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Trip Report    

FLOW - Fun and Learning on the Water - Golden Gardens

We took the opportunity of forecast strong winds to go out and paddle in rough conditions.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles


Forecast winds at West Point (off Discovery Park) wee 15-20kt with gusts over 30kt.  I scheduled to meet at 1pm and off the water about 4pm with the intention of paddling up to West Point, playing in the conditions there, then a down wind run back to Golden Gardens.

At 1pm the water was nearly flat calm.  This was a huge discrepancy from forecast conditions.  However, we decided to continue because we were here with boats and you never knew.  20 minutes later a strong wind had come up and the center of the sound was covered in white caps.  By the time we were launching off golden gardens, there was a strong on-shore wind and breaking waves, making for a difficult launch.  This is great practice because this type of launch is difficult.  After some thrashing about, we regrouped on the beach.  I estimate winds were 25-30kt

Plan B was to put all our boats in one big truck, drive up to the Elks Lodge and launch from there.  There is a small public beach which is much more protected than Golden Gardens.  Launch was easy.  We paddled the protected shore of Discovery Park.  There, conditions were nicely wild.  2 to 4 ft waves were coming around the point and wind had moderated to 20-25kt.  

I took a circuit part way round the point then down wind and back to protected lee side of the point.  Others declined that but paddled at the edge.  There were numerous pieces of wood in the water and we did an exercise of paddling to specific pieces of wood to practice turning and paddling in wind and, most importantly, arriving at a specific intended location. 

Landed on the lee side of the point in small waves to discuss return plan.  Launched and paddled down wind run out a bit then back to Golden Gardens.  Car shuttle to pick up truck from Elks.


This is a great venue for wind and waves.  In strongest winds, launch from Golden Gardens and paddle south can be difficult.  Launch at the southern most corner of the beach and paddle through the marina for protection.  

The alternate launch at the Elks is a good option to know about.  Park your cars on the street, not the Elk’s lot.  Good to have at least one car down at GG so you can make run all the way to there.

North side of West Point is very protected and paddle to the point is easy.  Can return this way if conditions away from shore are too difficult.  

At the point, with in a couple hundred yards, there are a variety of conditions from fully exposed to fairly calm water.  Paddlers can choose their level of challenge. 

The wind here will be pushing everyone offshore so watch for that.  

The south side of the point is low gradient sand beach and may develop something like surf.  I’ve never found wind waves as surf-able as ocean swell.  However, if party needs more challenge, landing here will supply it.  If launch is too difficult you can portage across the point to protected N side.  

Down wind run to GG is good fun experience.  Don’t get too far off shore that you miss the landing.