Wherever you’re on the water, keep an eye on your mates. Count cars and people on the water, particularly when you’re leaving. Have a Plan B – your back up option if something goes wrong.
In case of emergency or if ever in doubt ring both the Harbourmaster and Coastguard:
Coastguard: dial 111
- There will be at least ½ hr delay while protocols are followed and the boat is launched so also ring the Harbour Master as they may be able to get a commercial boat or taxi there quicker.
QLDC Harbour Master:
- Marty Black 0274345289
- Dave 0274 142270
Be Safe – Assess the Environment
What are the conditions like? How stable is the weather/wind? How deep/shallow is the water? Is the tide coming in or going out? What are the currents like?
Are there any risks or hazards on the beach or in the water? Look out for boats, swimmers, fishermen & nets, animals & nests, trees, electricity poles, cars, etc, and of course other kitesurfers and windsurfers.
Know the right of way rules and follow them. Always respect others users of the beach/water and know. Kite lines might be longer than they appear, windsurf sails might be bigger than you think.
Look before you launch, jump, turn, land!
Have you thought about Plan B? What are your backup options if something goes wrong? Look downwind for obstacles and way out & back. Is there a safety boat available? Do you know how to perform a self rescue?
Again, keep an eye on your mates, and everyone else. Help out when you can and don’t be afraid to speak up if someone is a danger to themselves or anyone else! Count cars and people on the water, particularly when you’re thinking of leaving. If ever in doubt call the coastguard!
Know your Limits
Don’t go out in conditions above your ability. If conditions change while on the water get back and adjust your gear or call it the day.
Avoid riding on your own and always let someone know where you’re going.
Inspect Your Gear
Look for signs of tear on your gear. Make sure you know how to use it. Is it safe to use? Is it appropriate for the wind/water conditions?
Check your safety release on the kite bar.
Don’t forget safety gear: lifejackets, lifebelts and helmets are all available from marine stores or try www.hutchwilco.com.
- lifejackets are really useful, not only they prevent you from drowning but they also keep you warm if you’re out a long time in an emergency. Most have a pocket in which it’s easy to stash; spare rope for a tow or to secure gear in the case of a rescue, a knife, mini hand held flares … even a cell phone in waterproof bag.
- lifebelts are a good alternative if you think a jacket is too bulky and would affect your harness. The belt can be worn with the pack backwards.
- helmets, protect your head and also keep you warm in colder waters.
Lifejackets are mandatory on a SUP and when using Club Gear
Beware of the TSS Earnslaw
The lovely but large and difficult to manoeuvre steam boat. Stay well away from the Earnslaw. The harbourmaster has the power to give an instant large fine or ban sailing here at the One Mile if there is trouble. Pass on this message if you see anyone new at one mile, please tell them too.
Beginner kitesurfers on the lake
Waikatipu lake is a beautiful kitesurfing location but unfortunately it is not beginner friendly. Wind can be gusty and the water is cold and deep. We suggest you learn to ride in the safer and warmer spots in Dunedin, Invercargill or Christchurch. As a beginner you want shallow and warm(ish) water, constant wind and a safe launching/landing area.
The club doesn’t currently offer kitesurfing lessons but the club’s membership will get you a 10% discount on gear and lessons with Kitesports in Christchurch.