Thank you to Rick Iossi and the FKA; Re: NEW GUIDELINES
- You are welcome Greg and thanks for your support! One of your
comments was particularly telling in my opinion ...
"I love my instructor and the shop that recommended him, but they did
not even come close in giving the information included below."
I have received similar comments to this, several times in fact. Lots
of us have been through SCUBA diving instruction, consider a SCUBA
complete course that consists of ...
What your gear consists of and how to assemble it,
How to put it on,
Practical time using the gear in the water,
How to tear down and take care of your gear.
These are important steps in dive instruction and are basically
the "nuts and bolts" of the sport.
Still, something is missing.
In the 1960s, you might have only received the instruction listed
above. The injury and attrition rate were quite high in the early
years in the growth of diving so in time the industry improved
instruction to reduce accidents and participant dropout.
What did they do?
They included more theory about the physics and functioning of the
gear and the diver in the water, environmental information, emergency
planning and a whole series of more advanced topics that created an
ENTIRE new instructional sub-industry.
Will knowing the "nuts and bolts" about launching your kite,
waterstarting, a few techniques for landing your kite and
related "hands on" skills necessarily keep you out of a nasty
incident or accident? No, not necessarily at all.
Kiteboarding instruction needs more theory, environmental and
emergency planning information in my opinion. Some schools do this
while quite a few others apparently do not. Greg mentioned
certification, I have often thought that myself but haven't
particularly pushed for it, Certainly not pending more complete
instruction. Still, certification in many ways was the salvation and
a strong factor for sensible expansion in diving, hang gliding,
paragliding, sky diving, etc. Time will tell on that point.
The Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines are far from a substitute for all
the necessary information detailed in the paragraph above. Then
again, they would suppliment the "nuts and bolts" so frequently being
taught in these early days of the sport. Critically, THEY ARE FREE
for the use of whomever would like to consider them. The Guidelines
aren't cut in stone absolutes, although researching some of the
repeated accidents sometimes make me wish that they were. The
GUIDELINES are for consideration and what better time for discussion
and consideration is there but during instruction. Someday, I have no
doubt that there will be more complete cirriculum in kiteboarding
courses but that is then and this is now. Just a suggestion for
something that costs nothing and could actually do some good.
transcribed by: Rick Iossi
Promote "Ride Hard & Safer, Ten Ideas..." PRESERVE YOUR ACCESS TO
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "gheilig" <gregheilig@s...> wrote:
> Thank you to Rick Iossi and the FKA for posting these essential
> safety guidelines.
> I am new to kitesurfing and definitely appreciate this information.
> have received instruction and am at the point of flying my kite
> reasonably comfortably on the beach (away from people and
> obstacles!). I have not yet hit the water yet.
> I feel that the kitesurfing industry should require certification
> use of its equipment much like the scuba industry does for its
> I love my instructor and the shop that recommended him, but they
> not even come close in giving the information included below.
> Can anyone recommend a kite camp that provides the same level of
> safety information provided in your previous message? I need a
> kitecamp because I need to "immerse" myself in this sport to get
> comfortable doing it. I have many years of scuba, surfing,
> skateboarding, and snowboarding experience behind me so I am no
> stranger to boarding or ocean "extreme" sports.
> Greg Heilig
> --- In email@example.com, "Rick Iossi" <flkitesurfer@h...>
> > The latest draft update of the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines in a
> LONG series
> > of updates over the years appears below. As always, constructive
> input is
> > welcome.
> > Thanks!
> > FKA, Inc.
