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Standard rules for kiting, ie right of way

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Postby Guest » Fri Aug 02, 2002 3:31 am

With all the new coverage of this sport and its rapid rate of growth, there are more and more people on the water every day. more people equals less space and as all know, kiting is no good in confined spaces. are there any rules out there regarding 'right of way' on the water? or performing jumps with others near by? if there are any standard water rules they should be taught to everyone getting into the sport.

later, Jungles

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Postby RickI » Fri Aug 02, 2002 4:29 am

Hello Jungles,

When on the water, normal sailing rules apply. The jumping guidlines and other suggestions appear in the Safe Kitesurfing Guidelines reproduced below:


These safe kiteboarding guidelines have been prepared to attempt to improve kiteboarder and bystander safety. These procedures have been derived from other guidelines from around the world and from lessons learned from actual accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding can be potentially dangerous both to the rider and to bystanders, particularly if practiced without adequate training, knowledge and caution. Riders must accept that even if these guidelines are followed that accidents, incidents and/or injury may occur. Kiteboarders should follow these guidelines, area specific guidelines if applicable and other prudent and safe practices in an attempt to maintain safety and continued access to beaches for kiteboarding. Using good judgment is key to kiteboarding safely. These guidelines are updated regularly so please check the FKA website for the latest version.


1. Readily help other riders with launching and landing. Whether you are starting out or are almost a pro, your help may avoid a serious incident/accident and possible restrictions. Riders are solely responsible for their safety and that of effected bystanders. If you are new to an area or visiting, seek out local kiteboarders, shops and/or associations for local guidelines and rules before riding.

2. All kiteboarders, particularly beginners should seek adequate professional instruction. Beginners must avoid crowded areas as most bystanders aren't aware the potential hazards. Beginners should body drag out at least 300 ft. (60m) from shore prior to water starting.

3. Know your equipment's limitations as well as your own. If you aren't 100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DON'T FLY! Always maintain an energy reserve while out kiteboarding. Hydrate regularly and wear exposure clothing as appropriate. Don't kiteboard alone or further from shore than you are readily able to swim in from.

4. Make sure you have proper safety equipment, i.e. a functional and strong kite depowering leash, a good well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, whistle and hook knife. A kite depowering safety leash must be attached to your body. Rigging with a quick release chicken loop and static line is recommended.

5. Give way to the public on the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Be courteous and polite to bystanders. Complaints have led to restrictions on kiteboarding in some areas.

6. Is the weather acceptable, free of storm clouds and excessive gusty winds? If storm clouds are moving in, land and disable your kite well in advance of any change in wind or temperature. Are seas and wind condition within your experience, ability and appropriate for your gear? Offshore and onshore winds should be avoided. REMEMBER: TWICE THE WIND - FOUR TIMES THE POWER!


1. Make sure your launch is open, FREE OF DOWNWIND BYSTANDERS, hard objects, nearby power lines, buildings and walls, within at least 100 ft. (30 m), and preferably 200 ft. (60 m). Avoid kiteboarding near airports and in low flight path areas.

2. Check your kite for tears or leaky bladders. If you have leaky bladders or tears in your kite, repair them before flying.

3. Check ALL webbing, pigtails, bridles, the chicken loop and leaders for knots, wear or abrasions. If the line sheathing shows any breaks, replace them. The pigtails should be replaced no less frequently than every 6 months on inflatable kites.

4. Make sure your flying lines are equal as they will stretch unevenly with use. If they have knots that can't be easily untied, replace your flight lines.

5. If solo launching make sure your kite is properly anchored with sand and is draped downwind to avoid premature launch. Rig your kite for solo launch at the last minute and launch without delay as serious accidents have happened in only minutes during this stage. If you leave the kite unattended, disabled by disconnecting all lines from one side and roll your lines when not in use. Solo launching and landing are NOT recommended.

6. Walk down your lines and examine them carefully. Just before launch pick your bar up and carefully look down the lines for twists and tangles that could cause the kite to be dangerously uncontrollable. While you are holding your bar up look down the lines, shake your bar to make sure the center lines are connected to the leading edge of the kite. Be particularly careful, slow and methodical in high winds.


1. Avoid hooking or snap shackling in while onshore or near hard objects. Pull in your trim strap or rope entirely or to a point that will allow stable kite flight with existing wind conditions, to properly depower the kite before launching and so that you can readily hold the bar and release it if necessary.

2. Announce your intention to launch and then launch promptly. The kite should be launched towards or preferably from the water. Assisted launches are always preferred.

3. To try to avoid lofting or involuntary lifting. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE OVERHEAD or near neutral or the zenith, within 200 ft. (60 m) of ANY HARD OBJECT (on water or land).

4. Go offshore at least 300 ft. WITHOUT DELAY after launch. Stay beyond 300 ft. until time to come in. If there are substantial waves where you need to put on your board consider body dragging outside the breaker zone first. Be aware of and properly react in advance of low flying aircraft coming into your area.

