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Old 02-19-2008, 11:00 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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Smathers Beach on Key West, FL can be a challenging intermediate or stronger kiteboarder launching area for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons and precautions are explored below. Kiter must comply with the kiteboarding rules for Smathers Beach to improve both kiter and bystander safety and to help maintain our access to this unique launch.

Smathers Beach, bent due to image distortion. It actually runs close to east to west. Note the powerlines and concrete posts in the water.
(Click photo for full sized image)

Note the shoreline to the east. The wind is side offshore and therefore potentially uneven with gusts and lulls with wind much to the north of East South East or to the north of West South West. If your kite is overhead while onshore in these conditions it will likely stall and fall possibly on the beach, very possibly over the powerlines. Kiters must keep their kites over the water to the south while standing onshore in such conditions. Launch with your kite closest to the water, keep it angled over the water and get into the water without delay. When landing have someone grab your kite as soon as it goes over the shore.

The powerlines are very close as is the roadway and traffic. Kiters will exercise great care to make sure their kite doesn't go over either one, EVER. When launching in easterly winds, the kiter is usually advised to stand near the roadway with his kite being held for launch near the water after careful preflighting. Do not bring your kite to the zenith or vertical after launch but bring it up to about 35 degrees or less and walk to place the kite over the water and into cleaner wind without delay. Do not stand onshore with your kite overhead, ride or land but don't loiter on the beach.

Downwind turbulence or rotor from a vertical object (trees, buildings, hills, etc.). Keep your kite (or airplane) out of rotor, in this case out over the water. This also explains why it is so hard to ride into shore or even launch in offshore winds. The rotor stalls and crashes your kite before you make it close to shore. From:

Looking west down Smathers during a permitted large kiteboarding competition. Kites on the beach are normally kept much further west. Note the kite in the distance. You want the kite over the water particularly in easterly winds. Disturbed wind over the land might drop it right onto the powerlines, so keep kites to seaward.

Boards is by the water, launch with kite to seaward, keep the kite low and over the water, walk down pick up the board and go. If you need to stand on the shore for a short time, this is a way to do it.

Note the concrete day marks at regular intervals about 600 ft. off the beach. Kiters should not monopolize the calm water inside but ideally should ride through in rotation to allow fair access. DO NOT jump close to or upwind of bystanders. Do not overfly bystanders standing on the beach.

* The "concrete posts" are now timber posts.
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 09-10-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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