New kitesurfing id sticker helps rescue teams
The Global Kitesports Association (GKA) has announced the launch of an ID sticker program for kitesurfers.
Every year, hundreds of kitesurfers experience equipment failure, sudden loss of wind power and stranded or lost at sea.
As a result, national and regional rescue teams and sea rescue services are on the line for hours, if not days, looking for potentially lost runners.
“One of the most frequent problems is that of kites floating in the ocean without the kitesurfers being attached to them”, explains Jorgen Vogt, director of GKA.
This recurring situation poses problems for rescue teams because any kite in open water signals a drowned or possibly lost kiteboarder.
“The authorities never know if the rider is swimming helplessly somewhere in the ocean or lost at sea. As a result, comprehensive and expensive rescue missions are launched.”
“Rescue teams will spend several hours trying to find the lost kitesurfer, and resources will be wasted when the identity of the potential victim is unknown for long periods of time.”
The increasingly common situation has led to kite bans at some of the best kitesurfing spots in the world.
“We want to have a cooperative relationship with the boating safety and rescue services, but complaints have multiplied and we have decided to take action,” adds Vogt.
Make driver identification a safety standard
The growing problem has sparked the development of a new safety standard for the kitesurfing industry – an identification sticker.
The identification sticker is a small rectangle sticker with the name, phone number and emergency contact of the cyclist.
It can be applied to kites and kitesurf boards and contains extremely useful information for rescue boat search and rescue.
If the rescue teams find a lost kite or board, they will call the kiteboarder to find out if they are already back ashore or if the rescue mission should continue.
The new kiteboarder ID sticker program will also involve manufacturers so riders can implement it every time they purchase new equipment.
“We have worked with kitesurf manufacturers to put a waterproof sticker on all new kites and boards so that the owner can immediately write down the contact details,” concludes Jorgen Vogt.
The new ID sticker will also be available at wind sports stores, and it can be quickly removed from gear whenever the owner sells the kite or board.
Ideally, runners should put the sticker in the middle of the kite’s leading edge, but kite companies will help their customers get it right.
The brands are committed to adding a frame for the sticker to the front tube for easy placement.
Do you have trouble getting back to dry land? Learn how you can self-rescue and pack down your equipment in an emergency.