International Right of Way Rules

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

Before you fly, you have to grow the wings. Learn some of the basic #kiteboarding right of way rules!

When it comes to preventing collisions at sea, #kiteboarders are considered in the same category as a sailing boat. Learn how to protect yourself and others against dangerous clashes.

Kiteboarding offers many clear dangers and hidden risks. Knowing them means avoiding them. One of the first things kiteboarders should know is that riders in the water, holding a kite at 12 o'clock, swimming to a lost board, or re-launching a #kite from the water, always have the right of way.

Now, let's learn the official #right_of_way in kiteboarding:


The outgoing rider has right of way over the incoming rider. As the wind is sometimes gusty on land, the rider who is on the beach is the one more at risk, so he has the priority.


When two riders converge: the rider going #starboard (kite right-hand side) has right of way and the rider going port tack (kite left-hand side) must give right of way and pass downwind with his kite as low as possible. There is no particular reason for this rule, but it is already applied in all other sports and nautical activities.


The rider going faster than another in the same direction must give way to the slowest rider. The one going faster is the one who has a global vision of the situation since he arrives from behind.


The rider passing #upwind (windward) from another kiteboarder must fly his kite overhead: the kiteboarder #downwind (leeward) must pilot his kite as low as possible.

If you are passing upwind, keep your kite HIGH. If you are passing downwind, keep your kite LOW.


The rider surfing a wave has the right of way over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction: when surfing a wave, the kite is less easy to pilot so there is less room for manoeuvres. Nevertheless, the rule for the outgoing rider (mentioned above) is still applicable when the waves are close to the shore (shore break). In this case, the rider who is surfing will have to give way to the rider who is going out.

Golden Rule – A rider #surfing a wave towards the shore must give way to riders entering the water (Ref Rule 1).

6. JUMPING A rider must have a clear safety zone of 50m downwind because he moves downwind when he jumps.

7. RESPECT Right of way must be given to all other beach users !

Why? Regular ocean and beach users may not understand the behaviour and dangers of kiteboarding.

Golden Rule – Remember to use common sense when applying the rules and stay clear from other riders whenever possible!

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