Originally posted: April 3, 2002 at:
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.
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.
Posted: 03 Apr 2002 22:39 Post subject:
IMO the questions of licenses will be more and more. This summer will be another peak of kiteboarders around the world.In Miami more at Ryans lake less
But one question came into my mind: according to your database, who has the most accidents - pros, advanced or beginners?
In the accident database soon to be removed and reconstituted as "Kiteboarding Safety Information", (the world we live in ...), anyway, the majority of accidents on record happened to intermedite to advanced intermedite kiteboarders. It is of interest that the most spectacular and intense accidents often happen to some of the more experienced riders.
Certification is focused on new kiteboarders primarily to some degree. As in the case of scuba diving and hang gliding, experienced participants at some point found reason to get certified. Today, virtually all participants in these sports are certified. In the early 1970's for diving and the mid to late 1970's for hang gliding in the USA, virtually none were. That changed, fortunately.
Avoiding accidents in kiteboarding involves quite a lot, including having the knowledge in the first place of how to kiteboard, how and where to lauch and land, weather and sea conditions and how to deal with them along with a lot of other information and practices. Probably the most important factor is to have all this information and to use GOOD JUDGMENT in making your plans and decisions. This last part about good judgment is where many of the more experienced riders are falling down. They didn't take the threat seriously enough or were not aware of the consequences of carelessness. Going extreme belongs well offshore away from hard objects, being careless near bystanders and hard objects is like playing blindfolded in a freeway, ill advised and doomed to failure.
Hopefully, the certification program will spend a bit of time on forming and following good judgment. This will benefit the experienced riders.
There was an interesting trend that I noticed with the kiteboarding exam that I posted yesterday. The best and most experienced riders generally scored 75% or lower. There were four 100% scores and many other near perfect scores out of the 23 tests given. The ones that scored the best were intermedite riders. I realized that most good riders ignore probably 50% of the good practices given in the exam.
I concluded that, it may be ok to know risks and good practices and then to selectively ignore them, if you have the skill to cope with it and are willing to accept the consequences of being wrong. It is quite another situation to have forgotten or lost complete understanding of the risks and good practices and make the same decisions to ignore them. I think this later phenomena may explain, in part, the abundance of experienced rider accidents.
We all need to pay attention to the hard won lessons from these accidents, new, intermedite and very experienced rider alike.
Some will and some won't, fingers crossed for improvement out there.