Huntington City Beach Kitesurfing Rules -- 2008/7/12 proposed rules (more info) (more info)

For continued enjoyment of kitesurfing in Huntington Beach, the Southern California Kitesurfing Association (SCKA) has drafted the following self imposed rules that all riders are asked to respect in the interest of keeping this area open to all of us. All kitesurfers are welcome to attend SCKA meetings and have a say in what we define as appropriate kitesurfing conduct – browse to www.scka.org for contact information.

1. Ability Level: HB welcomes independent kitesurfers as defined in the SCKA “Kitesurfing Ability Guidelines”. Among other things, this means a kiter should be able to stay upwind, keep kite in the air consistently, fly by feel not sight, jump with control, transition / jibe, water relaunch kite within 30 seconds, self-launch, self-land, and self-rescue. Refer to the mentioned “Kitesurfing Ability Guidelines” handout for details.
2. Areas (maps showing below indicated landmarks can be viewed at www.scka.org):
a. Kitesurfing is recommended north of the HB pier. South of the pier is blackballed in summer months.
b. Launching / landing is generally permitted between tower 10 and the Huntington Cliffs (tower 1Cool.
c. An additional launch / land area is north of the HB Cliffs (northernmost metered parking lot) up to Seapoint Ave. This area is highly recommended on crowded summer days.
d. Do not launch / land north of Seapoint Ave. Do not launch / land within the HB Cliff area.
e. Launching / landing between tower 10 and the pier is not recommended.
f. Launching / landing south of the pier is not recommended.
g. When in the water, maintain upwind position so as to generally return to shore north of tower 10.
h. If upwind position cannot be maintained north of tower 8, get out of the water and walk back upwind.
3. Launching and Landing:
a. Launch in middle of the beach maintaining at least a 100 ft. safe zone downwind.
b. Launch with safety leash attached, with a working emergency release system.
c. Do not launch near road.
d. Do not launch near other beach users, towers, poles or large objects.
e. Do not launch if uncertain of the wind / weather conditions.
4. Beach Users: All beach users have the right of way. This includes swimmers, waders, sunbathers, shoreline spectators, skimboarders, etc.
5. Surfers (surfers in this sense includes conventional surfers, body boarders, windsurfers and stand up paddlers):
a. All surfers have the right of way in the water.
b. Surfers have the right of way on all waves.
c. Do not kite within 100 ft upwind of surfers (use good judgement).
d. Do not ride shore break if surfers are present down the line.
6. Other Kiters / Windsurfers:
a. The starboard tack rider generally has the right of way (the rider looking over his right shoulder). However:
b. This does not apply to a situation where a kiter / windsurfer is riding a wave. The outgoing kiter always yields to a kiter / windsurfer riding a wave.
7. Crowded Days:
a. It is up to us to use best judgement as to when it is too crowded to kitesurf. Otherwise, we will not be the ones to make that decision in the future.
b. Avoid kiting early in the day on crowded days. Wait until later in the afternoon when the crowds clear out.
c. On crowded holiday weekends, avoid the area between the pier and HB Cliffs. North of the Cliffs to Seapoint Ave. is the preferred area for these times.
d. Do not kite crowded areas especially on marginally light wind days. 14-15 mph is the suggested minimum wind speed in which to kite.
8. Equipment:
a. In higher winds, always secure kite with sand when not in use.
b. Always roll bar and lines up when not in use.
c. Board leashes, retractable leashes are not recommended for use in waves at HB.

Kitesurfing at HB was recently blackballed due to people not keeping to the above guide to kiting safely. We need you to help to keep HB open for all to enjoy. Receive an orange tag by signing your agreement to these guidelines and by demonstrating your abilities as suggested in item #1. Orange tags demonstrate your safety awareness as well as your community-minded intentions.

SCKA, since it’s establishment in 1999 has had kitesurfing safety as it’s primary focus. It is the most recognized local kiting safety organization. Please work with us to keep this area open!

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And here is the text of the ability level handout:

Huntington City Beach Kitesurfing Ability Guidelines

Huntington City Beach is not a beginning kitesurfing spot. The Southern California Kiteboarding Association (SCKA) recommends that only VERY EXPERIENCED kiters should attempt to kite at Huntington Beach due to challenging conditions in the area. Please respect this area by developing your kitesurfing skills outside of Huntington Beach until reaching an advanced skill level. This effort is intended to promote respect for beachgoers, surfers, swimmers and lifeguards, and to preserve restriction-free kitesurfing in Huntington Beach.

All are welcome to kitesurf Huntington City Beach when ready. In terms of judging rider readiness, SCKA proposes the following measures of skill that should be mastered prior to kitesurfing at Huntington City Beach:

1. Ability to stay upwind: A rider must be able to return to the same spot on the beach from which he launched.
2. Keeping kite in the air: A rider should not be dropping his kite in the water more than one time in about every 3-5 days of kitesurfing.
3. Kite flying by feel: Kiter must not have to look at the kite to know how to control it. He should be able to fly the kite with eyes closed, solely by the feel of tension in the lines.
4. Jumping: Because of waves, a kiter will be required to jump at Huntington whether wanting to or not. Rider must be able to fully control orientation, and to accurately predict landing spot in a jump.
5. Transitions/Jibes: should be second nature and effortless as Huntington conditions inevitably will present circumstances where a kiter cannot jump a wave and/or whitewash.
6. Kite-Launch: Rider must be capable of quickly re-launching kite in less than 30 – 45 seconds.
7. Self-Rescue: In the event of a downed kite that cannot be re-launched, the kiter must be able, while in the water, to wind up his lines onto the bar, and use the kite to drag into shore.
8. Self landing of kite: A kiter must know how to land his kite on the ground while respecting other people on the beach. Rider must be able to safely land kite with or without assistance.

SCKA recommends nearby flat water areas as preferred spots to learn, where the rider will progress much faster in an environment that is much safer for the rider and others on the beach. Appropriate sites are listed at www.scka.org.

Huntington is not beginner friendly for the following reasons:

1. Waves: Waves can overcome a kiter causing: - loss of line tension – loss of kite control – line entanglement - equipment loss or destruction. A kiter tumbling underneath waves can easily lose orientation and must be able to control the kite in the air eyes closed, purely by feel.
2. Current: Strong currents are often present in the same direction as the wind. This tends to drag kitesurfers quickly towards the pier. It also means that a kitesurfers ability to stay upwind in the water is greatly reduced.
3. People: Huntington City Beach becomes extremely packed with beach users in the spring, summer, and fall. Other nearby areas are much less densely filled with beach users. Kiters must have experience and good judgment in determining when it is safe to launch / land kite in the proximity of others.
4. Surfers: It is imperative that a kitesurfer can devote enough attention to know where surfers are and keep a safe distance away from them when riding and jumping. A kitesurfer needs to have complete control over where the wind, current, and waves are taking him in order to avoid surfers.

SCKA, since it’s establishment in 1999 has had kitesurfing safety as it’s primary focus. It is the most recognized local kiting safety organization. Local riders may approach any beginner not using good judgment and appearing to pose a safety risk. Please do not take any resulting comments as a threat – this is simply an attempt to keep this area safe and available to all kiters when properly prepared.

Thank you for your consideration for others. Happy Kiting!

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