The KiTE, SURF & SUP Co. Safety Tips
Kitesurfing is potentially a dangerous sport. Follow our safety tips to keep yourself and others around you safe whilst learning and progressing at kitesurfing:
1. Take a course of lessons to learn kitesurfing at a BKSA recognised kite school. Ask your instructor for advice on what equipment will be suitable for you to purchase to learn and progress on.
BKSA Kite Schools in the Brighton and Worthing area are, from West to East:
Learn to Kitesurf, Goring
The KiTE, SURF & SUP Co. School, Worthing
Brighton Kitesurf and SUP Academy, Lancing
BN1 Kitesurfing, Lancing
2. Wear a Helmet
3. Only kite in side shore, cross on shore or on shore winds (dead onshore being the least preferable as you will end up back on the beach very quickly) and be careful about the strength of wind that you are going kitesurfing in. When you have only just completed your kitesurfing course you are a bit like a 'P' plate driver who has just passed their driving test, you need to get some hours and practice under your belt before attempting to go kitesurfing in stronger winds. Stick to light to medium winds until you feel more confident, 12 - 20 knots is perfect.
4. Use a kite size that is suitable for your weight and the wind strength. This is very important. It is dangerous to launch a kite that is too big for the wind conditions and you could seriously injure yourself if you do that. Look at real time readings at live weather stations such as Windguru Lancing Sailing Club and Worthing Pier Observatory
Forecasts are helpful, but you should always establish what strength the wind is actually blowing before going out. Speak to other kitesurfers at the beach and check what size kites they are on. Our favourite forecast websites are: Windguru Worthing and Met Office Worthing (Beach)
5. Launch your kite at the edge of the wind window and always choose to launch the kite on the water side of the wind window. If you don't know what this means, take some lessons, you need to be clear on this!
6. Do not launch your kite between wooden groynes or rock groynes, or close to any down wind object. You should be two kite lines length away from any down wind object. The reason for this is down wind objects are what are going to cause you serious injury if you lose control of your kite during the launch and get pulled down wind. The more distance you have down wind if your kite launch does go wrong, before hitting a solid object, the more chance you have of getting your hand on to the safety system and releasing it before getting dragged in to a solid object and getting injured.
7. Check that your chicken loop safety release works before every session. Release it and then re load it before each session. Also generally keep an eye on your kite and kite lines for signs of wear and tear. Replace worn kites lines or have repaired worn or damaged areas on your kite.
8. Kite in the window 3 hours before to 3 hours after low tide. This applies to most south coast beaches such as Shoreham, Lancing and East Worthing.
Here is a helpful Worthing Beach tide timetable
9. Kite at a beach where there are other kitesurfers kiting. Also set up next to the other kite surfers that are kiting, so that there are more people around to help you launch and then land your kite. There really is safety in numbers, especially for launching and landing, in kitesurfing.
10. Learn your right of way rules. And generally give other kite surfers plenty of space on the water, that means leave lots of space down wind of you to the next kite. If you are upwind of another kite think 'Could my kite strike that kite or person below me?' and if so move and create space downwind of you, likewise stay out of the 'strike zone' when you are downwind of another persons kite, if their kite could hit you if they crashed it then you are too close. Crossed kite lines caused by kite crashes are dangerous and not fun. Here are the essential rules:
Right hand forward (Starboard tack) has right of way over left hand forward (Port tack)
Upwind board gives way to downwind board (on the same tack)
Over taking board keeps clear of the board they are over taking (on the same tack)
A kitesurfer recovering in the water (i.e. not travelling on their board) has right of way over a kitesurfer travelling along on their board.
Avoid a collision at all costs!