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re: New Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines

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  • Rick Iossi
    Although originally written for the for the AKA website, I had hopes that these guidelines might be of some use elsewhere in the world. In just a few days I
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 26, 2002
      Although originally written for the for the AKA website, I had hopes that
      these guidelines might be of some use elsewhere in the world. In just a few
      days I have been contacted by various parties and understand that they may
      be uploaded in Austria, Australia and France in addition to the USA. It is
      good to have so many folks focused on safety issues and maintaining
      kiteboarding access by avoiding incidents and accidents. I hope that more
      will use the guidelines to keep this trend going.

      Good winds,
      Rick Iossi

      <The following safe kiteboarding guidelines have been prepared from other
      similar resources from around the world and from hard won lessons from the
      accident database. They are to be uploaded to both the FKA website but also
      to the new kiteboarding section of the national AKA website. It is longer
      than the old FKA guidelines. Lets face it, the more time we do this sport
      the more ways of potentially getting into trouble are being discovered. So,
      the guidelines grow. I encourage all riders to read them thoroughly and to
      practice them for your safety, that of bystanders and to try to preserve our
      continued access to launches for kiteboarding. If you have comments, ideas
      or corrects please email them in.

      Good winds,
      Rick Iossi


      These safe kiteboarding guidelines have been prepared with the intent of
      improving kiteboarder and bystander safety. These procedures have been
      derived from other guidelines from around the world and from lessons learned
      from actual accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding can be potentially
      dangerous both to the rider and to bystanders, particularly if practiced
      without adequate training, knowledge and caution. Riders must accept that
      even if these guidelines are followed that accidents and/or injury may
      occur. Kiteboarders should follow these guidelines, area specific
      guidelines if applicable and other prudent and safe practices in an attempt
      to maintain safety and continued access to beaches for kiteboarding. These
      guidelines are updated regularly so please check the FKA website for the
      latest version.


      1. Readily help other riders with launching and landing. Whether you are
      starting out or are almost a pro, your help may avoid a serious
      incident/accident and possible restrictions. Riders are solely responsible
      for their safety and that of effected bystanders. If you are new to an area
      or visiting, seek out local kiteboarders, shops and/or associations for
      local guidelines and rules before riding.

      2. All kiteboarders, particularly beginners should seek adequate
      professional instruction. Beginners must avoid crowded areas as most
      bystanders aren't aware the potential hazards. Beginners should body drag
      out at least 200 ft. (60m) from shore prior to water starting.

      3. Know your equipment�s limitations as well as your own. If you aren't
      100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DON�T FLY! Always maintain an energy reserve
      while out kiteboarding. Hydrate regularly and wear exposure clothing as
      appropriate. Don�t kiteboard alone or further from shore than you are
      readily able to swim in from.

      4. Make sure you have proper safety equipment, i.e. a kite depowering leash,
      a good well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves and hook knife. A kite
      depowering safety leash must be attached to your body.

      5. Give way to the public on the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Be
      courteous and polite to bystanders. Complaints have led to restrictions on
      kiteboarding in some areas.

      6. Is the weather acceptable, free of storm clouds and excessive gusty
      winds? If storm clouds are moving in, land and disable your kite well in
      advance of any change in wind or temperature. Are seas and wind condition
      within your experience, ability and appropriate for your gear? Offshore and
      onshore winds should be avoided. REMEMBER: TWICE THE WIND � FOUR TIMES THE


      1. Make sure your launch is open, FREE OF DOWNWIND BYSTANDERS, hard objects,
      nearby power lines, buildings and walls, within at least 100 ft. (30 m), and
      preferably 200 ft. (60 m). Avoid kiteboarding near airports and in low
      flight path areas.

      2. Check your kite for tears or leaky bladders. If you have leaky bladders
      or tears in your kite, repair them before flying.

      3. Check ALL webbing, pigtails, bridles, the chicken loop and leaders for
      knots, wear or abrasions. If the line sheathing shows any breaks, replace
      them. The pigtails should be replaced no less frequently than every 6 months
      on inflatable kites.

      4. Make sure your flying lines are equal as they will stretch unevenly with
      use. If they have knots that can�t be easily untied, replace your flight

      5. If solo launching make sure your kite is properly anchored with sand and
      is draped downwind to avoid premature launch. Rig your kite for solo launch
      at the last minute and launch without delay as serious accidents have
      happened in only minutes during this stage. If you leave the kite
      unattended, disabled by disconnecting all lines from one side and roll your
      lines when not in use.

      6. Walk down your lines and examine them carefully. Just before launch pick
      your bar up and carefully look down the lines for twists and tangles that
      could cause the kite to be dangerously uncontrollable.


      1. Avoid hooking or snap shackling in while onshore or near hard objects.
      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 and release
      it if necessary.

      2. Announce your intention to launch and then launch promptly. The kite
      should be launched towards or preferably from the water. Assisted launches
      are always preferred.

      3. To try to avoid lofting or involuntary lifting. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE
      OVERHEAD or near neutral or the zenith, within 200 ft. (60 m) of ANY HARD
      OBJECT (on water or land).

      4. Go offshore WITHOUT DELAY after launch. If there are substantial waves
      where you need to put on your board consider body dragging outside the
      breaker zone first. Be aware of and properly react in advance of low flying
      aircraft coming into your area.

      5. Yield the right of way to all others in the water. Riders must yield to
      others when jumping, maneuvering, or riding on port tack (left hand
      forward). Kiteboarders should not jump within a buffer zone of at least two
      hundred feet (60 m) of others and objects that are downwind. Incoming
      riders give way to those launching.


      1. Approach the shore slowly with caution. Take care to avoid causing an
      accidental jump in well powered conditions by slowing suddenly while
      approaching the shore. Keep your kite low to try avoid lofting.

      2. Arrange for assisted landings at least 200 ft. (60 m) from bystanders,
      power lines and vertical surfaces. Do not use non-kiteboarders for assisted
      launches or landings. If in doubt, safely solo depower your kite in the
      shallows away from shore and bystanders.

      3. Properly anchor your kite, disconnect and wind up your kite lines. The
      kite should be placed in a safe area well out of bystander and vehicular

      � FKA, Inc. 2002>

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