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General Kiteboarding Guidelines

Click here for printable beginner guide from Kiteboard Magazine

General Safety Guidelines

SCKA members voted in these Safety Guidelines after considering inputs from experienced riders and area lifeguards. They are made possible by the mistakes of riders that went before you!  Their purpose is to promote safe and responsible kiteboarding, which serves to promote continued access.  They are written for ALL areas and with different types of kites and boards in mind.  They must be augmented with local-specific guidelines due to unique conditions at each site. If you don't agree with any of these, or feel some are not warranted for a given situation, please DO NOT disregard them.  This sets a bad example for others.  We urge you become a SCKA member, come to the meetings, and help us change anything that's not right.  Always exercise good judgment and common sense while using these guidelines.  Fly safe!

1) Any beginning rider or kiter should have professional instruction or as a minimum, direct supervision from an experienced rider.

2) A safety release and leash must be attached to your body, prior to launching any water-launchable kite.  If you're capable of landing multiple-spin jumps, click here for information on a hands-free spinning leash system.

3) Maintain a clear downwind area, allowing extra space when kite control might be compromised, such as when launching, landing, jumping, or maneuvering.  If someone else crashes a kite on or near land, offer assistance in grounding that kite without reservation.

4) Yield to any pedestrian or swimmer, and to any watercraft that has the right-of-way.  Do so immediately and with enough margin to avoid any possible contact with the kite or lines.

5) Grounded kites must be sufficiently weighted (sand, if available) to offset strong gusts and if unattended, disabled by disconnecting all lines from one side.

6) Land kites with assistance whenever possible and offer assistance without reservation whenever possible, especially in populated or cluttered areas.  If forced to self-recover, downing kites in shallow water is often safer than on land. In either case, ensure the entire downwind arc is clear.

7) Riders must yield to everyone when jumping, maneuvering, or riding on port tack (left hand forward).

8) Incoming riders give way to those launching.

9) Avoid obstructing the way of others or cluttering any area with grounded kites, lines or boards.

10) After consideration has been given to the above, normal sailing rules apply.


Note: Right hand forward while riding is Starboard Tack (and generally has right-of-way). 
Left hand forward is Port Tack.

When two kiteboarders converge in a way that may lead to a collision, the kiteboarder on port tack must give way to the kiteboarder on starboard tack.  Starboard tack has right of way in this situation.


When two kiteboarders converge, and they are on the same tack, the kiteboarder most upwind must give way to the kiteboarder most downwind.  The leeward kiteboarder has right of way in this situation.


When two kiteboarders converge in a way that may lead to the kites colliding, the upwind kiteboarder must fly their kite as high as possible, and the downwind kiteboarder must fly their kite as low as possible.


A kiteboarder must give way to anyone they are overtaking.  The kiteboarder being overtaken has the right of way, and is responsible for maintaining course while being overtaken.


Always give right of way to anyone who enters the 200' safety zone downwind of you.

Highly Recommended Equipment:

A kite leash, which will de-power a released kite (see Safety Guidelines) 

A board leash. Click here for info on a retractable leash.

A PFD (lifejacket) or Impact vest, and helmet

A knife (preferably a hook knife) to cut tangled lines

A whistle (to signal boats when you, or your lines, are down in the water) 


Indicate to others when you want to land / ground your kite.

Only kiteboard as far from shore as you are able to swim.

Learn and practice self rescues.

Avoid riding solo, and always let someone know your plan (return time).

Consider using brightly colored lines, kites, and other gear.

Check your equipment carefully before launching (esp. your kite rigging).

Remember to stay well hydrated, and to wear sunscreen.  

Please be courteous to all other water users and spectators.

PLEASE RESPECT THE LIFEGUARDS, HARBOR POLICE, COAST GUARD, etc.  If they request that you stop kiteboarding, please comply, find out the reasons (without arguing), and then contact the SoCal Kiteboarding Association.


We have to work together to keep kiteboarding safe and access open.  Always keep an eye on what's going on around you.  Don't hesitate to ask questions or ask for help.  Accept help that's offered in the name of safety. 

If you are experienced, you have a position of responsibility.  Offer help in a friendly and RESPECTFUL manner   Treat anyone's potential kitemare as an event that's personally detrimental to you and ALL other riders.

Kiteboarding is a TEAM SPORT!  An alienated rider is out of reach and will likely disregard any and all guidelines.  Do all you can to keep rider relations respectful and friendly.
Have fun, be safe, and we'll see you on the water!