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Kitesurfing Safety Guidelines

(May 2005)

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kitesurfing safety guidelines can save your life.
Kitesurfing can be a very dangerous extreme sport. Therefore, there are some safety guidelines each and every kiter must follow, to keep safe while riding.

Here are some kitesurfing safety guidelines to maximize safety and that should always be followed:

1. Taking Kiting Lessons with a Professional Instructor:
Do not try to learn the kitesurfing sport by yourself. You have to have good base taken with an authorized kitesurfing instructor to make sure you get good kite technics and basics, such as kite piloting, self rescue, prepare your equipment before use, control your board and kite and of course - knowing by heart the kitesurfing safety guidelines.

2. Know your Kite and How to Pilot it:
A lot of the kite accidents happens because of bad piloting of the kite. Riders are not sure how to land their kite or how to launch it and they might hurt themselves or the others around them.
- Do not ask to launch your kite from anyone who doesn't know how to do that.
- Double check your lines before you launch your kite.
- The moment you launch your kite, reach to the water as soon as possible. It is safer to manage the kite on the water than on land, in case of bad piloting.
* Make sure you know the kitesurfing universal hand signals, such as launching, landing, need help, "kill the kite", going left or going right.

3. Proper Equipment Set Up:
Your equipment must be perfectly set up before using it.
- A wrong lines set up might bring to a fatal consequences.
- Not enough air inside your kite bladders might cause it fall and not function as well as you thought it will.
- knotted lines are also very dangerous while launching the kite.
- Check your harness, board and kite conditions, to prevent any serious problems before you are starting your session.


4. Harness Quick-Release Safety System:
One of the most important kitesurfing safety guidelines and the most basic is a quick-release harness safety system. There are different configurations of the harness safety systems. In most of them the kiter can release the kite by one push on the system, which will leave only one line attached to a kite leash. This one line ideally will cause the kite to lose its shape and fall from the sky, without power.
Make sure you know your safety system well before starting to kite. It is very important to know how you can safely release yourself from any situation you will have with the kite.

5. Helmet, Impact Vest and Kite Cloths:
Helmets and impact vests can save lives and add substantial convenience if a rider wears them.
Wear appropriate exposure clothing for conditions and a reasonable period of time in the water, should you become disabled.
* An important note for kitesurfing safety guidelines: Do not remove or disable factory-installed safety equipment or releases.

6. Weather Factor:
Before going kiting make sure to check the weather forecast, real-time wind reports on the Internet for indications of storms/squalls, color radar and excessively gusty winds, wind direction changes and lightning hazards.
Remember: Do not ride in or near storms or squalls.

7. Human Factor:
Avoid kite surfing in crowded areas. People might always be an interrupting object, whether they are on the beach or in the water.

8. Clear Area:
One of the main kitesurfing safety guidelines: There should be in general a minimum of 100 meters of safe distance from all obstructions. Avoid kiting near rocks, trees, or power lines that you might bump into while kiting.
At wind speeds of 50 km/h (a typical speed for a skillful kite surfer), a kiter might get tired, and then get farther from shore than an easy swim, which is the primary reason kite surfing in directly offshore winds is discouraged. Other general marine hazards include sharks, jellyfish, sea otters, dolphins, and even crocodiles, depending on the location.
There are usually wind surfers at the same spot, other kite boarders or water craft that might be significant hazards, specially at busy locations.

9. Wind direction:
Another important kitesurfing safety guidelines is to remember that Side-shore winds are safer for kite. Avoid directly onshore winds or offshore winds.

10. Weather changes:
You should always pay attention to changes in the weather and wind conditions. Particularly dangerous are storm fronts, which are often preceded by strong, variable wind gusts and sometimes involve lightning. If a rider feels a static shock from the kite bar, they should land the kite immediately and seek shelter.
Weather planning and awareness are key to safe kiteboarding.

11. Know the Self Rescue Technique:
Knowing self rescue technique is one of the most important kitesurfing safety guidelines will make sure that you will get back to shoe in case of an emergency, such as disability to relaunch your kite if it is down on the water.
On this case you can use your kite as a sail. Make sure you know the self rescue technique so you wont keep on being carried into the deep water without anyone notice you being too far in the water.
* A recommendation: carry a safety knife attached to the harness for cutting tangled lines. Tangles are dangerous because an entangled rider in the water may not be able to free themselves quickly enough in the event the kite powers up suddenly (catches a wind gust, suddenly accelerates, or, if it’s in the water, gets hit by a wave). The tangled lines around a rider’s body can cut and sever a rider’s fingers, toes, or limbs or cause serious and deep lacerations. In a crash situation, with the kite in the water, do not allow a line to encircle a part of the body.


12. Avoid riding overpowered:
Using too large a kite for the wind conditions or your experience level is extremely dangerous. Underpowered riding is preferable to overpowered riding. When in doubt, go to a smaller kite and see how it goes. Always stay within the wind range specified by the manufacturer for the kite.

* Make sure you know those kitesurfing safety guidelines by heart and use them.

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