Instructor backs safety plan

Perth Kitesurfing School owner and instructor Gwen Velge supports the Council’s decision to ban kitesurfing schools on the beach until next summer when a policy is introduced. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d396244
Perth Kitesurfing School owner and instructor Gwen Velge supports the Council’s decision to ban kitesurfing schools on the beach until next summer when a policy is introduced. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d396244

Perth Kitesurfing School co-owner and manager, Gwen Velge, said he understood why the council had banned kite surfing schools at the beach but believed it was a decision taken on the grounds of overly alarmist reports from some people in the kite surfing community.

‘I totally understand where council are coming from because they did receive a lot of letters,’ he said.

‘We are more disappointed with the letters themselves and I think it’s more about people wanting the beach to themselves or people feeling nostalgic for times in the past when there were less people on the beach.’

Because kite surfing schools mainly operate seasonally, and with more than a month of this season still to run, Mr Velge said business would to take a hit.

‘Taking more than a month out of our six month cycle is quite difficult,’ he said.

‘We don’t really teach during the winter because weather conditions make it difficult to do our job. We are teaching inexperienced kiters so winter isn’t really an option’

Mr Velge put to bed fears his sport was dangerous but did add there were risks with inexperienced kite surfers trying their hand without adequate coaching.

‘The danger now is that people will buy kites and not know how to use them,’ he said

‘That’s why we need schools on the beach.

‘As instructors, if there is a problem with someone on the beach, even if they are not in our class, we offer them our help.

‘We want to be able to keep an eye on the beach because we want to keep it a safe environment.’

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the policy would allow Cockburn beaches to be enjoyed by all.

‘The City will be working towards having in place all the necessary policies, procedures and approvals for any kite surfing schools wishing to establish themselves at Woodman Point,’ he said.

‘Ensuring the kite schools have the necessary approvals in place will ensure the sport is safe and enjoyable for everyone and that other beach users are protected.’