Along with rock climbing and mountain biking, kiteboarding and boardsailing truly put Squamish on the global recreation map. The natural configuration of Howe Sound – surrounded on all sides by steep mountains – acts as a giant wind funnel for late afternoon breezes. The Squamish Estuary and waters at the head of Howe Sound can be glassy-calm in the morning, perfect for exploration by kayak or stand-up paddle board.
While the wind is consistent, the site itself can be busy. Summer weekends often see up to 300 cars, trucks, vans and SUVs parked along the raised dike road that leads to the end of an artificially created land spit. The launching area, especially for kiteboarders, is fairly limited and people need to be careful when it comes to taking off and coming back to shore. On the west side of the jetty, the Squamish River carries glacial meltwater from the Coast Mountains, giving the water a cloudy appearance. There can be a huge difference in water and air temperature; during the summer, when daytime highs can reach the mid-30s, the water temperature in the river might only be two or three degrees above freezing.
The site is administered by the Squamish Windsports Society, which collects a daily (or seasonal) fee to access the launch area at the end of the spit. A rescue boat trawls the waters and assists boarders in distress. The staff on hand will provide novices with advice and recommendations for safely launching; however, it is assumed that boarders are competent in the basics of upwind sailing and foil control.