re: New Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines
- 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.
<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.
SAFE KITEBOARDING GUIDELINES - April 22, 2002
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
GENERAL SAFETY GUIDELINES
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.
LAUNCHING AND GETTING UNDERWAY
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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