> > transcribed by:
> > Rick Iossi
> > SAFE KITEBOARDING GUIDELINES February 2, 2004
> > The following ideas are presented to try to improve kiteboarder
> > bystander safety, to reduce complaints and attempt to preserve
> access to
> > ride. These ideas have been taken from the analysis of over 100
> > that have happened worldwide over several years. Many of these
> > might have been avoided if a bit more knowledge and care were
> > Kiteboarding can be hazardous to the rider and to bystanders,
> > if practiced without adequate training, safety gear, knowledge
> > NOTE: Riders must accept that even if these guidelines are
> followed, that
> > accidents, injury and even death may occur in the "extreme sport"
> > kiteboarding. Kites can exert very substantial force with little
> > warning with sudden gusts, improper line attachment, mishandling,
> > resulting in dragging and/or lofting, possibly with no time to
> > react. And, NO "you can't always just let go or kill the
> power of
> > kite," as many accidents have established. Your ability to
> > your kite in an emergency will weigh heavily on your technique,
> > and reliability of your gear.
> > Kiteboarders should consider these ideas, area specific
> > applicable along with other prudent and safe practices
> for local
> > conditions. Cutting corners or picking and choosing safe
> > practices can seriously reduce the rider's factor of safety and
> increase the
> > odds of an accident. Seek local, competent knowledge regarding
> safe local
> > practices as special precautions may be indicated beyond those
> > here. Safety automatically increases to some degree once the
> > both aware of and takes potential hazards seriously. By contrast,
> > and indifference raise the hazard level substantially and have
> > been a factor in avoidable accidents. These guidelines have been
> > frequently over the years, so please check the FKA website for
> > version. Don't use old versions of these guidelines as
> > occur with new knowledge gained over time.
> > GENERAL SAFETY GUIDELINES
> > 1. JUMP TO HELP KITEBOARDERS. Readily help other riders with
> launching and
> > landing using reliable agreed upon visual and audible
> > Whether you are starting out or are almost a pro, your help may
> avoid a
> > serious incident/accident and possible restrictions. NEVER grab
> lines of
> > a flying or powered kite. Get involved with your local
> or club
> > and with area riders to try to preserve access to kiteboard.
> > solely responsible for their safety and that of effected
> bystanders. If you
> > are new to an area or visiting, seek out local kiteboarders,
> > associations for local guidelines and tips BEFORE riding. Don't
> ruin things
> > for the local riders.
> > 2. GET ADEQUATE PRO KITEBOARDING TRAINING. Kiteboarders,
> > beginners should seek adequate, quality professional instruction.
> > must avoid crowded areas particularly as kite control is still
> > developed. Beginners should body drag out at least 300 ft. (60m)
> from shore
> > prior to water starting and should always stay out of guarded or
> > beach areas. Be careful in your launch area selection and be
> willing to
> > drive and walk a bit further to have more ideal conditions. Build
> your skill
> > and experience carefully, you will advance faster for your
> > have been injured for choosing poor launches when far safer
> conditions were
> > relatively close by. Be particularly careful in new conditions
> at the
> > START and END of the riding season. Many accidents occur in
> > even among experienced riders. In kiteboarding, "DISTANCE IS
> > so use it!
> > 3. KITEBOARD WITHIN YOUR LIMITS. Know your equipment's
> as well
> > as your own. If you aren't 100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DON'T FLY!
> > be comfortable with conditions and your gear otherwise, don't
> launch and
> > "live to fly another day." Always maintain an energy
> reserve while
> > kiteboarding. Hydrate regularly and wear adequate exposure
> > (wetsuit/dry suit), to deal with unexpected time in the water.
> > kiteboarding requires additional critically important precautions
> > compared to warmer conditions and are beyond the scope of these
> > Don't kiteboard alone or further from shore than you are
> able to
> > swim in from.
> > 4. USE A KITE LEASH, QUICK RELEASE, HELMET, IMPACT VEST and other
> > safety gear. Make sure you have proper safety equipment, such as
> > well maintained kite depowering leash securely attached to your
> body, a good
> > well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, whistle and hook knife.
