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This out-of-the-way rock-wall on the northeast side of Corona Heights Park is a popular destination for climbers looking for an urban adventure. The wall, which is about seven stories tall and has a smooth surface of slick red, pink, and grey rock, is maintained by volunteers who come out and prepare it with climbing chains and links from the top. Recently, bolts have been removed to preserve the wall, which, in addition to being a climbing destination, is a geological curiosity, a “slickenslide,” or a polished rock face that has risen out of a fault.
This sea-kayaking outfitter rents sit-on-top and sea-touring kayaks, stand-up paddle-boards, and canoes by the hour or day out of Pier 40. Rentals include brief lessons, life jackets, dry bags, jackets, and splash pants. Popular routes from the pier include visits to McCovey Cove and Alcatraz Island. City Kayak also offers guided trips, teaching everything from basics to how to roll a kayak upright. Please note that City Kayak’s opening and closing hours vary depending on the season, and, although the office closes at 5p, the last kayaks of the day go out at 3p.
Planet Granite is one of the largest climbing and bouldering gyms in San Francisco. One hundred and fifteen top ropes reach up to four and a half stories in height over varied terrain that includes overhangs, stalactites, and realistic cracks. Visitors can also take advantage of a fully-equipped fitness and cardio area, a sauna, two yoga studios, and precious views across Crissy Field and the San Francisco Bay from the entire length of the gym’s building. The gym also offers group fitness classes, children’s programs, and a climbing gear shop.
Fort Funston is one of San Francisco's many public parks and recreation areas. Located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the park offers a wonderful respite from the chaotic hustle and bustle of city life. Fort Funston was actually built as a defensive structure overlooking the harbor in the early 19th Century. Fortunately, the area has been preserved due to it's significance and is now a busy public park popular with dog walkers. Built on the sandy cliffs overlooking the ocean, the most popular feature of Fort Funston is that it provides the perfect conditions for hang-gliding. Attracting adrenaline junkies and para-gliding enthusiasts, the bluff is the perfect take-off point. Intermediate level gliders will enjoy soaring above the coast and the breath-taking views over the sea. All the necessary gear is available from shops around the area.
Lessons, sales and rentals are just on the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge. A one-day intensive class in the Sausalito facility prepares beginning divers for a two-day diving lesson in a cove on the beautiful Sonoma Coast (with a bed & breakfast stay and fresh abalone banquet arranged by the school). Harbor Dive also offers sea kayak rentals, sales, and lessons in San Francisco Bay.
The University of Surfing offers year-round surf lessons from Pacifica State Beach, also called Linda Mar Beach. Lessons range from private one-on-one lessons, surf camps, group 101 beginner sessions, yoga and surf combinations, family sessions, and a unique surfing fitness program. The Surf 101 course is one of the most popular, and has the goal of getting beginner surfers out in the water in under an hour, or at least after the first or second lesson. The instructors are good at their job, and are usually able to meet the goal. Note that all the lessons meet at the beach’s south parking lot.