WINDS: Be mindful of winds and tides in Tomales Bay when you are on your SUP board. Tomales Bay experiences a prevailing north or northwest wind, which blows from the ocean and down the bay. I went for a paddle the other day and the wind was extremely strong - around 12-15 mph. Nothing like paddling in place. It was too wild to even photograph. I had to keep my paddle in the water for stability, so no chance of pulling my camera out of my pfd. Rule of thumb, if there is a wind when you take off (and I'm saying anything over around 8-9 mph), head into the wind. If the winds are calm, no worries, go north, south, east or west.
This photo was taken on a calm day, so I had no problem paddling around wherever I wanted to go on that day.
TIDES: Check the tide tables if you are in the northern section of Tomales Bay. Inverness is pretty far to the south, so you won't be overwhelmed by a strong tide there. However, farther north, it is well advised to stay away from the entrance during an ebb tide. There is a sand bar near the mouth that causes strong breakers, particularly during an ebb tide and are known to be so powerful at the entrance that they can capsize a boat. The ebb tide can carry you out to Bodega Bay with little hope of paddling back in until the tide goes in. Local boaters advise: "Before the tide starts going out, be on your way in."
Best advice comes in a package - SUP early in the day before winds pick up, start south (generally), and head north. Pick a calm day. Don't stray too far north during an ebb tide.
The second photo shows how powerful these breakers can be. (Click on "2 more photos" under the picture above.) I wouldn't want to SUP through those.
The weather is very capricious on Tomales Point. It can be gorgeous weather one minute, and foggy and cold the next. Bring layers, even if it is warm when you begin the hike. Quite often, even if the morning is beautiful, a fog will roll in later in the day.
This photo was taken on our return to the trail head. It was completely clear and sunny when we got to the tip of the Point. In no time at all on the way back, the fog rolled in, making Tomales Point look very much like the Scottish Highlands.
That surf out there may look calm and inviting, but here are 5 reasons why you should stay out of the water:
Great white sharks
The beaches along Tomales Point on the Pacific Ocean side are NOT for swimming or surfing!
The Tomales Bluffs are hundreds of feet above the rocky Pacific coastline. One step too many and the next thing you'll be doing is pushin' up daisies.