KITESURFING SAFETY GUIDE
KEEP DISTANCE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND ANYTHING ELSE
As a rule of thumb, always leave at least two line lengths of distance between you and any other objects or persons(that’s at least 40m).
One of the biggest problems in kiteboarding is the lack of time and distance when things go wrong. Kites are powerful and it is difficult to kill the power instantly. Many deaths occur as a result of people dragging into hard objects on land.
DON'T KITE IN CONDITIONS STRONGER THAN YOU CAN HANDLE, AND LEAVE ROOM FOR ERROR
Never launch with a kite that is bigger than you can handle. Make sure you know the upper wind range for all your kites and stick within them, remember the forecast is an average and doesn’t compensate for gusty conditions. Rather launch with a smaller than a bigger kite if you are unsure. Make sure that your kite size is smaller or equal to that of other people’s kites in the same conditions.
KNOW THE HAND SIGNALS AND WATER RULES
Make sure you know the universal signs for distress, and that you know the basic hand signs for kiteboarding. Landing and launching your kite are vital signs to know, as people often fail to hear when the wind is blowing and you need help. Know the give way rules on the water to avoid accidents and tangles.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT BEFORE GOING OUT
Make sure that your kite lines aren't worn or knotted. Knotted lines cut through themselves and cause line failure. Check that your kite, and harness, are all in good condition. Having gear failure out at sea can lead to serious problems. Having a snapped line on land can cause the kite to spiral in the power zone or move very fast through the power zone, resulting in fatal injuries.
CHECK YOUR QUICK RELEASE SYSTEM, and that your Kite leash is connected to a total depower line.
Make sure you have a kite specific safety system, and that you know how to release in an emergency.
KITE LINES ARE DANGEROUS
A kite line snagged around a finger or limb will result in the loss of a finger or limb with a fully powered kite. ALWAYS detach your lines from your kite when your kite is not in use, and never leave your kite unattended. People can trip over your lines and launch your kite - with the lines snagged around them. Never launch your kite with people or animals downwind of it - the lines can snag around them. Make sure there is adequate room between your kite and people, and always try and launch downwind of people and obstacles and don't attempt to swim to a kite on the water unless the lines are wound on the bar, lines around your legs can drown you.
KNOW YOUR SELF RESCUE TECHNIQUES, NEVER GO OUT FURTHER THAN YOU CAN SWIM
Make sure you know the self rescue technique for getting back to shore. You might find yourself with the kite down and unable to relaunch due to equipment failure or lack of wind. A self rescue technique will bring you to shore safely by using your kite as a raft and sail. Never go out further than you can swim, and keep the Kite inflated so you can be seen easier.
KEEP AWAY FROM OTHER WATER USERS
Do not kite between Swimmers, surfers, windsurfers or other water users. Always kite downwind and away from other water users. When things go wrong you are bound to hit anything downwind of you. Don't jump over waves if you can't see what's on the other side, there might be a surfer whom you can land on.
Kiteboarding is a dangerous sport and it is extremely important to have at least one professional kiteboarding lesson at the very minimum. Lessons not only teach you the basics, but also gives you a head start and will get you on the water sooner and avoids frustration. You will typically cover vital techniques such as how to launch and land your kite, how to self rescue, setting up and attaching your lines, relaunching your kite, board control, waterstart, body dragging and understanding how the kite flies. Most importantly, lessons teach you how to get out of situations.
KNOW HOW TO LAUNCH AND LAND YOUR KITE SAFELYMore than 90% of kiteboarding accidents happen on land, and most of them happen either while or within minutes from launching or landing your kite. When rigging your kite, make sure to double check your lines before launching. Rigging your lines the wrong way around can have fatal consequences. Asking someone to launch your kite isn't always safer than launching your kite from the self launch position - make sure that your helper knows how to launch or catch a kite - an inexperienced helper who lets the kite go too soon can cause a body drag along the beach - possibly over hard objects and people. Assess every launch situation and always choose the safest way of getting on the water.
Auckland Kitesurf & SUP Centre | KITE AUCKLAND - www.kiteauckland.co.nz