The Ultimate Boating Lifestyle in California’s Watersports Wonderland

The Ultimate Boating Lifestyle in California’s Watersports Wonderland

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Fast or slow, a wealth of water-based adventures awaits on the California Delta.

With 1,000 miles of waterways that include channels going in each direction, the California Delta is one of the world’s top spots for waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing and other fast-action sports. Just ask barefoot-skiing world-record-holder Michael Temby, who was born and raised in this watersports wonderland.


“Life on the Delta is wildly water centric,” Temby says. “The old-school waterskiers go out early, when there’s no boat traffic and the water is like glass. But the Delta is made up of a lot of watersports people . . . and people who just enjoy living a life close to the water.”

Temby is one of several top watersports athletes from the Delta region, a list that also includes Scott Pellaton (co-holder of the world record for barefoot speed skiing) and waterski hall of famer Mike Avila. This proud tradition is a defining element at Delta Coves, a new private club community where the “old school” and the next generation of watersports champions will both feel right at home.


Set on a private lagoon and marina on Bethel lsland, Delta Coves will be home to 500 waterfront residences, each with a private boat dock—and all within just minutes of the area’s famed fast water. Whereas most communities require a long commute to reach the skiing sloughs, Delta Coves offers the equivalent of a backstage pass to the action. Early risers can get out on the still water for a morning of skiing, wakeboarding or wakesurfing, and still have time to get to the office. On weekends, those same enthusiasts can come back home for breakfast after a morning session—then go right back out again until lunch.


The Delta, however, isn’t just about going fast. Its waterways are equally conducive to a quiet jaunt in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard, or a leisurely cruise to take in the region’s natural beauty. The coves and channels near Delta Coves are also prime territory for fishing, with a range of species luring anglers year-round. In fact, the Delta is considered one of the top 5 bass-fishing destinations in the United States, and its annual Rio Vista Bass Derby & Festival, a three-day celebration held each October, is the oldest such tournament on the West Coast.


The area around Delta Coves is also a hot spot for catfish, sturgeon, salmon, shad and other species. The community’s proximity to good fishing holes means that residents can get an early jump on other anglers—and get to know the best spots like only a local can.

Delta Coves residents can even fish—and swim—off their own private docks. The community’s lagoon stretches throughout the development, offering a tranquil place to drop a line, take a swim or go for a paddle. The protected harbor is also a perfect place to learn early boating and floating skills—all just right out your back door.


That back door is the key to the water-based lifestyle at Delta Coves. With a spacious back deck and private dock, each house at the community is a gateway to the great California waterway, where sport, leisure, education, friendship and nature all combine.


“I feel like I’m living my dream,” Temby says. “The Delta lifestyle has allowed me to get out and have epic mornings skiing twin sloughs while the sun is rising, as well as share family memories and create lifelong friendships. Even going out frogging at night with the kids, or getting crawfish together, are memories we all cherish.”

The Great California Getaway You Didn’t Know About

The Great California Getaway You Didn’t Know About

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A rare hidden gem in the Golden State, the new Delta Coves is the ultimate gateway to a watersports wonderland.

The first thing you hear is the song sparrow.

As the sun rises over the California Delta, the bird’s crisp, clear trills accompany it like clockwork. The bugle calls of the sandhill crane and the mechanical rattle of the belted kingfisher are soon to follow, gradually building and filling the air. The songs merge to create the morning soundtrack of the Delta—and set the tone for a daily lifestyle that’s in rhythm with the patterns of the sun, the weather and, most importantly, the water.

Wedged between the San Francisco Bay Area, Napa Valley, Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada range, the California Delta is a rich agricultural region whose rivers transport more than 30 million acre-feet of water per year from the high mountain peaks to the Pacific Ocean. The Delta’s 1,000-plus miles of waterways are a haven for wildlife—and watersports. The region is considered one of the country’s top spots for waterskiing and bass fishing, but it’s also a perfect place for a quiet kayaking trip, standup paddle boarding, or motoring out to one of the many waterfront restaurants and bars that line its shores. Indeed, even with its proximity to big cities and popular tourist sites, the Delta feels a million miles away from it all.

At the heart of the Delta is one of California’s last truly undiscovered gems. Delta Coves, set on a private lagoon and marina on Bethel lsland, is a new club community that will be home to 500 waterfront residences, each with a private boat dock. The community appeals to weekend adventurers, serious boaters and serenity seekers—basically anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to escape the fast pace of the city. But life out here has its own fast lane: Delta Coves is the only new community with direct access to fast water, making it the ultimate home base for waterskiers, wakeboarders and other watersports enthusiasts. Pull into your driveway, walk through the house, exit out the backdoor onto your porch, and the watery world is at your feet.


Waterfront property in California usually means crowds and traffic, but not on Bethel Island (even though it’s less than an hour from San Francisco by BART). At Delta Coves, you’re more likely to see an impromptu boat parade than a congested road. It’s the kind of place where you can walk down the block to visit your neighbors, or just paddle your kayak or SUP over instead. It’s where you can get up early to go fish for bass, bluegill, salmon and sturgeon—and still put in a full day’s work on your return. It’s where you can watch the world from your back porch, including the more than 200 bird species that attract birders from around the globe to this spot on the Pacific Flyway.

