Kites have more manoeuvrability in the water than surfboards, and the rules of surfing are often inappropriate for kitesurfing. Follow these kitesurfing safety tips to increase your quality of kitesurfing (and/or life expectancy).
1. Thou shalt ride thy kite like a motorcycle.
The onus for safety is upon you and you alone, not other parties, at all times. Constant vigilance, avoid all hazards, and never assume the other guy knows “the rules” or can even see you. If you have never ridden a motorcycle, then you should learn that before you get into kitesurfing. Kitesurfing is more dangerous than riding a motorcycle. Its no good blaming others when you’re dead. This safety onus extends to public or private discussions about kitesurfing.
2. Thou shalt not assert thy “Rights” on the water.
The bottom line here is that kitesurfers must avoid each other. There are no “rights” in kitesurfing except in the sense you have the right (well, duty really) to kite safely. Its all very nice when others observe their set of surfing rules and you do likewise, but surfing rules can set up dangerous situations for youself and other kitesurfers for a variety of reasons. For example, you have no legal right to the unfortunately named “Right of Way”. “Right of Way” is a courtesy extended under some surfing code of etiquette that someone dreamt up long before kitesurfing, and which stared life under the traffic code. The misnomer “Right of Way” is inappropriately transferred to kitesurfing, particularly on waves, because kitesurfers’ access to waves is far superior to that of surfers. The “Right of Way” rule in surfing is obsoleted by the kitesurfing duty to avoid other kitesurfers. Moreover, kites are governed by the wind, not by the waves, so before this Right could have any merit at all (it doesn’t anyhow) then it should be that upwind kites have priority over downwind kites, regardless of who is closest to the break. Unless it’s a prescribed legal requirement of a kitesurfing license (no such thing as yet), “Right of Way” is a courtesy, not a right. More importantly, there are a plethora of reasons why a person will fail to observe your “Right of Way” - most infamously - the “I didn’t see the guy” reason that marks the tombstone of many a dead motorcyclist. Why would you bet your life that the other guy is going to see you, let alone observe your “Right of Way” ?
3. Thou shalt not go out on the water if thou art, or thou becomest, angry.
If you are a party to a kitesurfing rage incident in the water you are extremely vulnerable to serious and life threatening injury to yourself or others. If you are angry for any reason, get out of the water immediately. Focus on safely landing and securing your equipment as your number 1 priority, which might include locking your kite in your car, or even leaving the area. Then get rid of your anger before you even think about going out again. If you are a victim, don’t add any more energy to the situation, except to leave it.