A popular extreme sport is getting some boundaries. Starting July 1st, kite surfers at Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado will have to launch and land in a designated area. State Parks and Recreation District officials say it’s an effort to keep the public safe. John Anderson is a Permanent Lifeguard for the State. He says it can be dangerous for swimmers and kite surfers to share the same space.
“We do get a lot of concerned parents and concerned citizens asking what are we doing to prevent them from running into their child,” says Anderson of the kite surfers that frequent Silver Strand.
Kite surfers will have a designated launch and land area that spans 132 yards along the beach. Some surfers worry the area is too small.
“It seems like they’re crunching us on space,” explains Erik Knutson. “If they keep doing that there’s going to be accidents.”
State officials say it was an accident that prompted the changes. Coronado resident Bill Mires says his son visited from Northern California with his family in April. Mires’ ten-year-old grand-daughter was enjoying a boogie board ride when it happened.
“A kite went down in the ocean and blew in towards shore, and the kite strings got wrapped around the neck of a 10-year-old, his ten-year-old daughter,” Mires says of his son’s daughter. Mires says his son quickly got his grand-daughter untangled. “It could have been very serious,” he explains. After that, Mires quickly went to work writing letters and emails to local officials asking for a change. “There’s plenty of beach for everybody,” he says. “It’s just a matter of getting some separation.”
Kites surfers say it’s rare though for a surfer to collide with a sunbather. “We’re pretty much self regulating,” says kite surfer Pat Phillips. “We all look out for each other and make sure no one does anything stupid.”
Still state officials insist the potential for pain is there. “We want to try to prevent it before it occurs,” says John Anderson.
Once launched, kite boarders will be able to surf in a designated one mile area. State lifeguards say July 1st begins a six month trial period. They say they will be taking feedback from kite surfers and the community and modifications to the boundary may be made in December. Because of the large number of crowds expected, kite surfing at Silver Strand State Beach will be prohibited on Independence Day and Labor Day.
For some action shots I’ve brought you this great video on YouTube put together by marenich. You can see from the tricks these guys get up to and the speed they are travelling that there is potential for an accident – its just, I guess, that no one really enjoys more rules!