> > kiteboarding fatalities involve head injury. A good helmet for
> > MAY aid in reducing injury and improve the chance of survival in
> many but
> > not necessarily all impacts. A helmet is NO excuse to kiteboard
> > Regularly test and maintain a reliable chicken loop or kite
> > release. Relying upon manual unhooking alone to release your bar
> > UNRELIABLE based upon the accident experience. The rider needs to
> > and accept that in an emergency, this quick release MAY NOT be
> accessible or
> > function correctly in the critical seconds of the emergency. It
> up to the
> > rider to avoid the emergency in the first place and to aid proper
> > of the release through practice and maintenance.
> > 5. LAUNCH, RIDE AND LAND WELL AWAY FROM BYSTANDERS. Give way to
> the public
> > on the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Be courteous and
> > bystanders. Complaints have frequently led to bans and
> > kiteboarding in some areas and continue to do so on a regular
> basis. NEVER
> > launch, ride or land upwind of nearby bystanders. Work to keep a
> > 300 ft. (100 m) buffer zone from bystanders.
> > 6. BE AWARE OF THE WEATHER. Is the forecast and current weather
> > acceptable, free of pending storm clouds and excessive gusty
> > radar can sometimes give a clue as to violent storm/gust
> potential. Are
> > seas and wind condition within your experience, ability and
> appropriate for
> > your gear? New kiters should practice in lighter, side or side
> > winds. Onshore winds have a much higher injury rate even among
> > riders and should be avoided. Offshore winds should be avoided in
> > absence of a chase boat. If storm clouds are moving in, land and
> > disable your kite well in advance of any change in wind or
> temperature, if
> > necessary depower your kite while still away from shore.
> > strike many miles ahead of storm clouds. Learn about unstable
> weather in
> > your area and work to avoid squalls and storms through TV, radio
> > Internet information. Consider organizing an alert air horn and
> flag signal
> > for your launch as a warning to riders of pending unstable
> > PREFLIGHT CHECKLIST
> > 1. USE GOOD LAUNCH AREAS. Make sure your launch is open, FREE
> > BYSTANDERS, hard objects, nearby power lines, buildings and
> > within at least 300 ft. (100 m), and preferably more particularly
> in higher
> > wind. Too many riders have slammed into walls, parked cars, trees
> > better launches not so far away at all. Some riders have needed
> > of 600 ft. (200 m), to regain control in violent dragging or
> loftings in
> > higher winds. Avoid kiteboarding near airports and in low flight
> path areas,
> > complaints have led to restricted access in some areas. Never fly
> your kite
> > in the path of low aircraft in flight, moving your kite low to
> water at
> > the first indication of inbound aircraft.
> > 2. WHAT SIZE KITE ARE OTHER RIDERS USING? Check to see what size
> kite other
> > kiteboarders are rigging and get their input on conditions. Try
> select a
> > kite size for the lower to middle part of the wind range. Do not
> rig too
> > large a kite for conditions and carefully consider advice of more
> > experienced riders. Failure to act on prudent advice has cost
> > severe injury and even death. If you don't have a small enough
> kite to
> > safely launch, DON'T!
> > 3. CHECK & REPAIR YOUR GEAR BEFORE YOU FLY. Check your kite for
> tears or
> > leaky bladders. If you have leaky bladders or tears in your kite,
> > them before flying. Check ALL kite, harness, and control bar
> > pigtails, bridles, the chicken loop and leaders for knots, cuts,
> wear or
> > abrasion. If the line sheathing shows any breaks or knots,
> them. The
> > pigtails should be replaced no less frequently than every 6
> > inflatable kites. Inspect and test your quick release.
> > and physically rehearse pulling your quick release in an imagined
> > situation. Make sure your flying lines are equal as they will
> > unevenly with use. If they have knots that can't be easily
> > your flight lines. Do not casually make changes to manufactured
> > What ever you do must work reliably in what conditions may come.
