Right of way rules
Explanation of right of way rules that apply to other kitesurfers and craft on the water.
Right of way rules determine who has the “right of way” and who should “yield, or get out of the way” when passing.
- A kiter on a starboard tack (right hand and shoulder forwards) has right of way.
- A kiter on a port tack (left hand and shoulder forwards) must yield right of way (get out the way, pass downwind).
- For two kiters on the same tack, the kiteboarder upwind must give way to the kitesurfer downwind.
While passing in opposite directions:
- the upwind kiteboarder must fly their kite high,
- the kiteboarder downwind must fly their kite low
- Kiters leaving the shore (outgoing) have right of way over incoming riders. Riders close to shore or negotiating broken water are more at risk, so they have the right of way
- Kiters riding on a wave have right of way over other riders, except for outgoing riders as above.
Don’t ever assume you have right of way or insist on taking it – the other kitesurfer or vessel may not know the right of way rule, or they may not be looking!
If two kites collide and the lines get tangled, throw your bar and release your safety immediately. Two tangled kites have twice the power and no control. Under power, kite lines will abrade and cut each other. If both kiters release their kites they are likely to separate themselves with little or no resulting damage.