West Point Lake
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Windsurfing and Kiteboarding on West Point Lake
West Point is an under appreciated lake to the south of Atlanta. It's about an hour south of the airport on the Georgia-Alabama border. It has launches facing both east and west open to the main body of the lake with fairly decent fetches. One significant advantage it has is that it is further south than Lake Lanier which becomes significant from November to March.
R. Schaefer Heard Park looks very appealing for kitesurfing/kiteboarding as there are relatively open launching areas for west winds and gentle slopes in the shallows.
Occasionally, a colder weather phenomenon, a wedge sets up. Cold air is driven by a NE wind from the Atlantic Ocean and mid-Atlantic states southward. The heavier, colder air is runs along the foot of the Appalachians. This can cause significant temperature differences by as much as 15-20 degrees between north and middle Georgia. The winds in these conditions can be quite enjoyable 15-25 mph, so finding a good location is worth the effort.
R. Schaefer Heard Park
R. Schaefer Heard Park is on the east side of the lake and is a nice open launch for winds from SW to NW. The dam is off to the left but a fair amount upwind. That allows SW breezes to come in without significant obstruction while the earthen section of the dam provides an addditional bumper for novices.
This is just to the west of the dam and offers an easy launch for N, NE, E and SE winds. In the old days, it was just minutes from the east side of the lake and you could actually enter R. Schaefer Heard Park and drive over the dam to reach it. Post 9/11, you can only reach it from the other side of the river which means crossing the river in West Point and driving up.
Recommended Wind Directions
1-1.5 hr. Mark Smith of Pine Mountain wrote to let us know that there is windsurfing on the lower "hooch". Take I-85 South to exit 1 (West Point exit, hwy 18---about 65 miles south of Newnan); turn right off exit ramp and go partially through West Point and turn right at first stop light (about a mile from 85 exit); go about 2 to 3 miles and turn left at sign that says "Shaefer Heard Day Use Area." Follow signs to this area for Northwesterly wind (go out to point just below campground), but you'll need to
cross dam go through town, across the river and up to thewest side of lake for North to Northeasterly wind and turn into first parking lot on west side. (Note: Dam road closed post 9/11)
Surprisingly empty during football season. If you go back the back way (US29) through LaGrange, you'll find several classic Southern-style barbecue restaurants.
Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Beginners are fine if they stay close to their launch. Be aware that you are in the area of the dam so don't venture out if getting back is an iffy proposition.
West Launch (E/NE winds) is relatively free of any shadow. East launch (W/NW winds) may require you to work a small bit upwind before the air is totally clean
Map Key will be arriving shortly.