Yes it is true, kiting is an extreme sport and you expose yourself to the forces of nature and yes kiting is one of the dangerous sports, however a lot depends on you.
A. famous commercial of a drinking chocolate takes up the theme of kiting and a kiter is pulled across the beach, taking everything with him. Such situations can certainly occur, but only if you operate the material incorrectly and react incorrectly at the wrong moment.
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Material always safer
In the childhood days of kiting, it was mainly the material that was dangerous. There was almost no safety system and the forces on the kite were transferred one-to-one to the kiter. As a result, no mistake was forgiven and this led to serious accidents, which was not necessarily in favor of kitesurfing.
Nowadays you can say, yes, kiting is dangerous because humans do it. If today’s material would go kiting alone this would already look different. Today’s kites from 2008 onwards all have a good two-stage safefty system which, when operated correctly, reduces the danger.
Therefore, you should never use kite material from before 2008. You can find more details about this topic in my article: buying used kitematerial.
The human factor
What makes kiting so dangerous is the person himself. Situations are often wrongly estimated or underestimated.
So many think that they can teach themselves alone. “When I was a kid, I could fly those little steerable kites too, and of course i can handle that little bit of board.”
Yes, maybe they can and they are lucky, but enough has already happened with these self-experiments. Therefore, everyone who wants to learn kiting should visit a kite school to get at least the material theory, certain water sports rules and the basic knowledge about the wind.
This is a small request of mine because I have heard and seen a lot. Besides, these failed self-attempts always cast a bad light on our sport. Therefore, today a little appeal: Let a professional show you how to kite. Where and how you can start kiting I explain in another post.
Recognize and reduce dangers
Even if you have taken a kite course, especially in the beginning, the correct use of your equipment is important to realistically assess yourself and your skills and to get a good familiarity with your equipment.
Here are some tips to help you reduce or correctly identify risks.
- Kitespot Check
- Always enough water downwind
- Others observe
- Material coordination
- Check material regularly
- Self Rescue
- In case of emergency
Only go kiting in winds that your ability allows.
There is no shame in missing a kite day when the wind is strong.
If you’re trying out a new kite spot, take a good look at the area. Are there rocks, trees, obstacles downwind. What is the wind direction, waves, currents and general weather conditions.
It is always best to ask other local kiters or go kiting with experienced kiters.
Always enough water downwind
Mostly you start the kite on the beach or on a field. After launching the kite you should always go into the water as soon as possible and not stand around on the beach for a long time. Especially in strong or gusty winds. If the spot allows it, it is best to start right away in the water.
Watch the other kiters
The greatest danger usually comes from unexpected actions of other kiters or bathers. Therefore, before kiting, you should first observe the other kiters or beachgoers. Who is a beginner, how do they behave, etc.? So you can stay away from certain people or ask them for help or tips.
A common mistake in the beginning is to hold on to the bar and tighten it that way. In this way, scenes like the one in the above commercial can be created. The typical bending over for the board and pulling it up on one side of the bar also falls into this category. Therefore, especially in the beginning, always think about the bar and the kite.
Check material regularly
The most important thing when kiting is that your material is in good condition. For this reason, you should check it at regular intervals and always check it when setting up the gear. This way, you can detect defective lines or rule out a failure of the safety system.
It can happen that the wind decreases and your kite falls into the water, or that a line breaks. Then it is important that you can also save yourself. Practice self-rescue in low or no wind so you are familiar with the steps. This way you can react correctly in case of emergency.
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In case of emergency
The most important thing is to stay calm in a dangerous situation. Panic makes you react wrongly or too hastily. In dangerous situations, release the kite and bring it to you.
If things get really tense, take the last step and release yourself completely from the kite. A kite is replaceable.
Kiting is more than a sport
Now it was very much about the more serious topic of danger and safety. But kitesurfing is more than that. Kiting is a passion and the best thing I could ever start.
I don’t want to scare you away from learning kiting with this post. I just want to show you that if you use common sense and realistic self-assessment, you can learn an incredible sport that can be dangerous, but super fun.
I can only recommend it to everyone to start this sport, to feel the wind and the freedom. I can say that kitesurfing has changed my life.