Sharing the Lake ( A WORK IN PROGESS)

Safety issues for windsurfers, kiters and bystanders.

Windsurfing Near Kiters
Although most windsurfers may never try kitesurfing, all windsurfers need to be aware of kiters for their own safety. Whether you like or dislike the new sport, it is important that we each know a little bit about it to keep people from getting hurt. Here are a few guidelines (pardon the pun) to keep in mind.

Don’t touch the Kite Lines. Kite strings for kitesurfing are very strong. They have at least a 500 lb. breaking strength, and are capable of cutting skin. The power that a kite has is incredible, like a fully sheeted in sail, or a power boat. You don’t want to get tangled in the lines. This is also important if the lines are slack, because a kite can suddenly catch wind and turn the spaghetti lines into the taught lines of a water-ski boat.

Stay Clear of Run-away Kites. If you see a kite blowing down wind, on the water or on land, stay well clear of it, and keep in mind that there will be kite lines being dragged behind the kite, which can grab unsuspecting victims. These two rules will probably keep you out of trouble as a bystander. Following are a few important issues with kites that may also interest you.

Stay Clear of Kiters in the Water. If you see a kitesurfer in the water, be aware that the lines to their kite can reach 100ft in any direction and that the kite could re-launch at any time. Give them room. If a kiter in the water has the kite straight up in the air and seems to be holding it there AND cleary sees you, then and only then would it be ok to sail closer than 100 ft. If at all possible stay upwind of the kiter.

Rescuing a Kitesurfer: Don’t rescue kite surfers!. Although this is easy to say, it may prove hard to do when someone is in obvious need. If a kite surfer is waving his or her arms in the distress signal, this may be a time to approach with caution, keeping in mind where the kite may be. Ask the kitesurfer (from a distance) where the kite is before approaching to determine your next move, all the time referring back to rule #1: DON’T TOUCH THE KITE LINES. The kitesurfer may ask for a few minutes to wind in the lines before you give him/her assistance.


Kiting near Windsurfers
The burden of proof is upon us kiters. Windsurfing, swimming and hanging out at the beach are established activities in Minnesota and coexist pretty well together. How well Kiting integrates will be up to those entering the sport. If we blow it, we may get banned. Kiting has the potential to be more dangerous to bystanders than almost any other sport. Here are some basic rules to follow:

Avoid launching near windsurfers. Go upwind or downwind.
Launch downwind of windsurfers.
Keep a good distance from other sailors. You may think you have complete control, though the wind is always inconsistent and quite frankly kites scare people.
Do not expect anyone to launch or land your kite. If you haven’t identified someone ahead of time, do not come to shore and expect someone to grab your kite. Most people wouldn’t know how and shouldn’t try.
If you are underpowered, or overpowered and approaching a congested area on the water. Park the kite in the neutral position and let the congestion clear out.
If you see another kiter doing something clearly dangerous to others, take it upon yourself to educate them. If they don’t listen, cut their lines.

Only push yourself to the next level ( new trick, higher wind, new gear etc. ) when in a safe zone, i.e. no bystanders/sailors nearby and educated assistence on hand if needed.
If you’re just learning, choose an area free of windsurfers and swimmers.
If, or rather, when you end up downwind, respect the people and property where you come off the water.

For those interested in Kiting:
1.Take a lesson, and consult experienced kitesurfers.
2. Watch a video. There are already a few good learning videos out there, which can be a big help in learning.
3. Learn to fly a trainer kite on land before attempting a full-sized one. Trainers are about 2 square meters, so are much easier to handle and cost about $100 to $200. You really should get the trainer wired before thinking about launching a full sized kite.
4. Have a spotter when launching a full sized kite. You seriously may need someone to hold on to you. I am not joking here.
5. Learn to fly a full sized kite on a light wind day. The ideal location is in shallow water (knee to waist deep) where there are no hazards downwind, like people, wires, buildings, boats etc.. Keep in mind that when learning you most likely will be dragged downwind for a while, so plan for it. Dragging on water, sand or grass is a lot more comfortable than dragging over boulders, uneven ground, or pavement. If you decide to fly the kite in the water, wear a wetsuit, and a life preserver. You may end up spending some time organizing your gear and/or swimming in.
6. If or when you are finally ready to actually try kitesurfing with a board, find a location where there are no hazards (OR PEOPLE) downwind. You most likely will be exiting the water downwind from where you started. Choose a light wind day, wear a life preserver, and a warmer wetsuit than you would for windsurfing (you will be in the water more).

( original copy from Windance)