A big thanks to everyone for your input and offers of help in pulling together these guidelines. I would hope to be able to receive final input on this version and to ask for the translations to start after tomorrow if possible. So if you have ideas or suggestions please send them in soon.
TEN POINTS FOR SAFER KITEBOARDING
Nov. 28, 2002
Kiteboarding is an incredible new extreme sport that is sweeping around the World. The thrills and shear joy of flashing over the water and flinging yourself, spinning into the sky at will can be addicting. A good session often enough leaves you hungering for MORE!
With all this power comes great responsibility. We were talking about throwing full grown adults high into the sky over the water for fun, correct? There is a lot of power there. There is responsibility to protect bystanders, access for all kiteboarders and yourself for your love ones. Kiteboarding is an incredible rush; severe pain and ridicule from your friends for causing an avoidable accident and potentially loosing access by careless actions are not. We can ride on the edge and visit the extreme but like flying an airplane or rock climbing there is a way and conditions to do it in and some to AVOID.
This year and particularly in November, there have been a number of serious and in some cases fatal kiteboarding accidents. Some of these incidents may have been avoidable if additional care had been taken. Would you fly an airplane into a severe storm cloud? No, why then would you kiteboard near one? So grab all the adrenaline rush and sensation that kiteboarding can deliver just go at it with adequate care. If not, don't be surprised if something bad comes your way. It has already for some unfortunate riders.
Please consider working "Ten Points for Safer Kiteboarding" and other good practices into your riding habits. They may help to keep both you and bystanders safer and help to maintain kiteboarding access for us all to enjoy this great sport. The following guidelines have been developed in part from the analysis of almost one hundred kiteboarding incidents and accidents. As we are always learning new things about safe kiteboarding please be aware of new techniques and updates to this list as they are developed. Even if these guidelines are followed injury can still occur in kiteboarding, so be careful out there.
1. TAKE ADEQUATE PRO KITEBOARDING LESSONS FROM A GOOD SCHOOL and carefully build your experience in manageable conditions. Lessons cost but you should be kiteboarding faster, easier and safer for your investment. Also you could save your costly gear and yourself from damage and our access to ride.
2. CAREFULLY CHECK THE WEATHER radar, real time wind reports and forecasts before riding and constantly BE AWARE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS WHILE RIDING. Storms and squalls have injured quite a few kiteboarders and represent a significant threat to rider safety and should be avoided at all costs. Actual weather may differ substantially from predicted conditions so stay alert. If storms or squalls approach your area while you are out riding, land, remove the lines and thoroughly SECURE your kite well in advance of any change in wind or temperature. Riders have been seriously injured by reacting too late or not at all. Offshore and onshore winds should be avoided. REMEMBER: TWICE THE WIND SPEED EQUALS FOUR TIMES THE PULL!
3. USE SAFETY GEAR including a good, appropriate helmet, impact vest, tested kite leash, reliable chicken loop quick releases (QR) & fixed harness line quick releases, gloves and hook knife. Frequently practice your response to various emergency situations such as lofting and dragging both mentally and physically to try to reduce critical reaction time.
4. NEVER LAUNCH OR RIDE WITHIN 200 FT. OR 60 M UPWIND OF HARD OBJECTS like the shore, boats or rocks or prominent vertical surfaces or steep slopes that may cause uplift. In kiteboarding "DISTANCE IS YOUR FRIENDÃ¢â‚¬Å“ and may sometimes forgive serious bad luck and errors in judgment.
5. Always methodically and CAREFULLY PREFLIGHT YOUR GEAR, making sure lines are equal, in good condition, free of tangles/snags and are properly attached. Repair gear before launching as sudden breakage can occur during normal riding and particularly in gusts or during jumps potentially setting your fully powered kite out of control.
6. HAVE AN EXPERIENCED HELPER LAUNCH AND LAND YOUR KITE who clearly understands your instructions and signals without error. It may be safer to launch your kite near to or from the water if conditions permit.
7. KEEP YOUR KITE LOW IN THE SKY AFTER LAUNCH TO TRY TO AVOID LOFTING AND GET OFFSHORE RAPIDLY. Do not stay on the beach or near hard objects with a kite in the air for extended periods. Never jump onshore, riders have suffered serious broken bones from this practice for a very long time.
8. CONSIDER LAUNCHING UNHOOKED from your bar to permit rapid release and kite leash activation if things go wrong. Consider hooking into your QR fixed harness line only once you are near the water and your kite is well out over the water and low in order to grab your board. You can connect to your chicken loop once you are well offshore.
9. BE CAREFUL IN AND CONSIDER AVOIDING HIGHER WINDS while kiteboarding, that is potentially winds greater than 18 kts or 20 mph. Kite forces and flight speeds can be much greater and conditions far less forgiving of errors in judgment and simple bad luck and have resulted in serious injuries.
10. AVOID COMPLAINTS TO KEEP KITEBOARDING FREE AND AT WILL. If you see someone that needs help or good advice, jump in to help. If you see someone doing something ill advised grab your friends and go talk with him convincingly to avoid problems for everyone down the road. When it comes to maintaining access, we are all in this sport together so pitch in and be ready to help.
These ten points cover aspects covered in greater depth in the "Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines." The Guidelines are located at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... TEBOARDING
FKA, Inc. Transcribed by: Rick Iossi
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: RickI on 2002-11-29 05:22 ]</font>
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: RickI on 2002-11-29 05:34 ]</font>