KITESURFING STANDARD RULES AND CONDITIONS
1. The locations and sea area selected must
a. Be free and clear of any rocky coastal areas, islets, reefs, piers, buoys, fishing nets, or any other obstacles.
b. Be ample distances away from airports and especially airspaces used by planes for takeoff and landing. In such cases the minimum distances required are set per specific location and in accordance with rules set by the respective Airport Authorities.
c. Be a minimum distance of one (01) nautical mile away from ports, marinas, and fish farms. The distance may be reduced to five hundred (500) depending on the specific area, if deemed necessary by the respective Committee under Article #35, Hellenic Port Authority #20.
2. Kite surfers must be equipped with the following safety equipment
b. Harness, hook
c. Line Knife safety accessory suitable to cut lines
d. Wetsuits designed for temperatures for periods from October 15th to May 15th
e. Personal floatation device, buoyancy impact vest
f. Quick Release, Safety Leash accessory
g. Kite and Board retaining leashes - Lease system
3. Kite surfers must be extra careful when launching the kite from the shore so as to avoid any unintentional takeoffs.
4. Kite surfing is prohibited when
a. Individuals are less than sixteen (16) years of age and do not know how to swim properly. For minors, not less than fourteen (14) years of age, their participation is allowed only through:
(i) the consent of the parent/guardian in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code, who certifies that the child is qualified to swim; (ii) when a child is accompanied by the lessor or another person who is connected with him via a working relationship, at a distance no more than one hundred (100) meters from the windshield during its use. Only two (2) minors are allowed to be accompanied by the aforesaid person and they must follow the given instructions".
b. At beaches categorized as popular and heavily frequented
c. Prior to sunrise and after sunset hours
d. At open seas and less than two hundred (200) meters from anchored boats, markers denoting other underwater activities, rocky areas, islets, reefs, buoys, boaters, or any other obstacles.
e. When at piers, docks, fish farm tanks, and sea areas around them, as described in paragraph ¶1c of this Article.
f. During sever or adverse weather conditions.
g. Beyond one (01) nautical miles from the shoreline
h. An operator is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
i. Wind directions force the vessel towards open seas and lifeguards/authorized individuals equipped with a power operated vessel, are not present to assist in case of emergency.
j. Wind speeds are greater than seven (6) Beaufort and licensed lifeguards are not present along with a power operated/motorized vessel to assist recovery in case of emergency. Additionally, its use is prohibited when visibility is limited.
k. When distances are less than two hundred (200) meters from swimmers.
l. Proper Kite surfing licenses are not attained. Requirements for obtaining Kitesurfing licensing include
i. An established waterway, with a minimum length and width of one-hundred (100) meters and whose limits are clearly marked by yellow floating buoys, cone shaped on the right and cylinders on the left (as seen from shore) and set at three (3) meters apart from each yet not connected by rope.
ii. The launching area must be completely unobstructed from any objects and or individuals during the launch/take off procedure.
iii. The installation of two (2) permanent signs on both sides of the waterways’ entrances, and stating “WARNING -KITESURF TAKEOFF LAUNCH AREA” written in both the Greek and English language.
5. Licenses can be allocated simultaneously for kitesurfing and other recreational watercraft under the condition, that other R.W.C. cannot be leased simultaneously with the exception of Windsurfing activities.
6. Launching is allowed only when the launch area is free and clear from all individuals and any objects within a hundred (100) meter radius from the kitersurfer taking-off.
7. Kitesurfing is prohibited when less than Two Hundred (200) meters from the shoreline.
Note, at beaches where floating buoys designate swimmers limits, kitesurfing is allowed only when past such buoys.
8. The above terms and conditions in this article, with the exception of 4.l.i, 4.l.iii and 5, also apply such craft owned and operated for personal use.
Kite surfing, also known as kite boarding, is a relatively new thrill-seeker’s sport and is classified as an extreme sport. Like many water recreation hobbyists, kite surfers are trying to carve out their own spot on the water, to help minimise risks.
Kite surfing requires good technique and balance, but additionally requires maturity and foresight to be able to anticipate changes in wind and sea conditions, to judge distances accurately, and to be able to handle the equipment and fully understand the use of emergency release systems. It is essential that anyone who wishes to kite surf first take lessons with a qualified instructor from a recognised organisation such as the International Kiteboarding Organistion.
While kite surfing is not recommended for children or youth under 18 years of age, age requirements at this time vary from country to country, and youth can begin supervised, structured training that will help them develop into independent kitesurfers later.
It is important that you provide a large, safe launch and landing area and provide first-hand assistance. Collisions with rocks, boats, and structures along the shore account for a majority of injuries. Further risks also include injuries to bystanders, boaters and swimmers who cross into the path of a kite or the tow lines. Therefore it is extremely important that kite surfers have space enough to surf without obstacles.
