Is kiteboarding dangerous? Risks and 6 safety tips for practicing it

As kiteboarding instructors, we have heard on numerous occasions the phrase, “I would like to learn, but I’m afraid of being blown away.” Sometimes due to lack of knowledge or insufficient information, kiteboarding may seem like a dangerous sport to some people.

We can confidently state that kiteboarding is a safe sport, just like skiing or rollerblading can be. By following basic safety guidelines and exercising caution and common sense, the potential risks can be minimized. However, there are certain aspects that we are going to discuss that you should take into account in order to feel completely at ease and embark on this sport, focusing solely on enjoying it. We are sure that once you give it a try, you will want to do it again.

Choosing a school that ensures your safety

is kitesurfing dangerousIs kiteboarding dangerous or not? If you have no previous experience, it is crucial to take a course at a school to learn the basic concepts and start gaining good control of the kite both on land and in the water under the supervision of a professional. We strongly discourage learning from a friend who knows how to kiteboard for the following reasons:

  • Liability and accident insurance: Despite taking all precautions, the risk of accidents is always present. The school should have liability and accident insurance coverage.
  • Equipment and gear: A professional instructor has equipment specifically designed for teaching. When you go to a professional school, you ensure that you are learning with good equipment. Make sure that the gear is renewed annually and in the best possible condition.
  • Safety devices and emergency plans: Professional schools have safety devices and emergency plans in place to minimize risks. Your instructor not only observes, analyzes, and teaches you, but they are also coordinated with rescue boats and evacuation services.
  • Monitoring weather conditions: A good school constantly assesses environmental conditions and will immediately interrupt or cancel classes if they are not suitable or pose risks. A professional instructor should have a thorough understanding of the environment, winds, and be trained to anticipate potential accidents.
  • Proper preparation and methodology: Before venturing into the water, it is essential that your instructor teaches you how to master the techniques of body dragging and self-rescue. Body dragging is a technique that allows you to retrieve your board or return to shore in any situation and is crucial for trying tricks or maneuvers without risks during your learning process. It will make you feel more confident and secure and will help you out of any predicament (although the ideal scenario is to avoid reaching that point). With highly experienced instructors, you will learn step by step in a safe and controlled manner, achieving goals quickly.

Other important safety factors

First of all, we should determine if our skill level is suitable for practicing according to the conditions present at any given moment. We need to take into account factors such as wind, waves, and obstacles, among others.

The wind

wind for a safe kiteboardingWhat is the appropriate wind for practicing kiteboarding safely? We should navigate with onshore wind, meaning wind blowing from the sea towards the shore, so that in case of an emergency, the wind itself can carry us back to the shore. If the wind is offshore, we must ensure that we have a means of rescue, such as a support boat, as is the case in Tarifa when the Levante wind blows.

The flow of the wind, gusty or steady We also need to consider whether there are obstacles (buildings, trees, etc.) upwind that can cause a change in the flow of the wind from steady to turbulent, creating gusts or even wind shadows where the wind completely disappears and leaves us adrift. Whenever possible, it is best to navigate in areas where the wind is clean.

wind for kiteboardingWe should always check the wind forecast before entering the water and take into account whether it will increase, decrease, change direction, or if there are storms, etc. We can do this on the website

We should also be aware of the tide schedule, if applicable. With rocky bottoms, we should avoid low tide hours. We can check this on the website Tides4Fishing.

The kiteboarding spot

It is important to observe the spot where we want to practice. To do this, we should pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Identify and avoid obstacles both downwind and upwind, as we mentioned before. For example, in our case, Playa de los Lances is an ideal location as it is situated in an open space free from obstacles such as buildings or trees around.
  • Respect designated areas for swimmers or where sports practice is not allowed. At Playa de los Lances, the swimming area and the kiteboarding practice area are separated, thanks to its extensive 8km stretch.
    • Pay attention to signage and always respect other beach users.
    • Use common sense. If there is an area where all the kites are located and another area where no one is sailing, there must be a reason. Don’t take unnecessary risks by wanting to sail in an empty area.
    • Don’t hesitate to ask for help and advice from the locals, as they are usually willing to provide you with all the tips you need about the spot.
  • The beach should preferably have sandy shores and be free from rocks or obstacles that could cause impact in case of loss of control. Once again, Playa de los Lances meets these conditions.

Equipment and its condition

Safe equipment for kiteboardingKitesurfing equipment evolves every year in terms of performance, but also in terms of safety. Therefore, it is important to renew the equipment every few years as the safety systems become more advanced. That’s why we always recommend using models that are no more than 3-4 years old.

We should pay close attention to the condition of our equipment and perform regular maintenance. To do this, we should:

  • Check the condition of the lines on our bar and their trim settings. Kitesurfing safety device.
  • As for the kite, we should ensure that it does not lose air and inspect the overall condition of the fabric, looking for potential holes or deterioration in the seam joints.
  • Although the use of a vest and helmet is not mandatory, it is always recommended, as well as wearing booties in rocky or stony beaches.

We should have a thorough understanding of how the safety systems work and ensure that they are functioning properly.

  • Having a line cutter is always a good idea. It will help us in case of entanglements with the lines that could pose a risk. There are multifunctional options available on the market that not only include blades but also incorporate screwdrivers for fins and a powerful whistle to alert others in a risky situation.

Practice kiteboarding in company

It’s always more fun and, above all, safer to kiteboard with others. Your friends can come to your aid in case of an accident, and vice versa. If there’s no other option but to kiteboard alone, make sure to inform someone of your whereabouts and the time you plan to return.

Navigate with safety

  • We insist, do not enter the water if your conditions and skill level are not suitable for the current sea or wind conditions. Always observe your surroundings and respect right-of-way rules.
  • Maintain a minimum distance from other practitioners and increase this distance when performing maneuvers or jumps.
  • Don’t forget the importance of mastering body drag and self-rescue techniques.
  • Don’t exhaust yourself. Never push yourself to exhaustion, as you may encounter a problem and need extra energy to resolve it. Take breaks between sessions, protect yourself from the sun, and stay hydrated.

These are the main tips. If you still have any doubts regarding aspects related to your safety, don’t hesitate to contact our kiteboarding school. We will provide you with information without any obligation.

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