The Langebaan Lagoon is part of the WestCoast National Park. Kiteboarding is one of the most exciting and fastest growing sports in the world, attracting people of all ages. It can also be overwhelming if not approached in a safe manner. That is why we are supplying this information, with useful tips for safe kiting in the National Park.
The Park isused by many different people and it is important to consider them when you kiteboard in the lagoon.
Before you launch, check entry, riding and exit areas. While you’re doing that , look for
* Side-shore wind: this wind direction makes it easier to go out and come back because the crosswind is perpendicular to the beach. Onshore winds make it difficult to get away from the beach, while off shore winds make it difficult to come back to the beach.
* Free of obstacles and people: mistakes happen, so make the extra effort to avoid people, power lines, parking lots and fixed structures.
* Free of wind shadows: trees, buildings,mountains and even piers will disrupt windflow, causing gusts. Take the time to see wind on the water and understand why some areas are windier than others.
* Flat water, no shore pound: before you launch, walk into the water ; if you get knocked over by a wave, you are entering an area with shore break. If a wave or shore break gets hold of your kite, it may have more power than the wind, so try to avoid this situation.
* Sandy bottom: before riding a spot , look online at a satellite picture of the area. When you arrive, swim the area and learn what type of bottom you’re deal ing with.
Safe Ways to Ride with Others
Rigging and launching: find an open space to pump your kite and lay out your lines. Be sure not to cross over or under someone else’s lines, and preplan your process for launching. If you are not going to launch the kite right away, keep the lines connected to the kite but wrap them around the bar. Have a fellow rider help launch your kite; no need to self-launch in a crowd. Remember to ensure a clear drop zone, launch toward the water and keep the kite low. It is a good idea to always roll up your lines when not in use.
From the beach it may look like chaos on the water with kites and boards flying all over the place, but on the water there emerges some sense of organisation. Beginners and less experienced riders should ride downwind of the more experienced riders. When cutting upwind toward each other , the more advanced rider keeps his kite high and stays upwind, while the less experienced rider keeps his kite low and bears off slightly to stay downwind. Once you are out for a while, you will become used to the riders in your area and begin to feel comfortable riding around them.
Overtaking a rider
The key to over taking someone on the water is common sense. Keep in mind there is a massive blindspot above and behind a rider , over thet railing shoulder. This means that he may not be able to see your kite overhead if he decides to jump, unintentionally sending his kite directly into yours. Therefore, when over taking a rider ensure you are far enough upwind, with your kite high. Better yet, just stop and turn around to make another tack.
If you want to jump, make sure there is a clear downwind space with no one coming in close behind you or tacking directly in front of you. Practise new moves only in an area where you have enough room for error, not in a crowd.
In case two kites do tangle, the main point to remember is not to panic. If you freak out and instantly let go of your kite, things will get out of control quickly. Instead, unhook first ,keep flying your kite and communicate with the other rider . Most likely you will each have to slowly land your kite in the water and work the mess out .
Try to gain eye contact with someone taking a break on the beach,then use the universal landing signal of patting the top of your head with an open palm. They should be able to assist you.
Once you land your kite, even for a half-hour break, wrap the lines and secure the kite to the ground.
Why take lessons?
A good coach will save you from possible injury and probable embarrassment. Besides saving face and your butt, here are five other reasons to take lessons:·
1) Demolish the learning curve: a good instructor will help you use what you’ve learned from other sports, drastically reducing the learning curve.
2) Save serious coin: Lessons save time and money. Without the right size kite, you will end up trashing your gear . Schools have many different sizes and styles of kites, so why not learn on and trash their gear instead.
3) Guidance: Instructors know all about the latest gear and will share tips that would have taken you months to discover . Plus,most have been on the scene since day one, so they can introduce you to all the local kiters.
4) Protection: not knowing what you’re doing flying a kite can put others in harm’s way and might even hurt you. Not to mention that injuring others is not a good way to impress the local kiters.
5) Stress-free shopping: a good instructor will know the perfect kite and board for your weight ,size and style, saving you hours of frustration.
Enquire at the National Park for a list of reputable instructors.
Kite Boarding Guidelines Langebaan Lagoon
– Play it Safe
– Wear a helmet , buoyancy aid and quick release harness system
– Check your equipment thoroughly and regularly repair any damage
– Carry a flare set to attract attention
– Carry a knife that can cut your flying line
– Check the local weather before riding anensure you can handle the conditions
– Never kiteboard with an onshore wind
– Ensure you understand the tidal currents and how they might affect the riding area
– Use an effective kite leash and functional safety system
– Stay well clear of obstacles especially when launching
– Do not go away from shore further than you can swim back
– If in doubt , don’t go out
There are safety instruct ions and guidelines for beach use posted up on Main Beach and Klein Oesterwal Beach (Shark Bay) . Please follow these guidelines when launching and riding.
Always use common sense. Do not tamper with other people’s gear . Picking up bars,kites, etc. may be dangerous. Always secure your kite with sand or sandbags.
An unmanned kite is dangerous.Never leave an inflated kite unattended. Winds may shift and cause the kite to become unsecured and fly off .
Always yield to other beach users. Be courteous and polite.
West Coast National Park Phone: 022 772 2144 Fax: 022 772 2607
Be safe out there and enjoy many happy years of kiting!