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VDWS International

Safety rules

11 Golden Rules For Safe KiteSURFING

  • Find a appropriate training area where the is plenty of free room on the land and waterside, making it suitable for starting and landings. Such a trainings area must have at least three line lengths of obstacle free lee shoreline. Obstacles include trees, rocks, people, animals, and other structures. There should be an alternative emergency landing site downwind which should also have access for rescue vehicles.
  • Kite only in wind conditions within your capabilities. Carefully judge the weather, and assess the shoreline for hidden dangers, structures etc, note wind shifting etc. Then make a appropriate choice of kite size to suit your ability.
  • Avoid gusting conditions and try to find wind which is parallel to the shore.
  • Check the board and kite equipment to ensure it all operates properly.
  • Always use a properly working quick release line and safety leach for the board.
  • Never kite without a suit, a buoyancy aid, impact protection, and helmet.
  • Make sure that you do not pose a danger to others. Risk and inconveniences to other should be kept to the minimum where it is unavoidable.
  • Conform with the collision, and environmental regulations and be prepared for emergencies.
  • Kites and boards on the shore should be properly secured. Help when starting and landing should only be taken from properly briefed people.
  • People should never be over flown. Never start when people are below you or inside the flying radius of the kite.
  • Never kite alone and do not venture further out then you can swim back, have a shore lookout posted, and pre-check if help is readily available.

Safety First

  • Detailed safety advance planning
  • Allow at least 3 line lengths for a landing space.
  • Check for obstacles in the path of the wind.
  • Examine the ground characteristics of the start area.
  • Check unusual features on the shore or in water zone for possible dangers.
  • Check that the downwind room is adequate
  • Chose a big enough site for the wind strength.
  • The start area should be well downwind of other water enthusiasts.
  • Plan an alternative emergency landing place further downwind.
  • Check the availability and access for rescue vehicles.
  • Never kite alone.
  • Check for movement on the strand and traffic on the water.
  • Check for currents.
  • Avoid areas with breaking waves.

Wind Check

  • Make a detailed assessment of the wind conditions on the shore and further offshore.
  • If the wind is gusting do not kite.
  • Check the wind direction.
  • First check out the condition when the wind strength does not exceed force 4-5 Bft max. Potential danger increases exponentially with the wind strength.

Kite Check

  • Be aware of the limited capabilities of your kite.
  • Recognise in advance uncontrollable situations.
  • Chose a kite size to suit the wind strength.
  • Things to check for: Lines do not exceed allowed tension limits, primary lines materials and diameters "OK", knots, twists, equal lengths, mechanical ware ,and chaffing.
  • The length of the lines should be varied to suit the ability and wind strength.
  • Check line connections for proper knots and good holding.
  • Balance lines must run freely.
  • Check the steering bar for sharp edges, padding and low weight.
  • Trapeze strap set to a max 20cm.
  • Check the quick release works properly and cannot accidentally be activated.
  • Check the inflatable tubing.
  • Check and secure the valve.
  • Know the water start capability of the kite.

Board Check

  • Choose a board to suit your ability.
  • Foot straps should be set properly
  • The safety leash must be long and strong enough.
  • The board end should be rounded for safety.

Physical Prerequisites

  • Physical and mentally fitness are a must.
  • (power, concentration, and stable build), not for those with a fearful disposition.
  • Good swimming and diving abilities required.
  • Good orientation and quick reactions needed.
  • A healthy respect for danger.
  • A responsible and disciplined character.
  • Good background knowledge of all general rules for watersports.

Protective Clothing

  • Suit to protect against hypothermia.
  • A buoyancy aid is required for beginners a wakeboard/ water-ski jacked for advanced.
  • A helmet should be worn when there are waves.
  • Shoes.
  • Hip trapeze harness.
  • Sunglasses.

The correct procedure in emergency situations and deteriorating weather conditions

  • Get ashore quickly, head for your downwind landing site on the board, or body drag.
  • Land the kite immediately, preferably with trained helpers.
  • In gusting conditions keep the kite in the zenith position.
  • When it is no longer possibility to reach the shore, pull the quick release, recover the kite and swim for the shore.

In emergencies make your self noticed!

  • Use your kite and board as a life raft.
  • Get feet free of foot straps before departing from board.
  • Get the kite quickly in the zenith position.
  • Body drag should be in a done in a stretched posture, let yourself be pulled.
  • A back down position is to be avoided, should it occur, re-roll quickly, otherwise let go of the steering bar.
  • In serious emergencies pull the quick release.
  • If the steering bar is let go, swim to the crashed kite, and it is to be retrieved as quickly as possible.