Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas greetings and safe kiting

In the lead up to the "silly season" I wish a merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

Some tips for kitesurfing over the summer holidays here in Australia (via the AKSA) are:
  • Check your gear thoroughly before heading out, especially it hasn’t been used for a few months
  • Avoid crowded beaches, there will be a lot more people using the beach and water
  • Do not kite after drinking, save it till afterwards
  • Keep clear of flagged swim zones, they extend 500m from shore
  • Keep clear of no boating zones - designated by yellow buoys.
Its vitally important that we do everything we can to keep kitesurfing safe for ourselves and for others.

In previous years, a couple of incidents resulted in injuries to non kiters, we must avoid anything like that happening again. Specifically:
  • Avoid flying your kite on the beach near other beach users, they do not understand kites and may walk into your kite or lines, or grab hold of them. 
  • When doing downwinders or kiting in the surf zone pay attention to any surfers or swimmers, they may be under the surface or behind whitewash and not visible initially. 
  • It is best to either avoid known swimming/surfing spots, or do a slow approach to carefully check if anyone is in the water before entering the surf zone at each beach you pass.
In Western Australia and Victoria there have been recent incidents involved a loose kite flying into power lines and cutting off power to 4000 homes for 8 hrs.  While these kites may not have belonged to an AKSA member, the local community does not make that distinction and we could all be banned from these locations.

It was very lucky that no one else was injured during these incidents, so remember to:
  • land your kite in a safe location
  • secure your kite once landed
  • use a kite leash that disarms the kite so it does not fly away. 
Distance is the best insurance, if you don’t get close to other beach/water users or dangerous objects then they can’t hurt you or you hurt them.

If you have not yet renewed your membership with your local kitesurfing association, remember that you have to be a paid up to be covered by the their public liability insurance policy

Have a safe Christmas with lots of great wind and time on the water.

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