Aberavon Beach in Wales has a kite problem.
Councillor Andrew Tutton fears that there could be a deadly collision between kite surfers and other beach users – he means people walking along the beach.
I must say this has never occurred to me before although I suppose it is a possibility. Tutton believes it’s “an accident waiting to happen.”
Apparently, between 1st – 7th March, 3 men were blown by strong winds out of the designated kite area. They themselves were injured but what worries Tutton is that by being blown into an undesignated zone the long cables of the kites could catch someone enjoying a stroll on the beach and “could take their heads off.” Although he qualifies the statement by saying “it’s wonderful to see people using the beach – that’s what it’s there for, but the latest incidents happened in a part of the beach where kite surfers shouldn’t be.”
However, he does follow this up by saying that an outright ban, as has happened on other beaches across the UK, is not the answer.
(Hurrah for that!)
“We want to encourage young people to get into sport and keep them out of trouble, but without putting other people at danger,” he said.
Russell Ward, head of lifelong learning, culture and leisure has been discussing this with BKSA (British Kite Surfing Association) and says that “we have identified a section of Aberavon Beach that is most appropriate for kite surfing. As with all extreme sports we would recommend that enthusiasts seek appropriate advice on where it is safe to enjoy their hobby, stay within the areas that have been designated for the sport and, recognising the inherent dangers of kite surfing, that they wear appropriate safety clothing.”
Well, there you have it. You are still ‘safe’ to kite surf on Aberavon Beach, but please abide by the rules. It seems that the noose is tightening around our necks and our percepted freedom of the waters is becoming more elusive.
However, it is down to us to be the courteous ones. Rather like snowboarders and skiers – the snowboarders are the hoods and the skiers the gentlemen … you know that one?! Well, let us, the kitesurfers, be the gentlemen of the seas so that more and more beaches don’t become restricted to us.
If you behave with good manners you are likely to receive respect. If you respect others then the respect is mutual. We don’t want to become the pariah of the waters, do we?