How To Stay Safe When Kiteboarding Alone
How to stay safe when kiteboarding alone is important if you’re someone looking to catch that early wind in the morning. Particularly in the Tampa Bay area, if there’s wind, you’ll find at least one other kiteboarder at the Skyway Bridge or other local spots. But, on the off chance you are alone, here are a few things to keep in mind to keep you safe.
Make sure to check the conditions! One of the first things you’ll learn in an IKO lesson is SEA. This acronym is extra important if you’re going to be on your own. Make sure there’s consistent wind and that the wind isn’t going to make a drastic direction change. Check the local radar map to be sure there’s no storms in the area and that there is no potential of storms forming later on in the area you plan to ride. Always be cognizant, especially in Florida, because storms do appear and strengthen quickly. If you see a storm or do not feel right about the conditions then wait for someone else to come out or don’t go out at all. Trust your instincts and know your limits.
Always plan for the worst thing to happen. If something were to happen like equipment malfunction, do you know how to perform a self rescue? If not how are you going to get out of the situation you’re in? Even if you do know how to self rescue, are you in an area where you can drift or sail back to land? Are there other people around that can assist you if something does go wrong? If there are people around, talk to them before you go out and see if they are willing to help in the case of an emergency. If they are willing to help, never assume they will know what to do – take the time to educate them on the proper tactics and techniques to assist you as to not injure you or themselves in the process.
The older your gear is, more than three years old or over 100 hours, the more often you should check your gear. Start off with checking your safety system off the water, push away your release and pull the flag line through making sure it effortlessly flows through your bar. Reattach the bar and check your trim system and the parts and pieces surrounding it. Walk out the lines making sure there are no knots or weak parts in the lines. Check the kite for any pinholes in the canopy. Go through the bridle lines and make sure there are no weak points in the bridle lines. If your system is quipped with pulleys in the bridle, be sure to check the line where the pulleys are thoroughly.
If you’re going to kite early in the morning or there is nobody else on the water, contact a friend or family member to let them know you’re going out kiteboarding and that you’ll contact them when you’re back off the water. This way someone knows where you are and can be accountable for you.
Know Your Limits
If you’re by yourself, don’t try anything new that could hurt you. Be careful and make decisions that will minimize your risk of injury. Learning new tricks in shallow water when nobody else is around is a very bad idea.
In summary, if you are kiteboarding alone, safety is key. Being aware of your conditions, your gear and communicating with people off the water – this will help keep you safe. If you are unsure or have a bad feeling, then don’t go. Wait for someone else to get there or have a friend that knows how to help come to assist you. Kiteboarding can be dangerous if poor decisions are made so be smart, learn the proper techniques and make good decisions!