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Bay Area's CaliKites: Beer in the Fridge, Water on the Horizon

By Elisha Neubauer

Brian Schwarz came from a family deep-rooted in the finance industry. After finishing college, Schwarz jumped headfirst into the industry himself, becoming a financial advisor like so many of his family members.

The daily grind wore Schwarz down quickly, and he found himself fighting for as much time out of the office as possible, time he would spend kiteboarding instead. Knowing he had to trade the suit and tie for a wetsuit and board, Schwarz made the firm decision to shed the office job and head to the water.

Schwarz was lucky. In addition to having a die-hard passion for kiteboarding, he had another factor going for him when it came time to launch his own shop...location, location, location. "The Bay Area is the most underrated kite location in the world," exclaims Schwarz. "The wind is reliable from March until October and even in the off season there are plenty of days to ride."

Schwarz calls Crissy Field his 'homespot,' stating that the view from under the Golden Gate Bridge is like no other. "When you get out under the Golden Gate Bridge and look down at Alcatraz and see San Francisco up on the hill it's sensational," he affirms. Other amazing locations nearby include Waddle Creek, which offers one of the greatest kitesurfing breaks in California, and Sherman Island, where the water is warm from sunup to sundown.

While kiteboarding can be a difficult sport, Schwarz assures us that it is not hard to learn. "I think it's fairly easy to learn because of how much time you actually spend kiteboarding," he says. In comparison to other watersports, surfing, for example, you cover the basics within a handful of lessons, getting you up and on the board much faster. "It's similar to snowboarding, so after 3 solid days of kiting you should be ready to start practicing on your own," he details.

As for the sales side of the business, Schwarz knows exactly how to get customers to where they need to be without spending a fortune testing out equipment. He rides what he sells and he sells what he rides, so he's exceptionally familiar with the products he sells in-store. "I am an avid kiteboarder and know the equipment inside and out," he states.

"If something isn't working for someone I find out why and make some suggestions. Sometimes its equipment error but more often than not it's something a little technical advice can fix." It is this honesty and integrity that has made Calikites the go-to for so many kiteboarders in the area. "It could also be the beer in the fridge and the couch in the store," jokes Schwarz, "who am I to say?"

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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