Six Tips To Help You Avoid Kitesurfing Accidents

July 1, 2009

Many outdoor enthusiasts looking for thrilling and challenging ways to spend their leisure time find excitement in sports like kitesurfing. In kitesurfing, the rider, standing on a small surf board , uses a kite to harness wind power to move through the water. While people around the world have attempted to utilize kites for motion for centuries, kitesurfing as a sport did not develop until the 1990s. By 1998, kitesurfing had become a mainstream sport, with schools opening to teach it and a competition held in Maui, Hawaii.   Kitesurfing has also become a popular activity offered at beachfront resorts, and cruise ship on-shore excursions.

While fun and exciting, kitesurfing can be a very dangerous sport and requires extensive training and supervision in order to be done properly and safely. Powerful kites are vulnerable to sudden wind gusts, known as lofts, which can carry riders off into the air and slam them against the water, ground, buildings, or power lines. There is also a risk of collision between a rider and other kitesurfers, beachgoers, swimmers, other bystanders, and boaters. Since a skillful rider may be kitesurfing at speeds of up to 50 km/h, a collision can be catastrophic and even fatal. Because of the speeds and wind forces experienced during kitesurfing, accidents can often result in broken bones.  Despite the many possible safety precautions, according to Kitesurfingschool.org, of 105 accident reports in their database, 54% resulted in moderate or serious injury, and 13% were fatal. Most accidents occur due to operator inexperience and lack of training.

With the potential for kitesurfing accidents so real, it’s important to be aware of precautions you can take to prevent harmful kitesurfing accidents:

  1. Never harness yourself to a Kite sail until you have received the proper supervision and training. 
  2. Ensure that your equipment has a functioning safety release system that allows you to disable the kite at any moment.
  3. Check your equipment thoroughly before surfing.
  4. Avoid kitesurfing near power lines and airports. If there is a strong offshore wind or stormy weather, it’s wise to stay out of the water until conditions improve.
  5. Kitesurf in water with plenty of open space, keeping away from crowded beaches downwind.
  6. Also, if you are taking part in kitesurfing through a vendor at a resort or cruise ship, make sure you read the fine print of any contract you sign.  You may be releasing the vendor from responsibility for their negligence in failing to properly train and supervise your kitesurfing.

If you are involved in a serious accident while kitesurfing, or have been injured by a kitesurfer, you may be entitled to file a legal claim to receive compensation for your injuries. Immediately after the accident, you should take detailed notes describing what exactly happened, who was involved, the names of any witnesses, and what injuries you sustained. Preserve as much evidence as possible including the kitesurfing equipment and any failed parts – you will need it later. Obtain a police report summarizing what occurred.

If you suffered any kind of serious injury as a result of any kitesurfing accidents, you should consult an experienced boating accident attorney, who can help you navigate the complex legal issues surrounding maritime and boating accidents and receive the compensation you are due under the law.

For more information about kitesurfing accidents or other boating accidents in Florida, contact Florida boating accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.


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