Post general kiteboarding discussion topics here!
I assume most people know about the Cal Sailing Club. It's a cheap and hand's on way to get into sailing and windsurfing.
It's my understanding that it works by dues and volunteers. Anyone who is a member can use the equipment for free. And there are volunteers there to help mentor with the equipment.
Kitesurfing has been around for over 5 years now. By now there must be some gear that has had a good amount of use on it. Perhaps it has little or no resale value. Perhaps there are kites out there that are pretty thrashed and are in need of a major repair. Guys must have gear in their garage they no longer use, and no longer have an interest for. It would be a shame to see kitesurfing gear end up in a landfill.
What if, there was a club where old/used gear could be donated to? Where volunteers could fix the gear and show newbies how to fix it at the same time. Would be a good way for people to learn how to fix their own gear. Would also be a way for newbies to try different types of gear.
I know I enjoyed learning to kite on a low aspect ratio kite, but after a season on that kite, I would hate to ever fly it again. Seems like it would be nice to have a quiver of kites like these that newbies could spend some time on, and then they could get more bang for their buck by getting a more advanced kite.
It just seems to me that kiting is pretty expensive. We want newbies to take lessons. It seems like it would be nice to have a club like this to help those on a budget.
I know that I would be happy to volunteer my time fixing kites for a cause like this, or showing others how to fix/modify their kites.
Anyone think something like this would work for kitesurfing?
Or should I get a second job so I don't have time to think about things like this?
I know there's a few things in my garage that i wouldn't attempt to sell, but that some newbie might really love to get their hands on for a few sessions and then pass it along.
In addition to low-aspect kites, don't forget monster directional boards that are much easier to get up on then a wakeboard. I've got one of those...
I think this would be a great resource. I assume people using the gear would be signing a waiver...Charitable write-off, like with junker cars?
Recent model used kites are getting so cheap that the landfill seems like the probable destination for most 2003 and older gear still in people's garages.
A kiting club could be a cool thing.
I have been involved with the Cal Sailing Club for over 15 years, first as an employee (dayleader) then as a member, so I know it pretty well.
It has been a great place to cheaply learn how to sail and windsurf. However, it can be frustrating sharing equipment with others.
The Cal Sailing Club has steered clear of getting involved with kiting primarily because its location at the Berkeley Marina isn't suitable for launching kites, but safety considerations play into it as well.
It may be a good starting model for a kiting club. But, in my opinion, kiting is sufficiently unique that many tweaks would need to be made to this model.
I think the main snag for any kiting club would be how to deal with safety/liability issues.
Bric has brought up a good point, however, in what to do with your old kiting gear. I have heard some say they wouldn't wish old (non-user friendly) gear on anyone (do you remember your painful learning curve?). But, short of starting a club, I plan on keeping my old gear as loaners for teaching friends, that way you don't get bummed when the newbie scratches/tears/dings it.
I agree that liability would have to be dealt with: Members would have to be IKO or PASA certified level riders. Potential new members would have to supply proof of being at this level, or be examined by an instructor. Waivers would have to be filled out.
I see the potential gear that could be donated (or on loan) as: kites, boards, and harnesses.
The riders should supply their own bar and lines.
We could have the kites inspected to make sure they are in working order (good pigtails, etc).
At first I think the club would have to be setup as decentralized, until an equipment location could be setup.
I envision the club being run like a library system. Bay area riders are kind of spread out in different cities, counties. It would be nice to have a computer driven database with: members, equipment, equipment location, etc. I envision the gear to be checked out like at a library. If someone has a request for something, they could submit a request by email an arrange for a pickup/dropoff.
This could be a neat way to get old gear out of garages and back in use.
I am not a lawyer, but I never understand why those agreements that free someone from liability are never good enough. Same with kite rental. From what I understand liability is a big issue, and the agreement that says the renter accepts all liability is not good enough. If there was kite rental in the bay area I would have significantly less kites.
Good points mates.
Being that we live in California, liability is a reality.
At first I just saw the potential club as being a sharing of resources. I didn't see it as being set up as a "rental" club, more of a "borrowing" or "loaner" club. But in the end, it's just semantics.
I thought to myself, if kites are so much of a liability, then how are they different from guns. Surely you can rent a gun. But in my quick search, I realized that gun rentals are in controlled environments (gun ranges). And I'm sure the sight is covered by liability insurance.
So if something like this was going to get off the ground, it would most likely have to have liability insurance. I think the insurance a kite school gets costs about $3G's a year. So if the club could get coverage, their would need to be some annual dues to cover the insurance. At first I was thinking the potential dues would be around $20, but that would mean it'll need 150 people to cover the cost of liability insurance. That to me sounds like a waste of resources (it would only the benefit the insurance companies wallet).
Now it's looking like a kite club would have to be without the kite; just boards and other gear to get around the need for liability insurance.
Good thing you can't rent guns "To Go"!
"Gee, I'm so f**&in mad at this person right now, but it's only him this one time and I don't plan to shoot anyone else in the near future, so I guess it's most cost-effective to rent a gun rather than to own one. I'll show him! Are bullets included or extra?"
So I shot an email to one of the top guys at PASA, on this subject of a kite club. I wanted to know if he was aware of any clubs like this. This was the response I got:
"I do not know of any Kiteboarding club that are organized similarly to the Cal Sailing Club where people can check out gear as well as take lessons.
When I lived in Berkeley I knew quite a few people who learned how to windsurf through the Cal Sailing club.
The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association runs a youth program and gets the majority of the gear donated by itís members as well as the manufacturers.
I think a club like the one you describe would work. It would probably need to be set up as a nonprofit and it more than likely would need to have liability insurance. The Cal Sailing staff should also be a great resource of info on how their organization is structured.
I would imagine there would have to be a least one PASA / IKO level two instructor on staff to evaluate and certify probably at Level 3 Kiteboarder) the the members who wanted to check out equipment from the Club. The instructor would also need to be available to teach lessons (for a fee) to those who do not have adequate experience.
I think you could pull it off and get support from many different sources once the word got out. It could be the Cal Sailing / Craigís list of kiteboarding!"
I learned to sail and windsurf at the Cal Sailing Club in the 70's. The focus of the club was education. It felt like grad school! Achieving the Senior Skipper level was nearly impossible, it would probably take four years!!
The Club made sense because boats are bulky, expensive, and require lots of space. Unlike kites and kiteboards which are cheap and portable.
So I don't see the need for a kite club, most folks can afford the gear, can transport them with a small car (or motorcycle), and of course kiteboarders flock together at the kite launches. In fact, most of the kite launches feel like the Cal Sailing Club, except you don't have to take any tests, and you have to bring your own equipment.
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