Kitesurf Code of Conduct
VOLUNTARY CODE OF CONDUCT
Many people use the beaches and water around the Exe Estuary for a variety of activities and kiteboarding can be potentially hazardous unless certain precautions have been taken. This voluntary Code of Conduct has been developed in association with the Exe Estuary Management Partnership and is based on common sense and co-operation.
Kiteboarding must never be attempted unless you are a competent swimmer, hold third party insurance and have undertaken proper lessons from an IKO qualified instructor
Exe Estuary Kiteboarding Sites
There are two kiteboarding sites in Exmouth. Kiteboarders MUST have third party insurance before riding at either of them.
- The seafront is not for beginners Kiteboarders wishing to ride the front must be competent and able to stay upwind. There is a voluntary launch area opposite the Queens Road car park and along from the green number 11 buoy. The front should only be used to launch/land and never to practice land-based flying skills, especially jumping.
- The duckpond is for everyone offering a large riding area where you can be pretty sure you are going to be within your depth, but always check the water is deep enough to avoid injury when falling. The duckpond can be used in most conditions; learners should arrive early, launch on the sand, and avoid kiting at high tide unless able to stay upwind.
- Be sure that you can handle the prevailing weather conditions and never sail in offshore winds If in doubt don't go out
- The upwind rider gives way to the downwind rider.
- The rider on the port tack gives way the rider on starboard tack.
- Kiteboarders using the seafront should give way to other water users and retreat to a safe zone outside of the navigational channel when other craft approach.
- The seafront can get exceptionally busy both on the beach and in the water. No matter how competent you are, or good the conditions look, never risk the safety of others If in doubt don't go out
- Always maintain a 75-metre downwind safety zone between yourself and other craft. In the event of coming into conflict with other water users stabilise your kite at 12 o'clock.
- Never kiteboard within 75-metres upwind of any moored vessel.
- Never kiteboard in or near to the bathing areas and swimmers, buoys and boat moorings.
- Never practice jumping on land or close to the beach.
- When returning to the beach, give way to riders who are launching.
- Check the local weather conditions before riding and ensure you fully understand the tidal currents and how they might affect the riding area. The currents off Exmouth seafront can be more like a fast flowing river and are potentially dangerous.
- If you lose your kite or board whilst on the water, always report you are safe to the rescue services so they do not waste time and money looking for you. It is recommended that you write your name, address and contact number on all your equipment.
- Always keep your lines away from people, animals and craft on land or water. Do not leave your equipment unattended on the beach and be polite to other beach users.
- Always act in a responsible manner. If new or careless riders show up, talk to them with your friends about what's at risk. Take the time to explain how to safely get into the sport, and where to obtain adequate and professional instruction.
- Under no circumstances should you kiteboard at dusk or in a fading light.
- All manufacturers instructions and safety guidelines must be read and followed, in particular the limitations of the product.
- Equipment must be regularly checked for wear and tear and repaired before going out on the water. If in doubt seek advice from an authorised dealer, approved IKO instructor or more experienced local rider.
- Always check your equipment thoroughly and ensure your kite is properly inflated. An under inflated kite is difficult to control and harder to re-launch from water.
- Always use an effective kite leash and safety system so you can kill your kite instantly in the event of an emergency.
- Never tether yourself to the kite with a closed system. Only use quick release harness systems and practice activating such systems under tension.
- Carry a knife that is capable to easily cut the heaviest flying line you are using.
- Always wear a helmet and particularly if using a board leash
- Do not lay lines across the path of other beach users and never launch in crowded areas.
- Select a safe launch site and allow enough space for any difficulties you may get into. If it's possible, have a friend help you.
- Never ask an inexperienced member of the public to assist.
- Extra care should be taken when the beach is busy. On occasions, it might be too busy to launch safely unless a specific launch area is in operation.
- Prevent kites from re-launching with sand (or other ballast) to weigh them down and ensure that sand will not be dropped on other beach users when self-launching.
- Fully disable unattended kites and return your lines to the kite so you don't cause inconvenience to other beach users.
- Look out for riders returning to shore and be ready to help land their kites.
- Never kiteboard in congested areas with swimmers, boats, other craft or obstacles.
- If you ride alone let someone know you are out and what time you expect to return.
- Always maintain a downwind safety zone especially when jumping. Look before you jump.
- Never ride so far away from the shore that you cannot swim back in an emergency.
- All riders should be familiar with rescue signals and practice self-rescue pack down manoeuvres when undergoing kiteboarding instruction with qualified IKO instructors.
- If you need to swim kill the power in your kite, wind the lines onto the bar and deflate the leading edge.
Dawlish Warren is a National Nature Reserve and has a Guide for Water Users. Kiteboarders are asked to follow this voluntary code and observe Nature Reserve byelaws.
If you are interested in Kiteboarding on the Exe Estuary or need advice then please call into one of the local shops; who hold a list of IKO approved instructors and membership forms to join the British Kitesurfing Association and Exe Kiteboarders.