The hub of daily life at Delta Coves is the Island Camp Club, a private social and recreational facility with a swimming pool, fitness center and spa, family games and more. It’s the place to go for a morning workout or an afternoon swim with the kids, and to gather with friends and family for happy hour, a fish fry and a game of bocce ball at day’s end.

When you want to explore the Delta, it’s as easy as hopping on the boat or Jet Ski in your backyard and cruising for a few minutes to the fast water—where you can ski or board at top speed. You can even head out straight from your dock toward the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, just a few hours away.

On most days, however, the lure of the Delta lifestyle will most likely keep you close to home. Whether it’s the sound of the birds or the thrill of your boat, the bite of a striped bass or a barbecue with neighbors on your boat dock, you’re sure to find your own rhythm at Delta Coves.

7 Reasons to Love the California Delta

7 Reasons to Love the California Delta

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A secret even to some California natives, the 1,000-mile waterway is a haven for outdoor sports, movie shoots and much more.

Mention the word California and the first thing that comes to mind for most people might be a sunny beach on the Pacific, a snowy peak in the Sierras, a Hollywood movie star or an iconic landmark like the Golden Gate Bridge. Chances are, it wouldn’t be the 1,000-mile-long waterway that in many ways links them all.


The California Delta—an intricate network of rivers, canals and sloughs that connects the Sierra Nevada watershed with the San Francisco Bay—tends to fly under the radar even with the state’s residents. But this expansive waterway, which is located roughly between Sacramento in the north and Stockton in the south, is essential to the daily lives of people across California, and even around the world. It’s also a critical habitat for a range of wildlife and a hotbed for watersports from fishing to wakeboarding.


Of the many reasons to fall in love with the Delta, following are a few of our favorites. From outdoor activities to fun facts, they all add up to a classic California destination that’s waiting to be discovered.


It’s the lifeblood of California.

The Delta’s rivers transport more than 30 million acre-feet of water per year from the high mountain peaks to the Pacific Ocean. This massive network provides water to more than 25 million residents, from the Bay Area to Southern California. The Delta is also lined with more than 500,000 acres of agricultural land that provides food for worldwide distribution.


The Delta is to waterskiing what the Rocky Mountains are to snow skiing.

With 1,000 miles of waterways that include channels going in each direction, the Delta rivals just about any place on Earth for waterski and wake-sports conditions. It’s no wonder that several top waterskiers—including world-record-holder Michael Temby and hall-of-famer Mike Avila—hail from the Delta region. Kiteboarders and windsurfers also flock to the great California waterway to take on some of its windier, wide-open channels. More leisurely outdoor enthusiasts can explore the region’s thousands of beaches and coves by kayak or stand-up paddleboard.


It’s also one of the country’s top spots for bass fishing.

Striped bass are the most sought-after fish in the area, and they’re often the stars of the oldest bass derby on the West Coast—the Rio Vista Bass Derby—which has been going strong since 1933. You can also find black bass, sturgeon, catfish, salmon, American shad and several other species. The Delta has a growing reputation as a fly-fishing destination as well, and the region’s crawfish have a huge following from mid-May to December.


It’s a major (but modest) movie star.

Several films—including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Cool Hand Luke, All the King’s Men and Blood Alley—have been shot in the region. But you’d never know it. The Delta rarely gets to play itself in movies, doubling instead as the Mississippi, Amazon, Irrawaddy and Congo rivers, and for landscapes in locations ranging from Vietnam to the Yukon.


It’s a critical part of California history.

The region itself was once a great tidal freshwater marsh blanketed by peat and peaty alluvium. For thousands of years, the Miwok and Yokut peoples lived along the converging rivers, and other tribes came and went with the seasons to trade and travel through the area. Beginning in the late 1800s, levees were built along the stream channels and the land that was protected from flooding was drained and cleared for farming.


It’s on the Pacific Flyway.

The Delta’s quiet waters provide critical habitat for migratory birds, and more than 200 species—ranging from tundra swans to sandhill cranes—have been sighted in the region. Top spots for birders include Brannan Island State Recreation Area, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Cosumnes River Preserve. The Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival celebrates the return of the cranes each November, and the Cosumnes River Preserve and the city of Galt host the Galt Winter Bird Festival every January.

The region is also home to mammals including fox, beaver, river otter, sea lion, muskrat and shrew. There have even been rare occurrences of humpback whales making their way up from the Pacific Coast to swim in the Delta’s channels.


It’s one of the friendliest places you’ll ever go.

With its close-knit communities, seasonal festivals and farmers’ markets, and waterfront restaurants and bars, the Delta embodies the true laid-back spirit of California. Stop by a farmer’s stand to buy some grapes, and you might come away with a new best friend. Pull up to your neighbor’s dock, and you could end up at an impromptu barbecue. It’s a place where strangers aren’t so for long, neighbors help each other out and life goes with the flow of the mighty Delta.