This is a repost from the FKA email list from Dec. 2002. Since that time the city has passed a law restricting kiteboarding off of guarded beaches. Still, the law enforces the intent of the voluntary guidelines that were in place for over a year prior to that.
1. Kiteboarders were ordered to leave the normal riding area near some
private property by police.
2. Chuck, a the owner of a local watersports rental business at some
inconvenience convinced the police to let the riders stay.
3. We need to be considerate to people in general and particularly to folks
4. Work to avoid complaints to preserve kiteboarding access.
and the details:
Several kiteboarders were riding well south of the guarded public beach in
Delray Beach, Florida a couple of weeks ago. All kiteboarders would be wise to launch and land away from public guarded beaches in Florida and private property to avoid creating access problems. A beachfront homeowner who had apparently spent in the neighborhood of $10,000,000.00 USD for his beach shack was disturbed by the kiteboarder's presence. It is not clear what upset him about the kiteboarders although it has been suggested that he may
have confused them with powered paragliders that sometimes fly in the area. This doesn't make any sense but such is the human condition!
The homeowner called the police and three officers showed up at the scene. The homeowner proceeded to tell the police that he owned everything upland from the mean high water tide mark and the he wanted the kiteboarders ejected. This can occupy a major portion of the beach in many areas including the available launch and landing area. The officers said, "this guy owns the area you are in, wants you to leave, so leave or we will arrest you." The kiteboarders did the sensible thing, were respectful and left.
On the way off the beach they stopped by and talked with Chuck and Albert, owners of nearby Delray Beach Water Sports:
Delray Beach Water Sports is a beachfront water sports concession that rents windsurfers, kayaks, Hobie cats, surf boards, etc. I have known Chuck for almost ten years and used to windsurf with him on occasion, when I still windsurfed. He is a very friendly, easy going and helpful guy. The kiteboarders filled Chuck in on what happened and he said wait a minute, this isn't right. So Chuck went down and spoke with the police officers who told him that the homeowner basically owned the majority of the beach and the kiteboarders had to clear off. Chuck tried to convince them otherwise but was not successful. He asked the police to wait for a while and he would with proof that the kiteboarders were within their rights to be there.
So Chuck on a Sunday, prime time for rentals, left his business and went
home. He picked up copies of the Florida Legal Statues and some aerial
photos that show various setback lines and areas of ownership in the coastal area and returned to the beach. Chuck has a business right on the beach and had to become acquainted with these facts in the past.
So, he showed the Florida Statutes to the police officers and the aerial
photos and CONVINCED them that the homeowner had no right to tell the
kiteboarders to clear out of what is public land. The police proceeded to
give the homeowner the facts of life and left to tackle more deserving
matters off the beach.
It is important to recognize something. Chuck doesn't rent or sell
kiteboarding gear. He is an active windsurfer and caters to many types of
water sports but not kiteboarding at present. In the past kiteboarders and
one guy in particular have caused some problems in front of his launch area for which he has a permit to use for his business. The particular
kiteboarder almost prompted a physical altercation by not moving a hundred feet or so to the south from the permitted boat launch area while trying to give lessons to another person. This rider had almost taken out some bystanders by crashing the kite to the beach a few times. I understand that this rider after a couple of repeated episodes has seen the light and now walks away from the boat launch area like all the other kiteboarders.
So Chuck has no reason whatsoever to particularly like much less stand up for kiteboarders, BUT HE DID! Without his intervention kiteboarders would have been out of luck that day and probably for an extended period while the FKA attempted to sort things out with the City. That is the kind of person Chuck is and we would really benefit having more like him.
So, if you are in the Delray area and want to rent a kayak, surfboard or
boogie board stop by Delray Beach Water Sports. You might even stop by and say hello and THANKS! We need to look after friends like Chuck as they sometimes look after us. If you go there to ride make sure you launch and land well a few hundred feet to the south and stay at least 300 ft. off the beach while riding. You never know where your friends can come from. It is best to treat everyone with respect and consideration even irate homeowners and police on the job, to avoid having problems with our sport. Delray is a special launch and we have Chuck to thank for still being able to ride there. Next time we may not be so lucky to have someone like Chuck to jump in and save access. Riding guidelines have been prepared for Delray by the FKA."
If you're down in Delray stop by and say hi to Chuck and the guys at: http://www.delraybeachwatersports.com/home.htm
Bringing things forward in time a bit, Chuck has been an active kiter for some years now. The City passed an ordinance governing kiteboarding. You'll still still powered paragliders at the beach at times.