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Kitesurfing Rules of the Road – Part 2

So you’re kitesurfing away from the shore, out of the white water and riding on the open ocean. From here on things start to get a little bit more complicated as there are several laws which overlap and it’s up to you, in each given situation, to work out which one to apply.

The most important law and the one which normally takes precedence over the others in kitesurfing is the law of the starboard rider. If you don’t know your port and your starboard, port is left and starboard right. This can be easily remembered with the saying “there’s no port left in the bottle.” Hence the starboard rider is the one with his right foot forward or who is looking over his right shoulder. This applies when you’re riding heel side so if you riding heel side you right foot is forward and you’re looking over your right shoulder you’re riding on starboard tack and so have right of way. Simply reverse this if riding toe side, so you’ll be kitesurfing with your left foot foot forward looking over your left shoulder.

You’ll often hear, especially sailor types, screaming starboard at you as they pass you. Up till now I imagine you’ve blithely smiled back and maybe waved, totally ignorant of what they’re talking about. By screaming starboard they’re indicating that they are on a starboard tack and thus have right-of-way. Roughly translated as get out my way before I wrap my lines around your head!

As I said, this is a rule that will apply when you’re riding in the open ocean, but it’s not the only rule. We will cover these other rules in more detail in a later post. For the moment however if you have any comments or questions please leave them in the comments box below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.