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Kite Flying Safety Tips

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

 

 

tropical paradise kitesurfing equipment
Julien Sudrat

tropical paradise kitesurfing equipment
Thierry Dehove

Nature has very strong forces. People can be carried off, smashed on the water surface, buildings, terrain or power lines and result with terrible injury or worse. That could happen by sudden wind gusts, crasy rain, big waves or any other nature force.
Most kiteboarding fatalities are the result of being lofted or dragged out of control, resulting in a collision with hard objects including sand.

Some kiters do not realise that it is possible to be seriously injured simply by hitting the water surface at speed or from a height. Jumping and being airborne at inappropriate places (such as shallow water or near fixed or floating objects) can be a contributing factor and must be prevented by following the kite flying safety tips.

Here are some kite flying safety tips to maximize safety and that should always be followed:


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.

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

Clear area:
One of the main kite flying safety tips: 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.

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tropical paradise kitesurfing equipment
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tropical paradise kitesurfing equipment
Be careful of the human factor

Wind direction:
Another omportant kite flying safety tips is to remember that Side-shore winds are safer for kite. Avoid directly onshore winds or offshore winds.

Weather changes:
You should always pay attention to changs 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.

Equipment:
Helmets and impact vests can save lives and add substantial convenience if a rider wears them.
If you lose a board or kite at sea notify the coast guard about it.

Kite cloths:
Wear appropriate exposure clothing for conditions and a reasonable period of time in the water, should you become disabled.
* An important note inside kite flying safety tips: Do not remove or disable factory-installed safety equipment or releases.

Kite flying safety tips: Harness Safety:
One of the most important kite flying safety tips is 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 which is attached to a kite leash. This one line ideally will cause the kite to lose its shape and fall from the sky, without power. Redundant safety releases are even better; do not remove your kite release because you assume you can simply unhook. “Safety equipment” includes also the bar floats, the foam floats on the outside lines of most kite bars; most kite lines sink, and without bar floats sunk lines are more likely to tangle around an underwater obstruction. This could even happen with the bar floats, but they do help. With the kite in the water, a tangle like this could drag you underwater and hold you there.

tropical paradise kitesurfing equipment

tropical paradise kitesurfing equipment
Thierry Dehove in 2005 ;-)

Other kite flying safety tips:
* Another one of the most important kite flying safety tips is: Never use a board leash without wearing a helmet. Under certain circumstances, a board leash can cause the board to strike the rider in the head. Alternatively, don’t use a board leash. A helmet is a wise precaution in most circumstances whether you use a board leash or not, but never use a board leash without wearing a helmet. NOTE: board leashes have propelled boards through helmets in the past. The best course is normally to not use a board leash and practice body dragging upwind to regain your board.

* 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.

* Be extra careful when landing or launching the kite. Most accidents occur on shore or while a rider is entering or leaving the water. It’s advisable to either un-hitch your kite from your harness while on-shore, holding onto it with only your arms, so you can release if necessary, or simply be ready to operate the quick-release mechanism. Ideally, don’t spend any time on shore with the kite in the air; launch the kite and then leave the beach immediately, and when coming in, land as quickly as possible. When on shore, keep the kite low: if it’s hit by a gust, it can drag the rider, but may prevent lofting.

Kite flying safety tips: Safety knife:
Another very important kite flying safety tips is 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.
* Some kite designs from late 2005 and onwards have incorporated immediate and full depower mechanisms with the control bar and improved quick release mechanisms, both of which are making the sport much safer.

When practised safely, with the proper training and gear, kiteboarding is an enjoyable, addictive sport. Like any other sport, respecting nature, paying attention to the weather and staying within the limits of the riders ability will provide the safest and most enjoyable experience.

Depending on where you are in the world you should be aware of the local laws about flying kites and kite surfing.

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