Accident Insurance for Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing
Medical limits available: $25,000 to $100,000
AD&D limits up to $10,000
Deductibles available: $100 to $5,000
General Liability Insurance for Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing
Limits available: $1,000,000 to $6,000,000
Sex Abuse / Molestation available
Non-Owned Hired Auto Liability available
Kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, is a water sport that melds features from surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, and skateboarding. Kiteboarders, harnessed to a kite powered by the wind, ride a board across the water.
Kiteboarding began France in the 1970s. The sport has evolved significantly over the years and is now also performed as an extreme “big air” sport and on land. Today, an estimated 1.5 million people practice the sport worldwide.
There are many types of kiteboarding kites and boards to meet and each riding style and situation. Equipment safety standards have improved drastically over the years as evidenced by the decreasing numbers of significant injuries and fatalities.
The five main disciplines of kiteboarding are:
- Course Racing: Much like a yacht race, athletes use both speed and tactics to ride along a set course
- Expression Wave: Wave riding, or kitesurfing, combines kiteboarding with surfing.
- Expression Freestyle: Athletes use both the kite and board to attain big air to perform various tricks while airborne.
- Speed: Riders go all in to win and set speed records.
- Slalom: Riders focus on board and kite control during high-speed downwind action on land.
Kitesurfing Risk Management
As with every sport, athletes participating in kiteboarding and kitesurfing encounter risks and potential for injury. Some injuries stem from poor practice by the participant. Others other result from weather and nautical conditions, and others relate to misuse or failure of the equipment.
Potential rider-related perils
Losing kite control:Inexperienced kiters using a kite too large for the wind current risk being overpowered and dragged out to sea. Using a kite that is too small for the wind current leaves the rider underpowered. This can result in drifting off course or the kite falling into the water.
Tangled kite lines: A runaway kite could tangle with the lines of another or a kite blow away during set-up. Lines can cause cuts and wrap around kiter limbs.
Landing jumps: Hard landings in shallow water, a missed landing or a collision with another kitesurfer downwind following a jump can lead to twisted or broken feet, ankles or knees, or cause injury to another rider.
Wiping out: Taking off on large waves can cause a dropped kite from lost tension in the lines. Kiters tangled in lines as waves wash the kite out risk exhaustion or hypothermia in cold water attempting to free themselves. Drowning is possible if the kiter cannot release the lines.
Getting hit by a kiteboard: When a board whips back in a wind gust and hits a rider, a high risk exists for broken bones, cuts and contusions, concussions, or even being knocked unconscious.
Potential weather and water-related perils
Sudden wind change: If a strong wind suddenly picks kiters can go aloft. A sudden drop in wind can leave a rider adrift at sea with a downed kite. Kiters also risk getting blown out into a inland obstacle such as a building, tree or power line.
High-speed collision: As tides lower, the risk of hitting a sandbar or rocks rises. Kiters too frequently collide into piers reefs, or large buoys. This can result in severe injury and need for rescue by paramedics. Catastrophic injuries often result from a lack of control or kitesurfing in/near areas populated with other kitesurfers, boats, jet skis or swimmers.
Strong currents: Riptides can leave a rider barely moving or, worse, push him/her toward the kite resulting in loose lines and a dropped kite. Kiters can be pushed out to sea if unable to swim or paddle ashore in such conditions.
Getting caught in big waves: Kiters unwillingly surfing into a large-wave zone may be unable to escape. The risk is high in such cases of wiping out and kites dropping.
Equipment failure hazards
Snapped kite line: Weak or overstressed lines can break while a kiter is far from the shore or in the wave zone. The kite goes into death loops, dragging the kiter out of control and possibly unable to push the safety release due to a tangled line. Lines need checked on a regular basis and replaced as necessary. Kiters should always carry a hook knife.
Broken harness spreader bar: A loose or broken side of the spreader bar could result in the lines pulling the kiter helplessly on his/her side and unable to control the kite.
Loose or broken footstrap: An occurrence while doing a jump leaves only one foot strapped securely to the kiteboard. If the board spins, and ankle injury is likely. Routine checking of kiteboard straps and screws is critical.
Cramps when riding: Painful cramps while kitesurfing may prevent the kiter from being able to ride back to shore. Drinking a lot of water before a kitesurf session, stretching before and after the session, and building up endurance help prevent cramps.
Sunburns and UV eye damage: Sunblock, UV resistant clothing and protective eyewear help prevent skin damage, risks of skin cancer, and eye damage.
Hypothermia: Riders losing their boards or kites when far offshore risk being adrift in cold water waiting for the current to take them toward shore or a rescue craft. A thick wetsuit helps retain heat and keep kiters afloat.
Learning to Kitesurf
- Get a trainer to help you master the basic kiting skills. Trainer kites are available for beginners and come with instructions. There are good videos online, too. Getting a good understanding of the skills involved before taking lessons saves you money.
- Wakeboarding leads to kitesurfing. Surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding are good ways to build board skills. But the best way to grow into kitesurfing is to practice on a wakeboard behind a boat or jet ski. However, practicing any board sport is strongly recommended.
- Invest in good quality, well-fitted kiting gear. If not using your trainers gear, buy gear that’s right for you. Think in terms of safety and durability.
Kiteboarding Events and Officiating
We highly recommend following International Kiteboarding Association guidelines when hosting and officiating any kiteboarding event.