Please find a list of basic safety tips below. This list is by no means exhaustive so if you have any questions that are not addressed here, please get in touch.
Lessons: Always get a full suite of lessons at an IKSA recognised school before taking up kite surfing. These lessons should cover at least 12 full hours of training. Getting qualified, experienced instruction is a must for anybody getting into kitesurfing. Lessons not only teach you the fundamentals of the sport to get you on your way to becoming an independent kiter, but will also save you hours of frustration.
Conditions: Always check the conditions are suitable for your particular level. If you are unsure – do not go out! Where possible, talk to local kite surfers if you are unfamiliar with the beach as their local knowledge will be invaluable. Stay aware of the changing weather patterns and look for signs of change when you're on the water - it may be time to take a break to let squalls pass.
Size Matters!: Sorry boys but contrary to popular believe size DOES matter, well in this case anyway. Always use the correct size kite suitable for you and the conditions of the day. If you are unsure, ask other riders for advice.
Where to kite?: Always observe the zoned areas for launching and landing and respect the local regulations. If you are unsure, please ask other riders, beach users or local officials.
Kite surfing alone: Don’t kite surf alone. If this is not possible always make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return. But remember, if others are not going out there is probably a very good reason. Stay safe.
Respect others, be polite & be an ambassador.
The general public and media love to watch and question us. In our rapidly increasing sport, we do not want to leave a bad impression on anyone. It is up to all kitesurfers, of every level, to represent our sport correctly. Don’t curse out another kiter. There is sometimes a need to talk to someone who is being dangerous or acting stupidly, but the first person you curse out will be the only person around next time you have a breakdown two miles out. We need to support and help each other.
Beach etiquette: Always wrap up your lines when they are not being used. Leaving your lines laid out causes difficulties for other kitesurfers when launching and landing but is also hazardous to members of the public. Always make sure that your kite is properly secured and consider that wind speeds may increase - add more weight/sand that you think you need just to be extra sure.
Launching & Landing: Where relevant, stick to the launch and land zones. Do not ask or allow someone who is not familiar with kites to help you launch or land. Members of the public have no idea of the power of the kite and associated risks. Self-launching or landing is not recommended, and while is it a useful skill to have, it's always much safer to ask for another kiters assistance when launching or landing your kite.
Equipment: Test your quick release before each session and make sure it is clear from debris and foreign objects. Don’t launch an under-inflated or leaking kite as an under-inflated kite is much more difficult to control.
In case of lost equipment: Please remember, if you ditch a kite or loose a board, to let the coast guard know (not on 999/112 unless a real emergency) in case they scramble the troops looking for someone in trouble. Irish Coast Guard contact information
Check and double check your lines: If you are unsure, ask someone else to check they have been attached correctly. If rigged incorrectly it will seriously affect control and could be dangerous to you and other beach users. If you are assisting a launch for someone, please also ensure that you are happy that everything is in order, that they are safely launching at the edge of the wind window, that lines are correctly attached and untangled, and that their bar is de-powered.
Far Out (Dude): Never ride out further than you can swim comfortably back to shore. Assume that today will be the day you get to swim in from the farthest point out you go as equipment failure while rare these days, does happen.
Always assume that a crashed kite will relaunch unexpectedly.
Here's a link to a great article on the Top 10 Things Your Kiteboarding Instructor May Not Have Taught You, it's well worth a read!