The following thread was recently started on iwindsurf.com. Certification may be more of an issue in the USA and some other countries where restrictions have been contemplated. Although, I know that restrictions have been put into effect in Cabarete, Aruba, England and other areas, so it may not be an issue for the USA primarily at all.
<A few concerns are currently working towards developing a common national certification or minimum proficiency training program for kiteboarding. It came to pass in hang gliding, diving, paragliding and even for driving cars. All these activities potentially put both the participant and to varying degrees, bystanders at risk. It took time, some discontent but eventually the training requirements came to pass. Today, no one really questions the need for training to do these activities.
I have little doubt that widespread certification will come to this sport naturally within a 3 to 5 year period. Unfortunately, I think the loss of public good will and access by that time will be unacceptable. So we should try to help things along a bit. The mere mention of certification in this and other forums is encouraging. For those guys that don't like the idea, get involved and try to guide it in positive directions. Unless we can go back in time to when there was one or two active kiteboarders per maritime county, I think this is a necessary step to preserve our access and the public image of the sport. Some folks will hate the idea alone and speak out against it, most may be indifferent and others still will be grateful for it. The problem is, our numbers our growing too large for there to be a lot of choice in this in more crowded areas if we are to avoid excessive complaints, restrictions and some bans.
Just because a rider goes through a course will he necessarily not cause complaints, have incidents or accidents, no. Hopefully with widespread training, the work of kiteboarding associations, clinics and development of general rider awareness, things will improve. Several major training concerns have been approached to develop common minimum proficiency training requirements (certification).
So once the certification programs exist, how do you compel riders to participate? The obvious course would be to have retailers under contracted agreement with manufacturers and distributors to require proof of certification before selling kites or boards. The reality is that at this time, the industry is still young, profits are small or elusive that businesses will be reluctant or outright refuse to embark on such a program at this time. I have asked lots of them. So, the next best thing will be to make listings of training groups that have the certification program in place available through manufacturers, distributors, retailors and/or associations. Proof of training may start to be required at some launches. It is already starting to be required at a few in Florida.
For riders that have few other kiteboarders in their area, you are lucky as you may be able to avoid these issues for a long time. For those of us that ride off more densely populated areas, it may need to come to pass sooner than later.