it deep enough (be cautious of the bridge to the north, on an outgoing tide the water can run fast).
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 hard right and continue to the end of the road. The launch will be on the left of the circle at the end of the road.
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 left and continue straight. The Road bends to the right, continue to the end of the road. The launch will be on the left of the circle at the end of the road.