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Yesterday was the first day of the summer season at Alameda. (Shack open and a zillion newbies.)
--I witnessed lots of activities that endangered the innocent public using the beach. And left me with a bad feeling about public safety during this upcoming season --
Remember, we have launch privileges at the grace of East Bay Regional Parks and if WE injure the public WE lose the beach.
While on a short walk with General Lee I saw two kites impact the public. :
1.Playing to close to the beach a newbie hammer-headed his kite onto the beach yards from a startled couple sunning themselves on a beach blanket. (Just a couple of feet to the leftÖ)
2.A launch (downwind of the launch zone) that fell back in the window and swept the beach scattering beachcombers and knocking over beach chairs and a spread out picnic basket.
WE have to police ourselves.
WE need to use the designated launch area and stay at least two kite lengths away from the shore when riding. Politely mention this to those who are not following the guideline.
WE need to be an example to those just taking up the sport.
While I was riding yesterday:
1. I was nearly hit by a hammer-headed kite while walking into the water at the launch zone from a transition next to the beach gone bad.
2. I could not ride out of the launch zone because of riders (not launching or landing) riding in it.
Lets be safe this summer.
A consistent example by all of us is important.
-If you see something unsafe donít watch it unfold, please be proactive, step in and politely mention it.
- Be an example ñ Follow the guidelines
- Donít kite into the launch/landing zone
- Donít ride closer than two kite lengths to waters edge. [glow=red](You Know Who You Are!) [/glow] - Use the set-up and launch pattern
Letís be safe out there.
You can hurt yourself by your actions - but do not hurt others!
Yesterday was indeed a bit of a shocker. Upon my arrival, it was clear that the Alameda season and subsequent problems, have arrived. Gone are the Winter and Spring storms, clearing winds and light attendance which have been replaced by new faces, eagerness and limited experience.
I'll readily admit I'm guilty of coming in a bit close and a conscious effort to remind myself of what two line lengths is needed. I have adopted the use of the prescribed launch and land zone.
At the end of my session, which was necessitated by a wind shutdown, we all came in struggling to keep kites aloft and dry. After everyone came in, a lone kiter on an orange Naish, x3 or something, decided it was a good time for a launch. If I knew his name, I'd mention it as there's no need to protect the innocent in a situation like this one. I started toward him to talk to him right away, but he stumbled into the water and attempted to get planing.
Anyway, here it is, and I'm sure I'm not the only who was angered by this either:
Everyone comes in, there's almost no wind. Kiter in question insists on going out and gets someone to launch him. Kite falls back in window, sweeps across beach heading straight toward a couple walking on the beach pushing a baby stroller. Kiter manages to react and kite powers up sending the couple ducking and running and lines literally miss taking them all out, including the baby stroller by about 4 feet!
Totally unacceptable. Why would anyone decide to go out when everyone just had to fight to make it back to the beach? I vowed not to stand by and merely witness something like this again. It's not just what's at stake at Alameda, but the public perception of kiters as a whole. Sometimes, unavoidable mistakes can happen, gear failure, etc., but so much is easily preventable by exercising reasonable judgement.
Bob's most important comment is perhaps this one:
"Letís be safe out there.
You can hurt yourself by your actions - but do not hurt others!"
I think people don't realize how serious this concern is. I am observing a few other power kite forums, and beaches are banned for kiting all over the world like mushrooms after the rain. You donít need an incident for that to happen, it is enough that someone will report an almost incident (whether justifiable or not) to the authorities that will make a quick "everything banned" decision without looking too deep into the issue.
remember "Hoo Koo ee Koo" perhaps the most famous mountain bike ride. The pioneers of the sport used it and then named bikes after it.
It's closed!! and has been for a while.
The public has the right to a safe hike, the same as a safe beach stroll.
A biker flying down a hill and swerving to miss me more likely can hurt him. A kiter's lines coming at my head or my kids head, can kill ME.
They will not hesitate to close beaches. The site af near misses will force pre-emptive measures. They will not wait til someone get's hurt.
I have been at this now for 5 years. I fear the worst.
Ollie is right.
1. Help others land and launch. If we are humble and friendly we can help the newbies. beach areas are no place for showmanship
2. Then we won't feel like a-holes when we totally reprimand people for B.S. behavior.
If we are all courteous when helping , we can feel just as good ripping into sp\omeone and plain out stopping dumb behavior.
When one beach closes the others take notice and it spreads.
Liability law 101
Yes, it's best to approach someone in a friendly way and help them by explaining that what they are doing is wrong or could be done better, etc., etc. If someone does something really ill-advised, as I witnessed, a firmer admonition would be appropriate, I think.