> > 4. AVOID SOLO LAUNCHING. Solo launching and landing are NOT
> recommended and
> > should be avoided particularly in stronger winds. Launch with a
> > assistant, using reliable audible and visual signals. If solo
> > make sure your kite is properly anchored with a substantial
> quantity of sand
> > to avoid premature launch. Never use untrained bystanders to help
> you launch
> > or land. Riders have been severely injured by making this easy
> mistake. Rig
> > your kite for solo launch at the last minute and launch without
> delay AFTER
> > CAREFUL PREFLIGHTING as serious accidents have happened in only
> > during this stage. If you leave the kite unattended, wrap up your
> > deflate the kite's leading edge and roll it up. It is best to
> the kite
> > in a bag to avoid UV and wind damage.
> > 5. CROSSED KITE LINES CAN WRECK YOUR DAY. Launching with crossed
> or snagged
> > lines has maimed quite a few kiteboarders as the kite tends to
> up at
> > very high speed, dragging or lofting the rider into a nearby hard
> > faster than they can react. Walk down your lines and examine
> > carefully. Pick your bar up and carefully look down the lines for
> > tangles or snags that could cause the kite to be dangerously
> > While you are holding your bar up look down the lines, shake your
> bar to
> > make sure the center lines are connected to the leading edge of
> kite. Be
> > particularly careful, slow and methodical in high winds.
> > preflighting in higher winds is strongly advised. Rigging "Kook
> > connectors on our kite and lines is easily done with most kites
> > be rigged on all your kites and bars.
> > LAUNCHING AND GETTING UNDERWAY
> > 1. LAUNCH & LAND UNHOOKED WITH A GOOD BUFFER ZONE. Avoid
> in or
> > connecting with your quick release, while onshore or near hard
> > Practice LAUNCHING AND LANDING "UNHOOKED" or not connected to
> > loop. Pull in your trim strap or rope entirely or to a point that
> will allow
> > stable kite flight with existing wind conditions, to properly
> depower the
> > kite before launching and so that you can readily hold the bar
> > it if necessary. Always maintain minimum clear downwind buffer
> > particularly while flying unhooked. Physically and mentally
> > managing emergency situations including just "letting go" of your
> > Connect to your quick release once you are well offshore.
> > 2. KEEP IT LOW & GO! to try to avoid lofting or involuntary
> lifting. DO
> > NOT bring your kite much above 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) from the
> ground and
> > NEVER to the vertical, within 300 ft. (100 m) of shore or any
> > Never launch, fly or land upwind and close to the shore or hard
> objects or
> > stand on the beach for extended with your kite in the air. This
> > practice has killed and maimed riders. This practice MAY reduce
> > of lofting but may also promote dragging and serious injury in
> > wind conditions. So, if you are dragged be ready to depower
> instantly and
> > ideally before the dragging starts in the first place. HAZARD
> AVOIDANCE IS
> > THE KEY along with rapid preemptive, rehearsed actions. Do not
> > kite near vertical or sloped surfaces that can cause uplift and
> > dragging/lofting (walls, buildings, hills, tree lines, etc,).
> Avoid thermal
> > generating areas as sudden thermal lofting can occur. Launch in
> > appropriate part of the wind window to avoid "hot" or
> > launches. Make sure that there are no bystanders within your
> > buffer zone or close by in general.
> > 3. GET OFFSHORE AND STAY THERE. Go offshore at least 300 ft.
> > WITHOUT DELAY after launch. Stay beyond 300 ft. until time to
> in. If
> > there are substantial waves where you need to put on your board
> > body dragging outside the breaker zone first. The fun is
> offshore, danger
> > to the rider & bystanders is near shore where most of the hard
> stuff is
> > located.
> > 4. YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. Yield the right of way to all others
> in the
> > water. Riders must yield to others when jumping, to anyone on
> > hand side and to launching riders. When in doubt, STOP.
> > should not jump within a buffer zone of at least two hundred feet
> (60 m) of
> > others and objects that are downwind. Always be aware of the
> position of
> > your lines relative to others, line cuts can be severe and
> > with another kite, deadly.
