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Kitesurfing Safety Tips


Safety is a very necessary aspect of most sports, and even more so with some, like kiteboarding or kitesurfing as it is also called. It involves using a kite of between two and five metres in length to power surf across a plane of water.

This is where the greatest danger comes in, a sudden burst of wind can lift you off the water and carry you away. When the gust of wind drops, you could be dumped on rocks or slammed into the side of a building. The option is to let go of the kite and almost certainly lose it. This gets expensive, and being left alone in the open sea is not very nice either.

The fact is that you can never be completely safe while you are kiteboarding. However, the least you can do is try. So wear a safety helmet and a vest that will both reduce injury from a crash yet also float. These two things alone will protect you from the lesser kinds of impact and help you to swim back to shore if needed.

Gloves and knee protectors will also make life easier as will a pair of impact-resistant running or jogging shoes or trainers.

Never disable, and always use, any safety devices built into your equipment. It is there for a purpose. Some of these features might be quick release buckles or buttons and safety straps so that the kite cannot be torn from your grasp, leaving you marooned far out at sea.

Be sure of the winds that you ride. Both on-shore and off-shore winds are dangerous because the one will carry you out to sea and the other could drag you into cliffs or buildings. The safest wind to ride is a side-shore wind. A side-shore wind will be blowing across the bay, parallel to the shore.

It sounds too obvious to say 'avoid collisions', yet in a way a collision is more dangerous at sea than on land. It will take longer to rescue you and longer to get you to hospital and you might drown. Therefore, do not kiteboard in busy waters - where there are boats or swimmers. Attempt to give a hundred metres clearance to anything that would injure you if you hit it.

Check the weather forecast and the predicted wind speed and use a kite that is appropriate for that wind speed and your degree of skill. Do not try to run before you can walk.

Once your kite is airborne, get out on to the sea (or water) as soon as you can and when you are coming in, hold the kite low, so that there is less likelihood of you being carried away into the road or buildings.

Carry a knife when you go kitesurfing because lines becoming tangled up is not an uncommon phenomenon but this can have several unpleasant effects. It can lead you off to where you do not wish to go and it can snarl you up cutting deep into your flesh. Be certain that the knife itself poses no threat by keeping it in a robust sheath. Wear safety goggles to avoid being blinded by spray.

 


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