Most of the time, when I wish to share my enthusiasm and enthusiasm for kitesurfing with my work colleagues and other acquaintances, I am greeted by terrified, confused looks or even a little pity (poor soul, he doesn’t know what he is doing) and of course the perennial question: aren’t you afraid of the possibility that you will die? Aren’t you aware that kitesurfing is a risky sport? It’s a risky sport that only insane people are able to do! To prove their point I was sent YouTube videos of crash compilations or encouraged me to look on the web for terrifying stories and extreme accidents. My sister isn’t able to imagine me doing this. My mom, however, cannot stand the idea and smiles with a smile “Well… If it makes you smile…”
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I work as an Health and Safety Professional and, by definition, my job requires me to conduct a risk assessment and write a method statement for nearly every activity that I conduct in my workplace. I’m sure that someone who makes a living from telling people what is appropriate and what’s not, should not engage in such crazy and dangerous extracurricular activities, like kitesurfing. It is probably safer to observe other “crazy” people do it from the comfort of your couch. Oh, really?
Is kitesurfing dangerous?
The most straightforward answer is that kitesurfing is only as dangerous as you make it. Just like a dog is only dangerous if it’s received incorrect training, kitesurfing is only dangerous if done with the wrong mindset and the wrong attitude.
It’s wrong to drink a few beers, then go to the beach and attach your kite to a 12m version in 25knots winds offshore… then try to master some tricks just like the person who is watching you from the bar…
The best way to approach it is obviously, to go to the beach, and then go straight to the kite centre to find a certified school and receive the proper instruction. You will learn about safety and dangers and the methods to reduce residual risks. Learn to evaluate the conditions of the water and wind including entrance and exit points, and learn about the right of way (who has the upper hand on the water) Learn how to start and set up a kite, as well as how to start the water and how to body drag and, in the event of a need, self-rescue. You will be able to control your kite and know what to do if things don’t go according to plan. Additionally, you will learn how to navigate the board and learn how you can help it in the event that you’re lost. You will learn all the kitesurfing basics, and these basics can serve as an excellent base as you advance in your kitesurfing even after you have stopped taking classes.
However, more important, you will learn to respect the sport and discover that, if you do it correctly, it is neither extreme, nor dangerous at all. You’ll be able to be able to read and connect to the natural world and you’ll also be able to be able to become totally free. You’ll be inspired by places you have not been before and meet people you didn’t know existed. You’ll be able to fly… literally. It will be clear that life is never same.
So yes, kitesurfing is risky. It is dangerous for those that find it acceptable to sit on the sofa and label every free spirit crazy. However, you’re not that person. You realize that the main danger is not being willing to attempt… because it might change you forever.
My friend, meet you on the water. Let’s ride with you…