HAYLING KITESURF ASSOCIATION
Kitesurfing is an extreme sport and is therefore potentially dangerous to both the participant and others. At HKA, we endorse the BKSA Code of Conduct to encourage responsible and considerate behaviour by all participants. You can see full details of the BKSA Code of Conduct HERE.
Many kiting accidents can be avoided if kiters stay informed of safety procedures and exercise reasonable care. However, kiters must accept that even if these safety guidelines are followed, that accidents, injury and even death may occur.
Kites can produce powerful forces with little or no warning. Sudden gusts of wind, improper line attachment, old or worn out equipment, mishandling, etc, can result in dragging and/or lofting, sometimes with no time to effectively react. A kiter may not always be able to just let go or kill the power of the kite, as many accidents have established.
The purpose of the HKA code of conduct is to minimize the potential for accidents occurring, and to create a safe environment for all beach users at Hayling Island.
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- At risk of stating the obvious, you should be a competent swimmer. If you are unable to swim, then you should learn to do so before attempting kitesurfing.
- Be available and ready to assist other kitesurfers. While on the beach, keep an eye out for other kiters that want to launch or land their kite. Remember the universal signs for launch (thumb up) and landing (tapping hand on top of the head). Never allow individuals to launch or land a kite if they are not well versed in kitesurfing etiquette and procedure.
- If you are starting out in kitesurfing, get adequate training. Beginners should always seek professional instruction. Such instruction should take place away from crowded areas.
- Know your limits. Be aware of your capabilities and limitations. If in doubt, don’t go out. If you are suffering from illness, or are intoxicated, or lacking energy - stay at home and ride another day. Make sure you are hydrated and wear adequate exposure clothing. Don’t go kitesurfing alone and don’t go further out from the shore than you are prepared to swim.
- Regularly check your equipment for wear and tear and functionality, in particular your safety leash & quick release mechanism. Test your chicken loop quick release and kite depowering mechanism. It’s a good idea to put your name and contact details on your kit in case you get separated from it. A helmet and impact vest are strongly advised. Note that most serious kitesurfing accidents involve head injury.
- Launch, ride and land well away from bystanders and other beach users. Take note of the specified launch and land zone on the beach, and stick to it.
- Do your research on weather conditions before arriving at the beach, and maintain vigilance for changes in the weather while you are kiting. Use an anemometer on the beach to validate your weather assessment. Don’t go kiting if there is a chance of an electrical storm. Keep a constant eye on conditions, including a change in wind directions. Ask yourself, ‘Is the sea and wind condition within my experience & ability and is my kit suitable’?
- Be aware of other water craft and of local maritime regulations. Follow anti-avoidance procedures and always give right of way to larger craft. If you are at risk of a collision, make a clear and obvious change of direction and maintain the altered course until the other craft has cleared.
- Ask yourself: ‘Are you in good physical condition to go kitesurfing’?
- Check and understand the weather forecast(s) for the day
- Use your anemometer & check the accuracy of the forecast
- If others are on the water, assess what other kite sizes are being flown
- Identify the correct launch and landing area(s)
- Lay out your gear & conduct a thorough safety check of your equipment, including line condition, line attachment points, bar, release mech, bridles, harness, safety leash, and check binding screws on your board are tight.
- Double check for crossed lines after attaching your lines
- Find a buddy who knows what they are doing to assist your launch – avoid solo launching if you can.
LAUNCHING & LANDING PROCEDURE
- You should launch your kite over the water, although in practice that may be difficult. Note that it is always better to be drawn towards the water than towards hard obstacles like a tree or a wall. Once launched, it is best to keep your kite at less than 45˚ until you are safely in the water.
- Avoid obstacles which may cause turbulence and may cause your kite to behave erratically. If the wind is gusty, be patient and chose a wind window that offers laminar wind before giving the thumb up.
- If you are presented with large breaking waves on entering the water, it is good practice to body drag to the outside of the break before attempting to put on the board and ride away.
- A rider leaving the beach has right of way over a rider approaching the beach. However, you should avoid creating congestion by choosing your timing carefully.
- Rights of Way Generally: riders must yield to others when jumping. Check in all directions before initiating a jump, especially downwind. You should avoid jumping if another rider is within 60m of you. Kiters riding a wave have right of way over those intending to get onto the wave.
- Starboard tack (right hand forward) has right of way, which means that the kiter on the port tack (left hand forward) gives way to the rider on starboard tack. When overtaking, kiters should pass up-wind of the rider being passed. The upwind rider should fly their kite higher - clearly signaling to the other rider that they intend to pass. The downwind rider should lower their kite where it is possible to do so safely.
- When landing, kiters should use mutually understood hand and voice signals to land safely. Approach the shore with caution, ensuring that the way is clear and that there is someone ready to assist. Kiters should avoid standing on the beach waiting for an assistant – it’s better to wait in the water. Avoid landing near obstacles or instructions which may cause turbulence. If in any doubt, or you cannot obtain landing assistance, fully depower your kite by either 1st or 2nd stage release.
- Once landed, properly stow and anchor your kite on the beach with a sandbag or by deflating the leading edge. Ensure you wind up the lines onto the bar straight away - do not leave them exposed on the beach where they could present a hazard to other kiters / beach-users.