Sand City

Site Description

Sand City is a coastal soaring site located just South if Marina State beach and North of Monterey. The site sits along a seven-mile coastal dune ridge, off of Highway 1. Sand city offers a relatively consistent onshore flow, as the Monterey Bay funnels wind into the Salinas Valley.  When the wind is “straight-in,” it is between 270° and 290°.  Sand City is an unregulated site and is P2 friendly, though Pilots that are unfamiliar with the site or newer, you are highly recommended to get a site intro from a local Pilot to understand the hazards of the site and how to fly safely. You can fly from Sand City north to Marina State Beach, which you can land at, but are not permitted to relaunch since Marina is a USHPA site which a P3 required rating is needed as well as joining the local club.

Sand city is a low ridge and requires wind to be stronger to be soar-able, but with high winds comes additional risk, so make sure you are comfortable and have the skill to launch and land in high wind conditions.

Things to note:

  • Thorough knowledge of ridge rules are essential. Can get crowded easily especially in light conditions
  • Have your speed bar system ready to be engaged.
  • Ridge is relatively low so wind must be fairly strong about 12-15 MPH to be soar-able.
  • Excellent ground handling skills, high wind launching, and landing skills are required to safely fly this site.
  • Consistent wind and soft sand, can make Sand City a good place for a novice pilot to work on ground handling skills.
  • Always ask the locals for the best place to practice and intro if unfamiliar with site.
  • You are guaranteed to get sand in everything.
  • The site closure status is in flux to flying, but check with local Pilots before flying at the site


Even though Sand City is P2 friendly and when soar-able has very good consistent conditions, it is unregulated and not without many hazards like blowback, water, other inexperienced pilots, drones, and more. Always be alert to changing conditions like wind direction and speed, and before you fly check the tides as well since it would limit your landing options.


Blowbacks are common here as most coastal sites, but preventable with good judgement. Behind the ridge at Sand City a major highway, power lines, and populated areas. Pilots need to keep an eye on the weather conditions especially out on the water for things like white caps building up, Pilot air/ground speed, etc… to make the right judgement whether to launch and when to land.

When unsure if you should launch in high wind conditions, consider that if you can not kite your wing in the current conditions, then maybe you should not fly. Also if there are no other pilots in the air that is also a good sign that it may not yet be flyable either.

Water Hazards

It should be obvious that the ocean is a major hazard when flying here, great to fly against the back drop of the vast Pacific, but it is also something to keep in mind when flying at Sand City. Pilots should always carry a hook knife when flying this site. During high tide, the site has very limited or no beach landing options especially since erosion has been changing the landscape along the entire ridge. Newer P2 and Pilots unfamiliar with the area are recommended not to flying during high tide even if conditions look good. If conditions change and turn too light to maintain, which it does happen often, it makes it very dangerous when out on the ridge.

Landing near the water is also a big risk, if your wing on the ground gets caught by a wave or lands in the wave, it will pull you out there has been fatalities here due to landing too close or in the water.

Note: Sand City is an unregulated site as well as contested site next to private property. You should get a site intro from a local pilot before launching. They can advise you on how to stay up, cross the gaps and avoid trouble spots.  They can also tell you if the wind is sufficient or excessive.

References:, Costal Condors visit these links for more information

Site Information & Resources

Location Sand City, CA
Rating requirement Unregulated
Club N/A
Club Website N/A
Flying Type Thermal, Ridge Soar
Optimal season -
Wind direction WSW, NNW
Optimal Speed 12-15 mph
Minimum Speed 10-12 mph
Weather Links
Wind talker call 1-831-393-4042
Gerry Pez Weather
Communication WOR Telegram Access Link
Number of Launches 1 Launches
Launch Sand City Launch Area
LZ Beach
Local Training Schools Raven Wolf Sky Sports
Site info Links N/A
Local Emergency # Primary call 911
831.384.7575 (Marina)
831.394.6811 (Sand City)

Location Map

Note: Location shown is of the general area of the site. Refer to official guides or local pilots get more details.