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Old 08-07-2004, 08:25 AM
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Default Riding and Flying, FREE and at Will

The following is a reprint of an article from the latest issue of the magazine "Kiting" published by the AKA:

“Riding and Flying, FREE and At Will

Kiteboarding can be a very liberating, extreme sport. You throw yourself into it, after adequate preparation and safety considerations, to drive hard, fly high and long. The stoke of this sport is beyond compare and even addictive for many of us. In society though, with most great freedoms often comes responsibility to preserve that freedom. If you want the incredible stoke flung out in great gouts by this sport you have to take some care to protect your ability to ride. Kiteboarding sad to say, is NOT a God given constitutional right but can be easily lost.

Just like not landing your airplane on the highway, or respecting climbing rules in National Parks or waverunner operating restrictions in swimmer zones, if you wanna play you need to follow some reasonable practices and guidelines. If you don’t, you may well be shut down at some point.

Some kiteboarding restrictions have appeared in various areas. A few of these restrictions on access and riding are logical such as in the case of excessive beach crowding and should have been undertaken by riders, VOLUNTARILY before Big Brother stepped in. No one likes being overwhelmed by laws, if we use our head and fly at our sport responsibly, government should stay out of our way in most cases. Things like staying out of guarded swim areas while kiteboarding for instance when more thinly populated unguarded areas are present not so far away.

D I S T A N C E in kiteboarding can be a very good thing. It protects you the rider, bystanders and your ability to ride in many cases. If you don’t use distance you may be shredding more than just water, you may be shredding your ability to ride there in the long term. Being hooked on showing off to the crowd near the shoreline may well show you to the door and out of kiteboarding at your launch. Working things out with windsurfers in long term riding areas is a very good thing. Figuring out how to coexist is a is a more productive goal than promoting problems and rivalry through poor communication and indifference.

Consciously avoiding complaints and official concern are essential steps in protecting kiteboarding access in lots of areas. Many current restrictions started with complaints and repeated behaviors that gave substance to the complaints. Unfortunately, people often require to be “burned” to take a threat seriously as opposed to using the old noggin to dodge an obvious and avoidable threat in the first place. This trait has to have caused humanity a lot of heartache through the ages but there it is.

Concerned about kiteboarding FREE and at will for the long haul?

1. Do you see the basis for problems or complaints at your riding area?
2. Tactfully ask lifeguards, park rangers, bystanders if they see any problems or have complaints about kiteboarding on a periodic basis. Consider putting on kiting orientations for these public authorities, it may help them to manage and understand our sport a bit better.
3. If you see or hear about problems, figure out some reasonable solutions, gather the local kiteboarders including leading riders, shop owners, instructors, etc. and talk about what you folks have to lose and some means of keeping the good times flying. Once you decide on solutions, present them to the authorities and effectively promote them to local riders.
4. Promote kiteboarders to use D I S T A N C E. That is avoid guarded public beaches unless by prior agreement with the authorities in designated launch corridors. Also avoid annoying private homeowners in launch areas. Problems usually start with complaints.
5. Make sure that ALL kiteboarders use tested, function KITE depowering leashes. “Put a leash on that thing before it bites someone!”
6. Promote the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines** and other appropriate practices at your launch. This collection of ideas is intended to try to improve rider and bystander safety and minimize complaints and threats to access. Add in your own local guidelines as necessary.
7. Consider having get togethers or KiteNites to bring riders together, create a sense of “community” and spread ideas on how to keep the good times flying at your local launch. (Lack of such organization and sense of union could lead to problems a lot sooner than later)
8. Contact your local kiteboarding association for help. If you don’t have one or need one, think about starting one yourself. It all starts with putting two or more concerned riders together with a mind to protect access to ride. It doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, just effective!
9. Don’t let just one or two guys fall into the role of “kite cop.” These leaders are looking out for your access as well. There is strength in numbers, so when a rider needs to be set straight on what his riding practices are putting at risk, take your friends for best effect.
10. Many areas don't have problems but quite a few others do. Securing your access starts with identifying the problem in the first place and before things fly off too far south. So checkout things out at your local launches.
11. More ideas on preserving access appear at the AKA website at:

http://www.aka.kite.org/KiteBoarding.shtml
with more ideas at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=6098
** Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=11313

AKA Kiteboarding Committee
transcribed by:
Rick Iossi"

The magazine "Kiting", and other benefits come with $30. USD annual membership in the AKA. For more info or to join online visit: http://aka.kite.org
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Last edited by RickI; 06-20-2010 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:58 AM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Given the upcoming Kiteboarder Magazine podcast on kiteboarding access, I wanted to bring a few posts back up to the top.
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:13 AM
simon3994646 simon3994646 is offline
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Default Kite Safer & Sustainable

Rick Iossi,

you're doing a bloody brilliant job in creating awareness, educating and instructing kitesurfers on safe and responsible kiting. Well done! Keep it up.

Have you noticed how few (dare I say NONE) of the leading kite manufacturers show any interest, any responsibility, any effort to promote safe and responsible kitesurfing, at least through their websites?

I have written to one, Liquid Force, but I'm a lone voice. You represent an association of (possibly) a thousand or more 'voices'. Can you and I start a campaign to have all the leading kite manufacturers to have a KITESAFE button on their websites? with the specific recommendations about kiting safer and more responsibly?

What do you think - is it worth a try?


Simon
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:33 PM
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Thanks Simon,

Makes sense and very sincere apologies for the late reply. Usually see these things the same day! Have no clue what happened this time. I wrote this article in 2002 I think and that may have been a factor. I don't know if you are still interested or if more of the brands can be induced to show concern for this obvious issue today. Would hope so but there has been a lot of indifference since these ideas were first promoted about eight years ago. A few brands are very responsive but many are fairly indifferent.

Thanks!
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Last edited by RickI; 06-14-2011 at 07:12 PM.
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