I found this on the web and thought it might be very helpful to forward this to windsurfers or do whatever to inform non-kiters.
1) While we try to stay upwind, occassionally, due to the same
conditions that effect windsurfing we find ourselves downwind and
among the windsurfers. Our options are to make our way through
"the pack" or Bermuda. Basically, its the same rules as sailing.
If your right arm is forward on the boom you have the right of way.
Continue on your tack and let the kiter react. It was once thought
that kiters should always go downwind of any windsurfers. This does not work because we cant keep going downwind. This draws
us further into the pack. Also, sometimes there are other windsurfers downwind. Anyway, its the same rules as sailing. If
you are passing downwind of a kiter, just relax and hold your tack
or bear off a little downwind. Because of how high the kite usually flies the lines will rarely ever be low enough to hit you or your mast.
If I see a windsurfer looking kind of confused I signal my intention
by pointing in the direction I'm going to go.
2) What to do with a beginner kiter dragging or being dragged downwind.
We try to encourage rookies to seek lessons first. We are working with the shops in the area (Jim, Steve, etc.) and they have agreed
not to teach here. However, some people insist on doing things the hard way. Basically, beginners are easy. They usually blow by wherever you are in seconds.
If you see one coming, just jibe or get out of the way. They'll be gone in seconds. We tell beginners to launch all the way at the
seawall and to come in when they reach the most upwind windsurfers.
3) What to do if you see a kite in the water in your path.
First, try to avoid the area if possible. Jibe if you can or manuever around the kite (give 100 ft each way so you don't hit the
lines). If the lines are in the water, DO NOT SAIL OVER THEM.
Your fin will not cut them. What will happen is your fin will
power up the kite and the kiter will have no control over the kite.
You will probably be lifted and tossed off your board . If you realize you are about sail over the lines, jump off your board into water. This will defuse the entire situation. You can then grab your board and sail away. If you feel you are about to be hit by a kiter's lines, jump off the
board and into the water. I doubt this will ever happen but if you think its going
to, jumping off is what to do.
4) What to do if you see a kiter has lost his kite. This is optional but you might spare a beachgoer an "adventure" and the
grateful kiter is sure to reward you with a case of your favorite beverages. Rarely, but sometimes, #4%@ happens and you are seperated from your kite. The kite itself cannot hurt you. It weighs about 3 to 5 lbs and is filled with air. If you grab the KITE and not the LINES it has the same
power as a sheet blown off a clothesline. Just grab one of the edges and hold it tight. Any kiter can take a few seconds to show you how to catch it safely. DO NOT GRAB THE LINES OR THE KITEBAR. As much as we'd like to have our kite saved from a trip
the kite hospital we value you folks more.
5) Launching and Landing. We try to always have assisted launchings and landing. This is the part of kiting that can cause the most trouble. That is why we walk upwind and give ourselves a safety zone. Basically, if you are upwind of a launching or landing kiter there is no way you can be "involved". So, if you are
strolling down the beach and see somebody getting ready to launch, either stay upwind or stay way downwind (100 feet minimum).
6) Flying a kite on the beach over beachgoers. This is a kiting NO NO. We stop anybody foolish enough to do this. If you don't feel comfortable approaching anyone who does this, ask me or any of
the other kiters to do so for you. We APPRECIATE YOU and our access here. We send anyone who wants to just fly his kite on
the beach up to the northside, where at Chapin or Mayflower at low tide they can fly on the beach all day and only disturb the the seagulls.
Toby, thanks for posting this. We recently had a roundtable discussion among windsurfers and kiteboarders in Miami resulting in the following guidelines:
1. Kiteboarders should never jump less than 200 ft. upwind of windsurfers
or anyone else for that matter, e.g. waverunners, bathers, kiteboarders,
2. If kiteboarders are on a course to pass within 100 ft. upwind of windsurfers they should go around well downwind of the windsurfer if possible. If conditions make this infeasible, a rare state in my opinion, then pass upwind with your kite high and nowhere
near the windsurfer's mast.
3. If passing head to head, give a hand signal as to which side you are
going to pass the windsurfer on if there is any potential confusion at all.
4. Otherwise normal sailing rules apply, as always. If in doubt, YIELD the right of way, it may save a nasty incident.
5. Try to setup the kiteboarder launch downwind from the windsurfer launch with a small buffer zone separating the two areas. It would be good to have a readily visible landmark to indicate the border between the two areas such as a jetty, building or even a flag.
Simple courtesy and comon sense is really all it comes down to. If we use
it, we should all enjoy lots more time on the water free of complaints and
Last edited by RickI on Thu May 15, 2003 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
You are so right. I always said that when you are learning "distance is your friend." That is stay well away from everyone. If not the inevidable loss of kite control resulting in dragging and slamming down of kites will cause some complaints at a minimum or incidents and even accidents at the extreme.
In most cases it only takes a little consideration for the other guy, that is windsurfers to avoid problems. I am not sure how things are going on your side of the Atlantic but over here, windsurfers are starting to avoid launches frequented by kiteboarders. That is unfortunate, not particularly fair and is also unnecessary as long as kiteboarders are responsible and considerate when nearby. While kiteboarders are offshore and well away from everyone then go nuts and blow the world away with sick tricks. If you do this close to others would will cause problems, for yourself eventually!
"distance is your friend" - well said.
This will stay in my mind for sure!
Just experienced this yesterday, luckily not me: a guy riding since two years, quiet experienced, came too close to stones and did a jibe. The kite was pulling him a little downwind and he got stopped by the stones. the kite went throughthe powerzone and smashed him on the stones.
He was lucky, open wound at his head, some skin scratched off. A admitted being to close to the stones
That sounds like a nasty experience. Do you remember the type and size of kite that he was using, the wind speed and related details? It sounds like an appropriate account for the Kiteboarding Safety Information resource.
Distance is every kiteboarders friend in reality, not just new riders. If you ride in enough conditions eventually that distance buffer that you have kept routinely may allow you to drag a sufficient distance safely through water to stabilize things when it hits the fan. If you routinely ride and jump upwind of nearby hard objects and bystanders, there is a good chance that someday you may be injured in a gust, by a broken line and out of control kite, whatever. Then there are the bystanders that may be dragged into your incident. If you have distance on your side a lot can go wrong and you can still come out of it ok.
I know exactly what you mean...
Same day, I was about to land my kite, about 1m away from the stones, suddenly a kite hit one of my lines, kite stalls and I was pulling my quick release, because if the kite would have gotten wind again, it would have dragged me big time over the stones!
Very important: always anticipate whatever could happen. Luckily the kite fall down all the way on land and someone catched it.
The guy is about 40 years old, weight 75 kgs, 2 years experience, X2 12, winds 10-14 knts, not really gusty, 170 twintip.
Winds side on.