KEEP 'EM FLYING, AVOIDING BANS ...
- The following was published in the recent issue of "Kiting", publication of
�Riding and Flying, FREE and At Will
Kiteboarding can be a very liberating, extreme sport. You throw yourself
into it, after adequate preparation and safety considerations, to drive
hard, fly high and long. The stoke of this sport is beyond compare and
even addictive for many of us. In society though, with most great freedoms
often comes responsibility to preserve that freedom. If you want the
incredible stoke flung out in great gouts by this sport you have to take
some care to protect your ability to ride. Kiteboarding sad to say, is NOT
a God given constitutional right but can be easily lost.
Just like not landing your airplane on the highway, or respecting climbing
rules in National Parks or waverunner operating restrictions in swimmer
zones, if you wanna play you need to follow some reasonable practices and
guidelines. If you don�t, you may well be shut down at some point.
Some kiteboarding restrictions have appeared in various areas. A few of
these restrictions on access and riding are logical such as in the case of
excessive beach crowding and should have been undertaken by riders,
VOLUNTARILY before Big Brother stepped in. No one likes being overwhelmed
by laws, if we use our head and fly at our sport responsibly, government
should stay out of our way in most cases. Things like staying out of
guarded swim areas while kiteboarding for instance when more thinly
populated unguarded areas are present not so far away.
D I S T A N C E in kiteboarding can be a very good thing. It protects you
the rider, bystanders and your ability to ride in many cases. If you don�t
use distance you may be shredding more than just water, you may be shredding
your ability to ride there in the long term. Being hooked on showing off to
the crowd near the shoreline may well show you to the door and out of
kiteboarding at your launch. Working things out with windsurfers in long
term riding areas is a very good thing. Figuring out how to coexist is a is
a more productive goal than promoting problems and rivalry through poor
communication and indifference.
Consciously avoiding complaints and official concern are essential steps in
protecting kiteboarding access in lots of areas. Many current restrictions
started with complaints and repeated behaviors that gave substance to the
complaints. Unfortunately, people often require to be �burned� to take a
threat seriously as opposed to using the old noggin to dodge an obvious and
avoidable threat in the first place. This trait has to have caused humanity
a lot of heartache through the ages but there it is.
Concerned about kiteboarding FREE and at will for the long haul?
1. Do you see the basis for problems or complaints at your riding area?
2. Tactfully ask lifeguards, park rangers, bystanders if they see any
problems or have complaints about kiteboarding on a periodic basis.
Consider putting on kiting orientations for these public authorities, it may
help them to manage and understand our sport a bit better.
3. If you see or hear about problems, figure out some reasonable solutions,
gather the local kiteboarders including leading riders, shop owners,
instructors, etc. and talk about what you folks have to lose and some means
of keeping the good times flying. Once you decide on solutions, present
them to the authorities and effectively promote them to local riders.
4. Promote kiteboarders to use D I S T A N C E. That is avoid guarded
public beaches unless by prior agreement with the authorities in designated
launch corridors. Also avoid annoying private homeowners in launch areas.
Problems usually start with complaints.
5. Make sure that ALL kiteboarders use tested, function KITE depowering
leashes. �Put a leash on that thing before it bites someone!�
6. Promote the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines** and other appropriate
practices at your launch. This collection of ideas is intended to try to
improve rider and bystander safety and minimize complaints and threats to
access. Add in your own local guidelines as necessary.
7. Consider having get togethers or KiteNites to bring riders together,
create a sense of �community� and spread ideas on how to keep the good times
flying at your local launch.
8. Contact your local kiteboarding association for help. If you don�t have
one or need one, think about starting one yourself. It all starts with
putting two or more concerned riders together with a mind to protect access
to ride. It doesn�t have to be complicated or fancy, just effective!
9. Don�t let just one or two guys fall into the role of �kite cop.� These
leaders are looking out for your access as well. There is strength in
numbers, so when a rider needs to be set straight on what his riding
practices are putting at risk, take your friends for best effect.
10. Many areas don't have problems but quite a few others do. Securing your
access starts with identifying the problem in the first place and before
things fly off too far south. So checkout things out at your local
11. More ideas on preserving access appear at the AKA website at:
with more ideas at:
** Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines at:
AKA Kiteboarding Committee
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join online visit: http://aka.kite.org
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