But again, actions speak louder than words, so I, for one, need to keep my a*s away from the beach when riding!
I have to agree that yesterday was an incredibly busy day at Alameda. I was glad to see some of the local crew there so at least I felt safe kiting near people I trusted but there were some new faces that obviously do not have kite etiqte or manners at all. I am not saying that you should give anyone special treatment but give everyone the same courtese that you expect. That is the main reason I kite Alameda because people are so chill. For example the person going out at Alameda (Right hand forward) has right away. This is not even a kite thing it is a sailing thing. Also if you are practicing, go downwind of the launch and landing zone. There is no need to be practicing holding your kite at straight zenith right in front of the launch. For one thing you are upwind of a rock bed and the water is shallow. If you are launching be friendly but firm and tell observers and beach goers to move out of the way. It is for their safety and yours. Always give beach goers the right of way when they are walking up and down the beach but instruct them to move a safe distance away when you launch.
Really it is not about rules and poliecing it is all a karma thing. You get back what you give out. For example friday was an incredibly up and down gusty day. I came in after the wind kicked up to 25 mph but instead of packing up my kite and going home I stayed and helped to land kites and catch runway kiters since it was a pretty serious situation. I would hope someone helps me in that situation in return.
I think if I hit Alameda on one of those days again I am going to follow Bob and Sylvia upwind. Getting as far from the crowd as possible is key on these days. We can ride up near the shack on weekdays and during storms when it is not so busy!
I was one of the first guys riding on MT. Tam in the 80's. I grew up at the base of it in Mill Valley. Hookooeekoo was never really legal. It was allways a bit more of a run than a ride.
The public should be entitled to a safe hike and that trail was not safe for hikers with MBs flying down it...for a while after it wasn't really safe for rangers either
The same may be true for Kiteboarding. Some beaches may just be too crowded for unrestricted kiteboarding. The key is communication with the public. Making beach users and the public in general more aware of the sport and the room required to safely practice the sport.
This can be done through News Paper articles, TV News stories, and Special Events. More focus should be put on educating rather than entertaining the public for these mediums.
If we can be proactive, we have a shot at making all our beaches a safer place.
sometimes Gary Bronson...
Crap guys it's only mid-April and were already into the doom and gloom beach closing?? What happened to the newbies starting in June. Alameda is going to be full of people who think that they can learn this on their own. I can remember too many accidents that happened over the last couple of years. Bottom line is, it too cool, and too expensive of a sport for new guy's to want to wait and pay for lessons. I remember when I was waiting for my lessons and I thought it would be fun to try my 7m foil (equals a 12 -13m inflatable) in 30++ knot winds at a park. I was just thinking of how cool it would be to get my kite up into the air. So when the wind starts to blow guys who think they could teach themselves show up at the beach with their buddy who is just as clueless to launch their 2 line naish kite from 1999. We know it's going to happen, and everyone will try to talk them out of launching, but guess what they won't listen. I found that warning the people on the beach of the dangers, and to let sunbathers know that the launch area will be full of kites is the best way to prevent spectators from getting hurt. 2 years ago I would try to clear the launch area of sunbathers and kids by 2:30, because at 3 the kites would show up and well it sounds like you've seen what happens.
Lets hope for a safe season
I had the same impression yesterday. And I am even thinking about not going back to Alameda as 3rd is always much nicer. But why ? Any explaination for that?
So obviousely we all recognized the problem. We have to act fast!
- How about a handout with rules for Alameda. ( even I didnt know that teaching buddies at Alameda is prohibited if you are not a licenced teacher!?!? I also never found this in the guidelines!)
- We need to make sure that everybody lauches and drops his kite in the designated area (if possilbe)
- We need to make sure that we help / assist more while lauching. It never happes at 3rd that you have to wait for somone grabbing your kite. At alameda you always have to yell for someone even you make the kite down sign. Also assisted launch with someone grabbing you harness is important for the beginners. ( They swing the kite fast over to the other side and get lifted, seen 3 time yesterday)
- We need to hold the area free of kites
- we need to make sure that everyone uses and understands the kiter signs. ( Launch, drop ....) I had it yesterday that someone gave me a thumbs up to catch his kite! Finally his kite dropped 3 meters beside my kids. He was also far out of the kite zone ...
- While walking up the beach hold the kite always outside, over the water.
... and I think I missed 100 other important parts!
Lets make a list for a handout and especially lets HELP OURSELF AT THE BEACH !
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