Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kitesurfing rules and etiquette

There are a lot of unwritten rules and etiquette involved in kitesurfing. I thought I would start with some of the important ones:




1 - Where to launch - launch away from other beach users, don't launch over kids building sandcastles or sunbathers. If this is your first time at the beach, do some research, or ask other kiters about local hazards or obstacles that may not be obvious.



2 - Setting up your kite - if there are other kiters setting up, don't set up right next to them or put your kite over their lines. Give people some space and try to set out your lines in the same direction as everybody else to save space.



3 - Launching - ask for a launch if you are not going to self launch, but make sure you are both clear on what is expected of each other. I learned the hard way recently and my kite ended up in a tree, as the person launching me had never launched somebody before and didn't know the hand signals. I had assumed that because he was on the beach with a kite pumped up that he knew what to do. Now I always clarify, do not let go of the kite until I give the thumbs up signal.



4 - Right of way - newbies seem to get very stressed about this one. If you are approaching a kiter coming towards you, the one with their right hand forward as the right of way. If you are both kiting in the same direction the rider more downwind has the right of way.

Although this is true, use common sense, if a new kiter is struggling to stay upwind or someone is trying toeside and struggling to edge, then kite to the conditions and make safe decisions.



5 - Jumping and tricks - yes jumping is cool, but its not cool if you are close to another kiter. Take a look around you before you pop your jump, make sure your downwind path is clear and you can travel without getting tangled with another kiter. You may think you have control, but we have all had our jumps go wrong, make sure there is space for error.



6 - Landing - if you are asking somebody to land your kite, tap on your head as a signal to let them know what you want. Make sure you know how to self land and have practiced this skill BEFORE you find yourself alone on a beach. There are lots of video's on youtube showing landing techniques if you haven't seen them.



7 - confronting the morons - we are a kite community, we need to keep our beaches safe and look after each other. Sometimes there are "kite morons" out there, who throw dangerous moves close to the beach, or kite too close to others. Speak out and confront these people, we will end up being banned from beaches if we don't self-police.

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