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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2002 10:56 am 
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Location: Europe
This is my frist message in this international kitesurfing forum. I'd like to submit to your attention a strange and dangerous situation we could have in Italy from next summer. Here we have a kind of exponential explosion of new kiters (I'm one of them and I think everywhere is the same), but we have also the beaches quite full during the summer season. You can imagine that some incident will certenly happen between kiters and non-kiters on the beach; unfortunately we don't have an intellignt Coast Guard and its answer to this kind of problems is often to forbid activities. Therefore the Italian kite community is a little warried about our future. Is it the same everywhere?
Ciao
Luca


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2002 1:15 pm 
We had the same problem in Switzerland. We took the problem serious and got a solution. It's basically forbidden country wide, but the districts can decide themselves, if they want to allow it in certain areas of lakes of our lakes.

Contact people in your government (not the mafia...) and get a solution which keeps both sides happy, kiters and non kiters

Good luck


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2002 2:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
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Luca,

The problems and concerns you describe may effect kiteboarding access in many areas worldwide in the next few years. This sport started as an extreme fringe sport, practiced by widely spread, isolated individuals or small groups. There were learning curve incidents and accidents but our numbers weren't great enough to generally cause widespread problems. Switzerland was an exception to this trend as the restrictions there came early on.

In the USA, we are trying to manage this growth as intelligently as we can considering that this is a hobby for most of us and there are no kite police to enforce regs, in most areas. One course of action that is in motion now in parts of the USA follows:

1. Form Kiteboarding Associations in populated areas that need them. The associations have many goals including writing and promoting following of safe kiteboarding guidelines. Preparation of local guidelines that focus on local conditions and restrictions is also a goal. Establishment of a network of leaders, i.e. area coordinators (ACs). The ACs are volunteers, that are motivated and have some experience in kiteboarding. In Florida,(there are 17 around the perimeter of the state), many of the ACs are also in Kiteboarding businesses as they have a vested interest in continued access. The ACs also try to gain membership in the association in their area. The goal of membership is to promote the safe guidelines and responsible mannor of riding to avoid complaints and restrictions. Hopefully group pressure will help in encouraging new riders to seek adequate instruction and experienced riders from irresponsible practices that will cause complaints and problems. The ACs also provide early warning of trouble, potential restrictions etc. The association and ACs act as points of contact for the governing authorities if they have problems and concerns.

If you are aware of problems in your area now, it is best to study them, who is involved, who is regulating the area, how could things be better coordinated, meet with the riders and the officials and work out a reasonable accommodation. Try to get local leaders in the kiteboarding community to help promote and enforce the program. If there are lifeguards or park rangers that can help enforce the guidelines and are willing to do so, enlist their aid. These concepts are further explored on:

1. A group setup solely for folks that want to form kiteboarding associations. A cookbook approach is contained in the files section. This content and much more will soon appear on the American Kitefliers Association website. An announcement will be given once this has been setup.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KSAG1/

2. Also more information is given in the file section and messages of the Florida Kitesurfing Association at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FKSA/

It is important to promote adequate training of kiteboarders. If instructors are still too few in your country, it would help tremendously to promote the following succession to people interested in getting into kiteboaring:

1. Get a trainer kite and get your kite handling skills refined to a high degree with this relatively safe kite. Practicing on land with a full sized traction kite should be heavily discouraged.

2. Get intro to kiteboarding video(s) and watch them thoroughly. Associations could even setup a rental program for intro videos to promote new riders learning from them.

3. Once the new rider has thoroughly gone through 1 and 2, then he could buy an appropriately sized used or new kite for learning and pair off with some more experienced riders through an association, internet contacts, through shops or folks that they meet at the beach. Hopefully with enough sense and caution, and by staying well away from anyone else while they are learning they will get up to speed without causing problems.

Encourage the training of instructors in your area through shops if possible. Until you have enough good instructors at an accessible price, you will continue to have learning curve incidents at a potentially unacceptable degree.

We need to try to organize this sport and how we approach it as it moves from a fringe sport into the mainstream, worldwide. It starts with analyzing the problems and effectively communicating the solutions and creating some means of promoting compliance. It won't be easy but going hands off will only result in more cases like that of Switzerland be it locally or over larger areas. I am interested in helping this process along where it is wanted and needed. If I can help, please email me at: flkitesurfer@hotmail.com

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2002 3:14 pm 
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Ciao Luca,
Rick just gave you a set of excellent suggestions, this will help you and the growth of kitesurfing in Italy a great deal.
Since I'm Italian too (from Udine but now live in the States) I'm familiar with some of the issues you mentioned and I'm also aware of 1 italian kitesurfing association.
It's called NEKA (nord east kitesurfing association). You can access their group at:

http://it.groups.yahoo.com/group/NEKA

They are very active and althought they focus on the nort east italian region I'm sure they'll be happy to share their experience and knowledge with anyone who wants to keep this sport alive and growing.
You should address your questions to them as an initial step.
Hope this helps.
In bocca al lupo, enzo


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2002 8:21 am 
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Location: Poland, Poznan
I live in Poland and in my country most part of citizens never heard about kitesurfing and when I tell somebody about it they are sure that is some kind of joy for bigger boys. But I expect the same situation as in Italy, Swiss, USA ... in next 2-3 y.

At now I invite all those people that need totally freedom to surf.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:10 am 
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this is like Germany in 2000.
No-one knew about it, in 2001 some people and this year the most people know it.
So enjoy the next two years with empty beaches! They will be packed soon.

I can tell you about the future soon, because there is an event in Germany, Heidkate, April 26-28, were German kiters meet, ride and test stuff.
It will be interesting how many kiters will come together. I will post pics of this event.
But it would be great if some international kiters would join this event too. There wil be a supersession as well.
Poland isn't to far, neither Denmark nor Netherlands!
So CU guys!!

info (german)
http://www.kingofthecoast.de

Toby


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2002 8:44 pm 
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Well, thanks a lot for your answers.
Actually the situation in Italy is far from a Kite Anarchy and on the other hand I really hope we will not emulate the strange Swiss directives to regulate the beaches activities. Since last year we have a Federal Italian Kitesurfing Association and a lot of local groups that try to promote the "safety frist" issue and next years a lot of things are going to change. I think it will be quite similar as Germany. Unlikely (or likely) at the beginning of May I'll leave Italy and I'll go to Hamburg for several years for job reasons so I can't tell you the future development :wink:
Ciao
Luca


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2002 5:33 pm 
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ah, Luca, it is me.
Your kitefriend from Hamburg!

Sure you can't make it to the kingofthecoast?
You would many kiters from all over Germany and hopefully some international riders ?!

Let me know when you arrive.

Toby


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