There are some web sites that paddlers go to frequently to get information they need before they go paddle. Resources for Paddlers California Paddler Magazine has compiled a list of these and posted them here. Bookmark this page, and whenever you need to find out whether a river is running, water temperatures, or if the waves and tides are such that you can have a good paddle, you can find all the information you need at this one site.
http://www.paddling.net/launches/ - Launch site map and information - worldwide, relatively new site, user generated
http://www.bayaccess.org/bay_access.html and http://gotoes.org/put-ins/index.php - Launch site map and information - San Francisco Bay
http://gotoes.org/California/BoatLaunchRampIndex.pl - Launch site map and information - other California (not SF Bay) launch sites
White Water-Specific Resources
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/river/rivcond.html - river conditions (depth and flow), dam releases - broken out by region
http://www.dreamflows.com/ - river conditions, dam releases, photos, and a bulletin board to talk about conditions with other boaters
http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/state-summary/state/CA/ - alphabetical list of runs showing conditions, what class it is, and whether it is runnable or not.
http://brt-insights.blogspot.com/2008/12/whitewater-river-boating-guides-for.html - statewide guide for paddle boating on class II to class IV creeks and rivers as put together by BRTHomas.
http://www.cacreeks.com has the put-in and take-out information for most California runs. Some of their write-ups are helpful and others are not so accurate. Many are from a rafter or inflatable kayak paddler’s perspective which is often very different from those of a “hardshell” paddler.
Flat Water and Ocean Paddling Resources
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/cpac.html - coastal water temperatures for various places in the US.
http://www.bask.org/trip_planner/ - tides and current predictions for various places in CA. It is based on the Xtides calculations, which are used in most tide calculations, but this site shows locations on a map (most just list the names). It starts centered on the SF Bay, but you can move around the State. Has a utility that lets you measure distance between points. Shows some information on some put ins and destinations for NorCal.
http://cdip.ucsd.edu/?nav=recent&sub=forecast&xitem=fm_san_xxx - The CDIP (Coastal Data Information Prgram at UCSD) forecast is a quick and easy way to get a good overall picture of ocean swell info.
http://pacificwaverider.com/nocal/county/marinSF/nowcast.shtml - clicking on a specific site to get wind and swell information.
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=37.82497195707114&lon=-122.47146606445312&site=mtr&smap=1&unit=0&lg=en - NOAA's Experimental Point Forecasts, both the land-based forecast and the marine forecast.
http://forecasts.surfingmagazine.comSwell reports from Surfing Magazine (formerly the SwellWatch site). Highlight over the map (or click on the addresses e.g. "North American West Coast") to zoom in for more details on an area. Click the "Charts" link below the map to see projection for next week.
http://www.sdkc.org/surfing/surfing.php (San Diego area) and http://www.bask.org/surfing/locations.html (San Francisco area) - two surfing sites with information on surf etiquette and places to go kayak surfing.
Have a better site than these? Send it to us at Editor AT calkayakermag DOT com. Depending on where the magazine is in its production cycle (whether it is a crazy crunch time or quiet time) will dictate when we can take a look at your suggestion.