North America
California (USA)
Next Big City
San Jose
Next Town
Los Banos, Casa de Fruita, Santa Nella
Rider Ability:
Intermediate, Expert


Shallow, Flat, Chop
Rocks, Shells
Best Tide:
Tide independent

Storage reservoir for the California Aqueduct. No kiting in the O'Neill Forebay (power lines). Kiting allowed on the upper reservoir. Windsurfing allowed on both Forebay and upper reservoir. Water comes from the aqueduct, and is about 60-75°F, and pretty clean once you get away from shore, where it can be muddy. Watch out for the clam shells and rocks, very sharp.


Beach Users:

Be prepared for a walk. Traditional upper reservoir launch for windsurfing is the Basalt Boat Ramp area. This is a very gusty part of the lake, and conditions are not so good. Farther north, the wind fills in more steadily, but you have to carry your gear. Kiters, who can easily carry their gear can walk to a variety on launches from parking spots off highway 152 and take advantage of the better winds which fill in more strongly than the traditional O'Neill Forebay windsurfing spot. Any parking area to the west (on 152) of the Romero visitors center will access decent launches. If the water is high, the walk may only be 1/4 mile. When the water is low, some launches can be 1-2 mile walks. If the water is very low, there is a sandy area just below Romero visitors center. But for the most part, launches are muddy (and stinky if you launch from the upwind/west side of the lake, due to the masses of small freshwater clams that seem to wash up on the shore). The next two or three turnouts west of Romero offer OK launches with onshore/sideonshore winds. If you park at the turnouts on the west side of the lake, you will have a longer walk, and offshore launches. If you and a buddy take two cars, this can make a good beginners area, just get blown down to the other side of the lake where you parked your ride back.


Shorts, Shorty

Even in the summer, the very windy days tend to be cool. If the coastal fog is in, it can be very cool to cold in the a.m. and a full suit may be needed for dawn patrol sessions, even in the heat of summer. Lighter wind days can be quite warm/hot. Those more resistant to the cold might just go with a rashguard. For most, a shorty is recommended even on warm days.


Best Months:
No information
Wind Type:
No information
Best Direction:
No information
Main Direction:
No information

Winds are generated by a similar weather pattern to Sherman Island. If the coast is fogged in (light winds from the south at Pigeon or Waddell) and the central valley is hot, then the Reservoir will be cooking. Light wind days will be in the 8-15 knot range. High wind days 15-30 knots. Once or twice a month, the weather will really set up, and you will get some very windy conditions (40+ mph). Most good blows cover 3 or 4 days, then the weather pattern needs to set itself up again. When the pattern is on, it tends to be windy in the a.m., then drops off mid-day. Winds ramps up starting early afternoon. Sometimes dies a bit, then rips right before dark. Really windy days will blow steady all day. The Res. can really surprise you at times. Be prepared to get blown of the water once in a while. Wind on the upper reservoir will generally be a bit stronger, and more southerly.

How to get there

Short walk

From the West: take 152 east from 101. Lake is approximately 15 miles past Casa de Fruita. From the East: take 152 west from I-5. You can miss it. Park at Romero Visitors Center. To access launches farther west, you will need to take a U turn and come back.

Extra information


Kiting allowed on the upper reservoir. Windsurfing allowed on both Forebay and upper reservoir. In the past, when the winds get very strong (40+) the rangers will boot everyone off the lake, even the windsurfers. Don't get caught on the water after sunset, or in the park after dark or you may get a $90 fine.


No nightlife.