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Kitesurfing A Safety Issue For Auckland Beaches

December 19, 2001

The ARC Harbourmaster is warning kitesurfers to move offshore before they cause injury to swimmers at popular Auckland beaches.

Kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding or flysurfing, is the latest extreme water sport to hit Auckland’s beaches. It involves standing on a platform similar to a wakeboard, and being pulled along the water by a large kite, flying overhead.

Harbourmaster James McPetrie has received many complaints about kitesurfers who are exceeding 5 knots within 200 metres of the shore, thereby creating a major hazard for swimmers.

“As summer arrives and more swimmers take to the water, it is important that all kitesurfers go off-shore, outside of the yellow buoys, to engage in their sport,” Mr McPetrie says.

“Many of the complaints have been about kitesurfers at Mission Bay, Takapuna Beach, and Eastern Beach. These beaches are also popular with swimmers so observing safety precautions is vital.”

Mr McPetrie says kitesurfers are covered by the Auckland Regional Council Navigational Safety Bylaws which state that no vessel should travel in excess of 5 knots within 200 metres of the shore or within 50 metres of another vessel, craft or person in the water.

“Kitesurfers close to the beach pose a major hazard to swimmers, as they are concentrating on their kite, rather than what is in the water ahead of them, and also because they can reach high speeds,” Mr McPetrie says.

“We’re not trying to stop them enjoying their sport, rather we want to see the kitesurfers move further off shore and keep our beaches safer for all users.”

Ends

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