kitesurfing etiquette

So you’re finally up and riding both up and downwind. Congratulations! However, now that you’re not just crashing along the shoreline it’s time to learn the rules of engagement. All too often new riders will just take for granted that all other riders will stay out of their way- and to be fair even in a crowded bay like Kite Beach most riders are considerate of beginners and avoid the school kites and helmeted riders at all costs.

However, the time will come when you’re considered an ‘intermediate’ rider and you’ll need to learn the rules of engagement so as to avoid being ‘that guy’ that everyone complains about at happy hour.

We’ve listed some of the most basic rules below as they apply specifically to Kite Beach for you to keep in mind next time you have 3 riders coming at you and a beginner with lines down ‘dead bug-ing’ it right in front of you.

RIGHT OF WAY RULES

Avoid collisions at all costs #1 Don’t be stupid and use good sense- even if you have right of way, you must act prudently to avoid an accident. It’s better to be safe than right.
The incoming Kiter gives way to the outgoing kiter who is launching. Situation: one kite is launching and ready to leave the beach, and another kiter wants to come in and land at the same time.The incoming kiter should turn around and go back out for another tack, while the launching kiter gets off the beach
The upwind kiteboarder gives way to the downwind kiteboarder. Situation: two kiters are on the same tack and their paths will cross. Usually the upwind kiter is not pointing as high as the downwind kiter.The downwind kiter has right of way, so they should continue to ride in the same direction and speed, the upwind kiter must give way, by altering direction or speed, usually slowing and going behind the other kiter.
The kiteboarder on port (left, between 9 & 12) tack gives way to the kiteboarder on starboard (right side, between 12 & 3) tack. Situation: You meet another Kiter head on, and you are both on opposite tacks.If your kite is the one between 9 & 12 (upwind on Kite Beach) slow down or alter your course, allowing the kiter with their kite on the right to maintain course.
When crossing close to another kiter, the upwind kiter keeps his kite high,and the downwind kiter keeps his kite low. Situation: You are riding on the opposite tack from another rider, you are close but but you will miss each other.The kiter passing upwind raises their kite, and the downwind kite lowers their kite. Do not move your kite to the point where you will change speed or alter course significantly.
Do not jump when you are upwind of another kiter. Situation: When you are preparing to jump, close to other kiters and your jump will take you near to, or into the path of another kiter or their gear.Keep in mind your jump may not go as planned, you go wipeout, or go higher and further than you planned or the other kiter could change course or act unexpectedly- so give yourself more room than you think you’ll need
Look in all directions (including up) before you turn or jump. Keep a proper lookout at all times. Do not ride close to other riders, they could turn unexpectedly. Look in all directions ahead, behind, upwind, downwind, and straight up!

 

WAVE RIDING RULES

The outgoing kiteboarder gives way to the incoming kiteboarder. Situation: When riding out through the surf you are going to cross paths with the incoming kiter on the wave.The outgoing kiter should avoid riding out through the peak (wave riding zone). If you cannot go around the zone, then you must either stop, steer around, or go the other way to avoid the kiter riding the wave. Don’t ruin their ride!
The first kiteboarder to catch a wave, has the wave. Situation: two kites are trying to catch the same wave.The kiter on the wave first continues to ride the wave, the other kiter can go back out, or kick out ahead of the wave to let the other kiter ride through-either upwind or downwind, it is their choice.
Where two kiteboarders catch the wave at the same time, the kiteboarder closest to the peak has the wave. Situation: When two kiters catch the same wave at the same time.What to do: The kiter riding closest to the peak (the part of the crest the breaks first. Then as the wave progresses it is the tallest and steepest part of the wave between the open face of the wave and the whitewater)should ride the rave. The other kiter that is farther out on the shoulder should keep clear, or get off the wave.When in doubt, the upwind rider has the wave.

List of Rules adapted from http://mauikiteboardingassociation.com/kiteboarding_right-of-way_rules.html

We hope that these guidelines will help you to eliminate some of the confusion in the free for all that is Kite Beach. Obviously, not everyone follows or even knows the rules, but by understanding them you’ll get a better idea of how to be a safe and conscientious rider. See you on the water!

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