> > 5. BOARD LEASHES ARE DANGEROUS. All kiteboarders are encouraged
> to master
> > body dragging for board recovery. Use of a board leash is
> and is
> > generally discouraged due to the hazards of board rebound or wave
> > impact. Injuries have happened with both fixed length and reel
> > Wearing a helmet and impact vest is always advised but may not
> > adequate projection against board impact as the boards can and
> > violently hit any part of the rider and have penetrated helmets.
> If there
> > is risk of your loose board hitting bathers, find another launch.
> > 6. DON'T GET LOFTED! Lofting or involuntarily lifting isone
> > greatest hazards of kiteboarding. Avoiding unstable weather,
> keeping your
> > kite low and getting offshore without delay are only a few of the
> > necessary to avoid this threat. If despite all precautions you
> > or lofted a short distance AND have time to react, depower your
> kite as soon
> > as you start to pause. You will likely be dulled by shock so
> > rehearse depowering immediately under such circumstances.
> > ideally should occur before you are lofted, still offshore and
> > hard objects. Multiple gusts can hit over a short period and you
> may be
> > lofted a second or third time, so ACT to depower your kite as
> as you
> > can. DO NOT ASSUME that you will have a lull between loftings,
> sometimes you
> > do and sometimes you don't. If you are air born over land, it
> > how and if you will come out of things. Focus on controlling
> kite with
> > small control inputs to avoid stalling the kite. Some have
> > the kite overhead AFTER you are lofted and to try to gently steer
> > the least hazardous are to impact. Other riders have said that
> > direction or transitioning after lofting has helped to reduce
> forward speed.
> > It would be wise to accept and plan for the fact that YOU CAN
> LOFTED AT
> > ANYTIME you have a kite in the air.
> > LANDING
> > 1. USE ASSISTED LANDINGS BUT SOLO DEPOWER IMMEDITELY IF
> > Approach the shore slowly with caution. Keep your kite low
> > 10 to 20 ft. of the surface), to try avoid lofting. Take care to
> > causing an accidental jump in well powered conditions while
> approaching the
> > shore. Arrange for assisted landings at least 300 ft. (100 m)
> > bystanders, power lines, vertical surfaces, etc.. NEVER not use
> > non-kiteboarders for assisted launches or landings, as use of
> bystanders has
> > resulted in severe rider injuries. Use mutually understood hand
> > signals to improve launch and landing safety. Riders have been
> > standing around looking for an assisted landing when gusts have
> hit. IF IN
> > ANY DOUBT, DEPOWER YOUR KITE even if you are still offshore. ALL
> > should be comfortable with depowering their kite immediately even
> in deep
> > water and swimming in to avoid being lofted or dragged in sudden
> > winds.
> > 2. STOW YOUR GEAR. Properly anchor (or ideally deflate your
> leading edge
> > and roll up your kite), disconnect and wind up your kite lines.
> not allow
> > your kite to be accidentally launched. Kites should be placed in
> > area well out of bystander and vehicular traffic.
> > © FKA, Inc. 2002,2003,2004
> > LOCAL KITEBOARDING GUIDELINES FOR ______________________________
> > (e.g. necessary area specific precautions and restrictions )
> > 1.
> > 2.
> > 3.
> > An example follows:
> > LOCAL KITEBOARDING GUIDELINES FOR BOCA RATON, FL
> > The following guidelines have been prepared to aid kiteboarding
> safety and
> > access privileges at the City of Boca Raton Beach in the vicinity
> of Spanish
> > River Blvd. These practices and other appropriate procedures
> > followed while kiteboarding off this beach.
> > 1. New kitesurfers must seek adequate, proper instruction BEFORE
> > kiteboarding here.
> > 2. Launch and land north of lifeguard stand #20 located due east
> > River Blvd. No launching or landing is permitted at guarded
> > _________________________________________________________________
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