Studies show that a majority of rescue situations are caused when the surfer loses control of the kite, yet can not release the kite from the harness. This emphasizes the importance of comfortable and easy to use release buttons, as well as practice using them.
Ligament injuries and fractures to the feet and ankles are the most common injuries, followed by head injuries, and chest and knee injuries.
Why kite surfing can be risky for children and youth
Younger riders may not have enough experience to predict changing wind conditions. Tourists and non-local residents will especially have more difficulty “reading” the signs from the sky and the water. They may also not possess the judgment to handle an emergency situation properly. It is important that rental providers take whatever precautions they can beforehand to create a safe environment.
Recommendations for kite surf rental and operation
● If you can not walk backwards on the shore when the kite is flying, the wind is too strong.
● A minimum age of 18 is recommended.
● Surfers should have previous adequate training which they can demonstrate by answering questions regarding techniques and rules and also by a practical supervised demonstration.
● Record the names, home address and local contact information for each surfer.
● First time surfers should be given training from an approved program such as those available from International Kiteboarding Organisation. Rentals should only be made available to those with the experience equivalent to an IKO level 2.
● Use of a personal flotation device (PFD) should be required.
● No person who has consumed alcohol should be permitted to kite surf.
● All kite surfers should wear a helmet. It is also recommended riders carry a line cutting knife in order to free themselves if they become entangled in the lines. Kitesurfers should be instructed in the following:
● Never launch or ride within 60 metres upwind of bystanders or objects.
● Avoid offshore and onshore winds.
● Never wait for a squall to develop to land the kite, land at first sight of wind trouble or bad weather.
Be aware that most kite surfing
injuries occur during launching and
landing, and are more likely
to occur on land than in the water.
● Practice emergency scenarios to improve critical reaction time in an emergency. Surfers should become very familiar with the quick release harness and other emergency safety features.
● If a kite lands in water, be cautious to avoid entanglement in the ropes.
● Be cautious with a landed or tangled kite, they can relaunch unexpectedly.
What safety factors to look for in choosing equipment for your operation
Because this sport is still so new, modifications to the technology are being made regularly. Quick release mechanisms are standard on new kites and when deployed correctly will reduce the power in the kite significantly, thereby reducing risks to kitesurfers and those nearby. Choose kite sizes to suit a range of wind conditions and a range of body and weight types.
Equipment and launch site:
● Kites should be available in various sizes in order to accommodate differing wind conditions and skills. Injuries often occur because a kite is too big and becomes too difficult to control as the wind patterns change.
● Tow lines should be equal in length and not frayed or knotted.
● If you do not have adequate space for shore launches, consider whether water launches are possible, maintaining the minimum distance of 60 metres from swimmers and objects such as docks.
● All release mechanisms should be tested for reliability.
● Kites should be carefully inspected for tears and weak spots, and stored carefully and away from sunlight between uses.
Always have at least 2 staff members present – one to speak with clients and handle training, and the other to assist in launch and landing activity.
● Be sure that your staff members are trained in CPR and first aid.
● Staff should take care to inspect the equipment before and after each use.
● Be sure that bystanders keep clear of the boundaries of the kite surfing area.
● Have a rescue boat or PWC available so that surfers in danger on the water can be reached quickly if no water rescue service is in the immediate vicinity.
● Have bincolars for staff to monitor clients, as well as a loud horn and a warning light to signal changes in wind and water conditions.
● Staff should very regularly check reliable sources regarding wind and surf conditions in order to signal changes to surfers.
● All staff members should be able to clearly communicate the risks and safety rules to clients. A language barrier could pose a problem should an accident occur; both in terms of immediate medical care, and in terms of liability for having failed to properly communicate the rules.
*Source : European Child Safety Alliance, Eurosafe; 2008.- With the support of the European Commission
- 1. Article 2 (Interpretation) of the Protection of Swimmers at sea - Laws of 1968 and 1986 - Law 72/1968 and Law 12/1986:"Boat" means any motor or sailing vessel and includes a surfboard, a sea bike, a canoe, a sea scooter and any other floating means capable of putting in danger the safety of swimmers at sea as well as trailers under them;2. Its use and entrance to the sea is prohibited in a bathing area.Article 4 (1) Prohibition of transit through the areas:4 .- (1) The declaration of the area shall be prohibited when it(a) passes through it(b) is docked or parked therein3. It is prohibited to be attached to buoys that mark the bathing areas.Article 4 (B) It is prohibited when:4B. Any person who attaches any impure or other object to any buoy within the sea through which the area is designated, or interferes in any way with such buoy, then he is guilty of a criminal offense.