Kiteboarding safety equipment is part and parcel of safe participation on this sport. Safety equipment is what you take with you, on your kiteboarding voyage.
Because when you get into trouble it is too late to go back and get it. Most people think of safety gear as the helmet, Lifejacket, and the like, but there is a lot more than that. What other gear should every kiter take with them?
Each kiteboarder should carry a safety cutter, also called a kite knife.
Kite knife is a vital part of your gear, because you do not have control over your lines without it. There are any number of situations where you might need your knife. Your lines get wrapped around you, your lines get wrapped around someone else, your lines get stuck on something, like the reef a jetty or something on the sea floor, what if your kite gets stuck in the tip or a tall tree, you might need your knife for any of these. Also in the ocean and water environment you might encounter fishing lines, fishing nets, either is active use, or floating around as flotsam (floating trash). Fishing line can be very tough to break or cut without a knife, and kite line even more so.
Also the life you save may be someone else’s. There are times when another kiter is in trouble and you might be called upon to assist them. They may need a timely intervention and someone with a knife.
People have been drowned for want of a kite knife, and many injuries and accidents could have been avoided or mitigated if a knife was available.
Don’t laugh, but this is becoming a common safety item. A cell phone is a waterproof pouch can save lives. Who is going to come and save you if they do not know you are in trouble? A call from a cell phone can summon help faster than swimming to shore. What if your kite goes down and you are far from shore, the water cold and it is getting dark?
Simply make a call and get the rescue started. Some locations the use of a waterproofed cell phone is normal practice. More waterproof cell phones are becoming available so this is also another good option. Waterproof radios UHF and VHF are available for boaters and will work well in outdoor environments that are out of cell phone range.
Your phone Number on your Board and Kite:
This is a life saver, and it has proven itself over and over again. Simple putting your phone number on your kite/board will get help in an emergency. Everyday people find boards/kites floating unattended in the water. This means that someone is in trouble. It is a vital lifesaving tip. Even a rental board should have the phone number of the company on it so when you lose it someone can call the shop and tell them they found a board, and then they can start a search and rescue mission.
A wetsuit when needed:
Being tough and just shrugging off the cold, is not smart. Always wear the appropriate wetsuit for the temperature. You might think that you are ok when you go for a short session, and you wont be too cold for too long. But think “worst case scenario” alone and drifting, without help for an extended period of time, perhaps overnight. What is your survival time in the water with or without your wetsuit. This has nothing to do with your skill level, but it has everything to do with your physical limitations and a human. If you get too cold you risk hypothermia and maybe death. A wetsuit is a part of your safety gear.
Your Kite Leash:
This is probably the most overlooked piece of safety gear. Your kite leash is a safety device for you and it also protects the general public as well. When you use your kite-leash, you have many more options that without one. You have the chance to release your kite bar and still keep attached to the kite. This means that is a severe situation you kite won’t become a hazard to other kiters and bystanders, but it also means that you are still attached to the best life raft, and rescue boat , and visual signaling device. Your kite can give you floatation, a way to get back to shore (self-rescue), and it is much more visible than just a small little head swimming in a big ocean. Your kite can literally save your life, but not if you let go of it. Unless someone finds your lose kite and reads your emergency phone number (see previous paragraph). Kite leashes can also act a tow ropes, and a way to secure your gear in a full pack-down procedure, and also can function as a tourniquet, should you or someone else get a deep severe cut/trauma resulting in rapid blood loss. Your kite leash is a very very important piece of safety gear.
These are just a few examples of safety gear, that you should take with you, there are many more possibilities to be sure. Think about your safety gear before your next session and be sure to take it along with you so your next session doesn’t also be your last.