Right Of Way (ROW) Rules
Respecting a few priority rules helps prevent accidents on the beach and on the water. these internationally accepted right of way (ROW) rules. In the following drawing the green rider has the priority over the orange rider.
When using sailing rules for kiteboarding, it is important to clearly define when a kiter is on starboard tack. Because a kiteboard is different from a sailboat, we have to define the kiter’s tack according to the kite’s position in the wind window.
Starboard tack (B): When the kite is flying on the right-hand side of the rider’s wind window (between 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock), they are going to starboard and we say then that they are on ‘starboard tack.’ The starboard side is identified by the color green.
Port tack (A): When the kite is flying on the left-hand side of the rider’s wind window, (between 12 o’clock to 9 o’clock), they are going to port and they are on ‘port tack.’ The port side is identified by the color red.
Have a look at the following diagram to see how a kiter compares to a sailboat
GOLDEN RULE! Rider Upwind and Rider Downwind
If you are passing upwind, keep your kite HIGH. If you are passing downwind, keep your kite LOW.
This keeps the maximum separation between kites to prevent any possible entanglement.
Rule #1: One Rider on Land, the Other in the Water
The rider entering the water from the beach has right of way over the incoming rider.
wind is sometimes gusty on land ,people may walk nearby or falling on the land it is more dangerous …so the outgoing rider is more at risk and should therefore have priority.
Rule #2: General Priority
Starboard rider (kite on the right-hand side) has priority over the Port rider( kite on the left) and must keep their course, speed and heading to allow the other rider to avoid them.
The rider on the port tack gives way to the rider on the starboard tack. This means they must either change their direction to pass downwind or make a U-turn. Meanwhile the rider on the starboard tack has the obligation to keep their direction and speed otherwise they may lose their right of way.
Rule #3: 2 Riders in the Same Direction
When two riders are traveling in the same direction, the faster rider must give way to the slower rider in front
By coming from behind, the faster rider has a better view of the situation, so they must defer to the other rider and change their course
Rule #4: Rider Surfing
The rider surfing a wave has priority over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction
When surfing a wave, the kite is more difficult to pilot, so there is less room for maneuvers
Also riding a surf or directional board make more difficult changes directions so kiters riding bidirectional board should give priority and more room to them.
Nevertheless, the rule for the outgoing rider (#1) is applicable when the waves are close to the shore (shore break). In this case, the rider who is surfing has to give way to the rider who is entering the water (or has just entered the water).
Rule #5: Other Beach Users
Right of way must be given to other water and beach users.
Kiter can react quicker to most of the ocean, beach users
Be aware of all others in the area.
Kiters do not have right of way over the sailing boats, windsurfers, surfers and SUP, swimmers, walkers.
Kiters do have right of way over the Small power boats* and jet skis
green rider has the priority over the orange rider
Cruise ships and merchant vessels will have the right of way over kiters, because even if they are motorized they do not have much maneuverability compared to kiters. Right of way has been defined according to maneuverability.
‘The one who has less maneuverability has the right of way’.
Rule #6: Jumps
To jump, a kiter must have a clear safety zone of 50 m downwind and 30 m upwind.
A downwind safety zone is important to have because the rider moves downwind when jumping. An upwind safety zone is important to have because without it the rider’s lines could touch the kite or the lines of another rider kiteboarding close by
Rule #7 Two Kiters on Land at the Same Time
When two kiters are on the land at the same time, one kiter is preparing to enter the water and the other one is ready to land, both proceed and keep clear of each other.
Use common sense when applying the right of way rules and stay clear from other riders whenever possible!
Here a video of our friend Blake Olsen…worth to have a look!