Kite surfers back safety changes

WA Kite Surfing Association president Darren Ellis with vice-president Drew Norton. d424154
WA Kite Surfing Association president Darren Ellis with vice-president Drew Norton. d424154

Under the changes, people operating from 400m to 3700m (two nautical miles) from shore must now wear a lifejacket, as well red or orange flares or an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon.

WA Kite Surfing Association president Darren Ellis backed the uniformity provided by the new laws, which came into effect at the start of August.

‘This is part of an over-arching marine safety initiative where everyone has to sing off the same song sheet,’ he said.

‘People hate rules. But as I’ve spent a lot of time on the ocean, and the more and more I think about the real issue, if you’re having a bad day kite surfing and you happen to be out 1km off shore, and a line breaks and you’re sitting there, you’re going to want to have the lifejacket and the personal EPIRB.’

‘We have to make decisions that promote our core values, we want to promote safe kite boarding and that’s what it comes back to.

‘We don’t want people out there putting themselves at risk or putting other people at risk as a result of their actions or inactions.’

Perth Kitesurfing School instructor Brack, whose school regularly operates at Woodman Point, said the changes were reasonable.

He added that the extra costs brought on by the safety measures shouldn’t be too much of an issue, considering the costs already associated with kite surfing

‘If you are going out that far it’s probably better to have some safety precautions in place,’ he said

‘I just hope it is policed properly and that there’s a distinction made between deliberately going out to sea and people going for a casual ride after work.’