Kitesurfing Code Of Conduct

Important ways not to kill anyone or get sued

Welcome to the official guide for kitesurfing in Guernsey.

This website is run by a group of local kitesurf enthusiasts who realised that Guernsey is a truly incredible place to kitesurf, and that we all have a part to play in keeping it that way.

Kitesurfing can be dangerous, and the bays around our Island are particularly small and present a number of hazards; big rocks, bigger tides, currents, often gusty winds are all things you need to have a deep understanding of each time you launch.

You are a potential 50m diameter of terror if you f*ck up, and this is the biggest responsibility you have to carry.

However it’s even more important to realise the type of risks you yourself present as a kiter, to other beach goers and recreational water users. You are a potential 50m diameter of terror if you f*ck up, and this is the biggest responsibility you have to carry.

Rules are tedious, but most of the below can be summed up very simply. Respect other water users and beach goers.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s the kitesurfer’s responsibility to be 100% aware of safety at all times when kiting. This responsibility begins with 3rd party liability insurance which is available through the BKSA. The cover through the BKSA is worldwide. Please click on the link above and get yourself hooked up – then head out and have fun.

Image Credit: Dana

Image Credit: Dana (via www.facebook.com)

 Before you Launch

  • Get lessons – you can learn abroad or hop on the boat to Jersey to see our friends at Windmadness.com. This is not a negotiable one, and the reasons are too numerous to list… Get lessons or you will die or kill someone… or both.
  • Wear a helmet – there is alot of debate about this – but at the end of the day it is much easier not to drown if you are conscious, and a lid does help with that. Do yourself (and everyone else) a favour. You won’t notice you’re wearing it after the first 10 seconds anyhow.
  • Before you launch make sure you have a clear space of at least 2 kite line lengths between yourself and the next person downwind of you on the beach, and the next solid object that is waiting to crush or disembowel you. And it’s a very good idea to check upwind that a child or a dog is not about to sprint into the death zone too – this happens a lot.
  • Learn to self-launch, and self-land safely – if you need to ask how – you’re not ready to be kiting on your own yet.
  • Maintain your stuff – depower ropes, kite and bridle lines, pulleys, kite canopies, quick release mechanisms all need to be checked. Imagine you’re sat in a plane, strapping on your parachute, waiting for a green-light. “Probably fine” is not good enough. Snapped lines have drowned people before, and sadly will again.
  • Be able to self-rescue, and understand all the principles of a deep water pack down. Again – if you have to ask, you ain’t ready yet.
  • Always try and kite in the same area as other kiters. If no-one else is out on the water it is strongly advised that you have a mate on the beach there to help launch and land your kite, or assist if things go pear shaped. If you have to kite on your own let someone know where you are and make sure they know when you’re expected back… Some of the guys here have a mobile phone in a waterproof case at all times which is an excellent idea.

Once The Kite Is Airborne

  • Don’t stand on the beach for even a second longer than you need to, get into the sea… Water is an awful lot softer than sand if you get lofted in a gust… Standing on the beach with a full size LEI is a pointless gamble, with constantly worsening odds.
  • Keep your kite around 45 degrees, not up at zenith, this will further reduce the chances of being lofted.
  • Kiters on a starboard tack have right of way over those on a port tack: This is not one that you’re going to need to get into a row about, but if there’s a situation developing with 2 kiters on a collision course, you need to know who should back off. It is also good to give a “Right this way” sort of hand signal if you intend to give way to ensure 100% that everyone knows the score.
  • When passing another kiter, upwind kite goes up, downwind kite goes down – this is flipping obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people mess it up, and wrap lines.
  • Just like skiing, if you can see someone’s back, it’s their right of way – expect them to do any number of mad things like sudden transitions, falling on their face or barefoot water skiing and screaming like a girl – be ready to react to this and give them all the space they need.
  • Stay 50m offshore and 50m away from other beach users… This one can be tricky because the best conditions are often closer in shore, and in the summer it can mean you are going to miss a session because there just isn’t a 50m patch of ocean to be seen. You may see more experienced kiters bending this rule a little a times, but if you are close enough to see the expression on someone’s face, you are basically harassing them… Please don’t do it.

And Finally…

SMILE, HOOT, SHOUT ENCOURAGEMENT – This is not f*cking golf!

Written by: Adam