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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 3:36 pm 
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Location: Florida
Aside from centerline or chicken loops, snap shackles that don't reliably
open, etc., a big threat to kitesurfers or more accurately kitesurfing
access, is new folks trying out kitesurfing. That is without any proper
instruction, sometimes without kite depowering leashes and playing with
traction kite on the beach among a bunch of bystanders. If you want to
practice on the beach you should use a small traction kite. When you put a
full sized kite, there is no reasonable excuse for not going immeditely out
on the water to body drag, or practice waterstarting.

I saw a group of four or five guys, doing this in SE Florida yesterday.
When they weren't parking the kite near the zenith looking to get lofted they were skiing down the
sand around other people. They honestly felt that it was nothing worse than
using a surfboard without a leash. I told them that I had an unconfirmed
report of a girl in France that was killed by a runaway bar a couple of
years ago. There is also the case of a child that was killed in England
several years ago by the handles of a runaway buggie foil on land. Also,
crashing the kite down and around bathers and bystanders of the beach
exposes those people to line cuts or worse. The point is they saw it a big
toy kite and they were playing with it. Of course this same size kite moved
a 3300 lb. mini van a foot a few months ago in Cape Hatteras. Our numbers
are too great now to allow this sort of common practice to go on in
populated areas. So what did I do? I went up to them and talked with them.
I don't know how effective I was because I was pretty exasperated at that
point.

In large part, I give responsibility to the person that sold this fellow the
used kites. If you are selling used kites, it isn't enough just to find a
buyer, you owe it to the buyer, other kitesurfers and yourself to try to
compel him to take adequate lessons, buy and watch intro to kitesurfing
videos, etc. If not, bans are becoming more common. They had an article on
the front page of the Wall Street Journal about kitesurfing today. It
wasn't wholly flattering focusing on turf wars between kitesurfers,
windsurfers and others. See http://online.wsj.com/public/us We really
need to take care of these problems before the regulators do it for us.
They are starting to do just that now.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 5:38 pm 
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Location: Cape Hatteras
word up, Rick.
You, once again, put important issues on the table. Every time I go to my favorite launch and see another new face there, I wonder how long are we going to "get away with this"? Do shops always give out your kind of advice? What about mail order warehouses, I'm sure half the sales people, especially the crossover windsurfing outfits, don't have a clew. Maybe you could post one of your, well written, pages that people, like myself, could print up and keep in the surfmobile to hand out to newbees, shops and local websites. Something short with links to more detail on the web like this forum and kitemares.com. I'm guessing most of the readers of this forum are intermediates and experts, we need to read this stuff too, but it's even more important to reach the beginners. My 17 yr old son is one such beginner, he's athletic and cocky, (yesterday he asked if he could borrow my f-one 5.0 foil to fly with his friends, it was gusting to 40kts.
Hey, at least he knew enough to ask my advice first.
Anyway, thanks for the thoughts, if we can just see the s*#t before it hits the fan, maybe it will last,
Lane


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 5:54 pm 
Your info is true but don't forget that adequate training isn't available at a lot of places. FL & CA - ok no excuse.

But there are LOTS and I mean LOTS of places that you can't even rent kiteboards or get lessons so there's no other way to learn.

Part of the thrill of riding is learning by yourself....though, doing your homework should be mandatory.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 7:09 pm 
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Hello Lane,

Excellent idea! I was thinking up printing up some general guidelines derived from the FKA guidelines and also a preflight checklist, laminating them and handing them out like cotton candy.

I will prepare something, sufficiently general to have some validity at the widely varying launches out there. I will upload it somewhere accessible to everyone, post the location here and on other lists and hopefully it will have a positive influence on things.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 7:13 pm 
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Location: World (KF Admin)
this puts up, once again, the questions of licences. You only can buy a kite with this licence, which you can get when doing a course. On the other site, as mentioned before, there are only a few areas explored by kitesurfers. In many countries you never saw a kiter yet. These licences will be a lot of hassle for everyone, but if no-one listens to what experienced and cautious people say, it will come.
The boom just started, and this year we will see for the first time the dimensions this sport will reach. Almost everyone I talk to nowadays wants to start or at least try it.
If I imagine Mallorca, which already was crowded last year, it won't be fun. And I just heard that in Florida tons of kiters are around.
Rick, do you have an approx. number of kiters in Florida? And this is just the beginning. Ask a kid in ten years what a windsurfer is, its answer: "aren't these the guys with the kite?"
We will see.....


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 7:13 pm 
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Location: Florida
You are right. Instruction is not as widely available as it might be. It is much more available today than it was only a year ago. Although California and Florida may have a larger selection, I would think that many maritime states now have at least one training outfit. As to inland states, it may be a bit weaker. All the more reason to do a road trip or plane flight to a good wind destination, get some good lessons and have a blast at the same time. You will progress much faster and safer and access to the sport should not be as much at risk. Three years ago, I would have agreed with you about the rewards of self learning. Today, there are simply too many kitesurfers for all of us to go through the dangerous early part of the learning curve for both the new kitesurfer and the sport to come out of it unscathed most of the time.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 8:27 pm 
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Location: Cape Hatteras
Great concept Toby, Even more likely, in a place like Florida would be a required licence to operate a kite. When snowboarding first hit Stowe in Vermont, I was required to carry a photo ID (1988). This forces buyers to take a lesson or two, (good for local dealers) and would eliminate total beginners from ruining a good beach for everyone else.

BTW- Rick, If it's not too much trouble, Ofer at tristatekites.com would love to have a section at his website regarding safety for the locals, including links and a preflight list. He also has a high regard for safety and respects your ability to write it down.

As far as self learning, I went through much fear and loathing (with foils) before I literally sold my gear went back to windsurfing. I finally flew an inflatable and understood why these guys were always smiling,
Lane


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 8:45 pm 
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Hello Toby,

I too, feel that kitesurfer certification will have to come to this sport if it is to be allowed to continue in many jurisdictions. We don't want it and don't want to hear about it. Kitesurfing is all about freedom but freedom, where others may be at risk is all about responsibility. Some of this responsiblility comes naturally, unfortuantely for too many us it does not.

Certification will likely be required at some Florida launches in the coming year. I see this trend expanding to other parts of the country. The alterantive are outright bans in many cases. We are having growing pains. I hope the painful part goes quickly and harmlessly into the past so that we can get back to the fun part, riding.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 8:54 pm 
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yes, it is such a shame that we can't concentrate on riding. But the good thing is, that we are just at the beginning and are able to direct things the right way.
But it ain't easy...

Rick, I hope one day you will receive all the honor for what you did for the kitecommunity !

Toby


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2002 2:34 am 
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Hello Toby,

To answer your earlier question about the number of kitesurfers in Florida, I am not sure. The FKA email list has about 230 members of course all of them don't reside in Florida. At a guess I would say that there are around 700 to 1000 people with kitesurfing traction kites in Florida. With our coastline length of 1350 statute miles, that is over 1 mile per rider. Now if we could just spread out a bit! At any rate someday we will be able to say "remember when..." Of course the vast majority are not that active at all. If I had to guess, at this is a pure off the cuff guess, I would estimate around 250 to 350 get out a couple of times a month. It is growing by the month as well, so who knows what the numbers will be when it plateaus.

Thanks for your kind words. I would be more than happy with having our access largely unimpacted and with a reduction in avoidable accidents alone. Thank you for putting together this forum to help get the word out!

Rick Iossi


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