5. Yield the right of way to all others in the water. Riders must yield to others when jumping, maneuvering, or riding on port tack (left hand forward). Kiteboarders should not jump within a buffer zone of at least two hundred feet (60 m) of others and objects that are downwind. Incoming riders give way to those launching.


1. Approach the shore slowly with caution. Take care to avoid causing an accidental jump in well powered conditions by slowing suddenly while approaching the shore. Keep your kite low to try avoid lofting.

2. Arrange for assisted landings at least 200 ft. (60 m) from bystanders, power lines and vertical surfaces. Do not use non-kiteboarders for assisted launches or landings. If in doubt, safely solo depower your kite in the shallows away from shore and bystanders.

3. Properly anchor your kite, disconnect and wind up your kite lines. The kite should be placed in a safe area well out of bystander and vehicular traffic.

© FKA, Inc. 2002

LOCAL KITEBOARDING GUIDELINES FOR ______________________________
(e.g. necessary area specific precautions and restrictions )



An example follows:


The following guidelines have been prepared to aid kiteboarding safety and access privileges at the City of Boca Raton Beach in the vicinity of Spanish River Blvd. These practices and other appropriate procedures should be followed while kiteboarding off this beach.

1. New kitesurfers must seek adequate, proper instruction BEFORE or while kiteboarding here.

2. Launch and land north of lifeguard stand #20 located due east of Spanish River Blvd. No launching or landing is permitted at guarded beaches.


Postby Guest » Fri Aug 02, 2002 4:53 am

thanks for the info. what about when two kiters are approaching each other on the same line. who gives way?
Right foot foward or the guy heading away from the land? or does this rule change depending on the location your kiting?


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Postby RickI » Fri Aug 02, 2002 2:12 pm

In boating, the guy on the starboard quarter or off to the right has the right of way. It should be the same for kiteboarders.

A illustrated reference appears at: ... /6_2_b.htm

I even use hand signals to show my direction of travel to oncoming kiteboarders and windsurfers to remove any doubt sometimes. It beats wrapping lines with another rider or clothes lining some poor windsurfer.

Rick Iossi


Postby Guest » Fri Aug 02, 2002 7:31 pm

Hand signals sound like a good idea. Except with my luck the other guy would think I was pointing which way for him to go! That would bring us even closer together :sad:

It would be great if there were universal kiteboarding "Rules of the Road". However, I suspect the rules tend to fluctuate from spot to spot. For instance, I often notice oncoming traffic situations where riders yield to whoever has the upwind advantage and not necessarily who is on the right hand side.

This is a good topic for us to discuss further so keep it coming.

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Postby Flea » Sat Aug 03, 2002 12:15 am

I think kitesurfing should be treated the same as any other windpowered watercraft in terms of rights of way. It works like this.

If two sailors are going in opposite directions, the sailor with his right hand forward, or wind blowing onto the right side of the craft, is on Starboard tack, and has right of way. The other sailor should avoid him.

If two sailors are on the same tack, but one is going upwind and the other going downwind, the sailor pointing higher into the wind has right of way.

If you are doing anything else, like gybing, jumping, etc. you have no right of way at all, and must keep out of everybody elses way.

It's important to note, that whoever has right of way, it is up to BOTH sailors to make sure that a collision does not occur. Of course there are other rules as well, and if you get into racing it gets very complicated. Of course, you need to keep your eyes open, and allow for other things like general levels of expertise.

Keep clear, and have fun :smile:


Postby Guest » Sat Aug 03, 2002 12:18 am

There is no point of kiting that is not adequately covered already by the internation yachting rules of rights of way. Please try and be aware of these and don't try to make up some kind of bollocks rules yourself that don't mean anything. Every single kitesurfer I've met is ingnorant as shit in regards these. With there own special advice.


Postby Guest » Tue Aug 06, 2002 12:46 am

All watercraft, no matter what size or type, are subject to the safe boating rules and must be aware of them before kiting.

That includes knowing WHICH SIDE IS STARBOARD AND WHICH SIDE IS PORT and knowing all right of ways as there can be MANY different craft out there including Jetskis, sailboats and motorboats. I suggest contacting your local state marine board for the rules.

That's the safest best... that and USE common sense.

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Postby gaffer » Wed Aug 07, 2002 9:27 am

Some people know and respect the rules, some know the rules but dont have the skills to follow them some dont know the rules, and some just dont give a damn. When you are heading towards an unknown kitesurfer it's pretty hard to tell the difference so I follow my own common sense rule most of the time.

If I am not 100% sure I will pass them upwind by at least a line length then I make it very obvious that I will be passing downwind of them by doing a quick 100m downwind dash.

Obviously in relatively uncrowded waters this works fine but would not be practical in very busy locations. But I'd never assume someone will get out of my way just because I have the right of way.


Postby Guest » Wed Aug 07, 2002 9:32 am

well said, gaffer. i'm sure many riders share your thoughts on this.

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