The summer months bring a big influx of visitors to Exmouth and a big increase in the number of kiters on the water too. It’s in everyone’s interests that the sport is practiced safely and with proper consideration shown to other beach users. As local kitesurfers we’re keen to ensure that when kiters do get into trouble, they receive appropriate help as quickly as possible.
With this in mind three members of the Exe Kiteboarders club met with the local RNLI Lifeguards last week to provide them with some specific training on how to deal with kites and kiters. The instruction was lead by Steph Bridge who runs local kiting school and shop, Edge Watersports, with husband Eric. Ralph Collison and I made up the rest of the team from Exe Kiteboarders and 10 lifeguards attended the session, including both experienced RNLI crew members and new recruits.
The session included land-based training on handling kites: launching and landing, powering up and depowering, and how the safety systems work. We also spent time discussing education of new kiters on the characteristics of the spot, debriefing on a couple of the more serious incidents that occurred last summer, and discussing the forthcoming ‘Edge Race Cup’ to be held on 24th and 25th June. We then went on to practice some water rescue scenarios with both kiters and their gear brought to safety by the lifeguards using jet skis.
It was great to get to know the guys from the RNLI who do such a great job and the session was well received by all concerned. We’d encourage other clubs to offer similar sessions to their local lifeguards – it’s gotta make sense!