Every year in the UK we look forward to the stronger winds and bigger waves that autumn and winter bring…

With these conditions the opportunity for fun increases, however so does the risk so read on for a checklist of safety tips and advice that always apply but become even more important in winter sessions.

Winter Riding

Make sure you stay closer to shore in the winter, a good rule of thumb is estimate how far you think you could safely swim then halve that and halve it again and make that your distance limit from shore.

As always with kitesports, distance from potential hazards is your greatest asset in case of a kitemare.

Once the wind gets above 25knots we recommend that you dramatically increase your safe operating distance, Hussain Bolt could not run at that speed for any distance and he isn’t wearing a thick rubber suit! so let an increased distance separation from any hazardous objects downwind be your improved safety net.

With limited daylight its tempting to push into twilight on the water, but just remember in the worst case scenario if someone is searching for you on the water, daylight makes it a lot easier.

Get off the water well before dusk and don’t forget to always tell someone where you are going and when you plan on returning.

Be Prepared

No to get too boy scouty, but look after your kit and it will look after you.

Pay close attention to your lines and bridles, how old are those lines?

Every time we go out we are putting our trust in our lines and it is important to know when to ‘retire’ a set of lines or a bar from active duty. If you don’t know what to look for ask a local instructor, school or shop to check them over for you.

Your next session could be your first wearing booties so don’t forget to adjust your board straps before you get your kite in the air, remember you want them snug, but not so tight that you cannot kick the board off when you need to!

Wrap up..

Not to sound to obvious but get more insulation! If you your suit isn’t warm enough, you can wear a thin base layer under your wetsuit for added warmth.

As always the old adage stands “If you don’t know don’t go.” if you are unsure about a session ask a more experienced rider or preferably a local school or instructor for safety advice.

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