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Do you find your enthusiasm for kiting leads you to encourage others to take it up when they ask you about the sport? If so, did you ever regret doing so?
We're kiting at the Thermalito Afterbay Sunday; upper teens/big kites; a woman windsurfer frustrated the wind wasn't blowing enough to get on the water came over while we were taking a break to ask about kiting. Where do we recommend for lessons? How hard is it to learn? And what about the kitemares?
We assured her that with proper lessons, kiting is relatively safe; shared info, advantages, etc. Later on, a kiter unfamiliar with the site kited out across the small bay from the launch and into the main channel and back. I noticed he was cutting close to the point with a tree on it as he headed back into the bay, and he was raising his kite up to miss the tree. I went into the channel, turned around and saw his kite spinning in the wind off the treetop. He misjudged a branch sticking out that grabbed a line as he went by, and that caused an immediate turn of the kite into a spiral that lifted him out of the water so fast he couldn't get to his QR before landing on the woman windsurfer's car, indenting the hood and roof and scraping the paint. The kiter was thankfully not seriously injured.
1. Be careful letting your enthusiasm for kiting lead to encouraging others.
2. Watch out for stray branches from trees or brush along the shoreline catching a line: they can be deadly.
The problem is that if we all stopped being enthusiastic and tried to discourage other people from kiting, the sport would die off. No matter how much you try to encourage people to be smart and to take lessons, etc., there will always be an idiot who will do something stupid and get hurt. Or there will be an excellent kiter who will get hurt in spite of doing everything right. That's the nature of kiting and many other potentially dangerous fun things to do.
It's funny, but I could never get any of my friends who do stuff like mountain biking and snowboarding to try kiting. I think they were too afraid. Back in 2003 I had a friend who was kiteboarding and at the time I thought it looked too dangerous. (And that's coming from someone who was a rock climber and motorcyclist). That fear has kept me alive all these years. However, I have seen plenty of kiters, mountain bikers, snowboarders, rock climbers, and so on, who are totally clueless of the potential dangers. If they think about it at all, they put on a helmet and hope that it will save them from their bad decisions and lack of situational awareness.
So keep sharing the stoke tempered with a realistic discussion of the dangers and how to be as safe as possible. It's ultimately up to each individual to be responsible for their own actions and it's not your fault if someone catches your enthusiasm and then gets into trouble.
I'm more concerned about people using social media to sell super discounted bulk lessons to people that wouldn't normally be getting involved in the sport.
facebook & groupon = KOOK
2010 UG FLX
2012 Firewire Flexfire Strapless
From the geniuses behind groupon, comes an all new extreme action discount site: Kookpon.com!!
The domain name surprisingly actually appears available.
Sold all my gear; ebbs and flows; see you next season.
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
— Albert Einstein
The whole coupon business is questionable - a local kite surfer (where I live) with no fixed address is happy to sell "lessons" via coupon then does not show up or when he does, there is an excuse not to learn. Irrespective of the complaints to the coupon company, it's a scam that has been going on now for years and it appears the coupon company is ok with it.
Real schools have to deal with insurance, beach permit access etc.
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