1. Buy and use a trainer kite, preferably with a bar, to improve your kite flying skills before you start kiting.
2. Take at least 5 lessons with a qualified kitesurfing instructor. There is no safe substitute for this. Learning from friends or by yourself is likely to compromise your and other's safety. Remember how you learnt to drive.
3. Ask other kiters about any new location you start kiting at so you can avoid any hazards and kitesurfing exclusion zones, some of which might not be obvious.
4. Practice using your safety releases when it is safe to do so.
5. Research carefully the best kite, board and harness for your style of kiting and buy new or good second hand equipment. Don’t save money by buying an old kite that is difficult or dangerous to fly. Make safety your first priority.
6. Check the weather forecast and avoid storms and strong weather changes. A lot of kiters have been injured when wind speeds dramatically increase and they get lofted or dragged somewhere unpleasant, or even fatal.
7. Don't jump in shallow water. It looks cool on the beach, and you know you can land it, but if you don’t you can easily break your ankle, leg or neck.
8. Wear a helmet when you are learning. I still wear my surf helmet as it keeps my sunglasses secure on my head and it has protected me from a few nasty bumps.
9. Look after your fellow kiters. Our sport is friendly and pleasant. Assisting kiters in need and helping each other out will keep everyone safe and having a nice time. Its great to get assistance when you need it in return.
10. Respect other beach and water users, and follow local rules and regulations. The future of our sport hinges on keeping good relations with beach goers, other water craft and local residents and authorities. You must never crash your kite on a crowded beach, or on anybody or anything else. If in doubt, choose a quieter more suitable location. Incidents and accidents at kitesurfing locations could result in kitesurfing being banned.
11. Join your local Kiteboarding Association. Your local Kiteboarding Association runs kiteboarding events, including social ones, liaises with local governments to retain access to kiting locations, and may also offer you 3rd party insurance.
Got a Top Tip? You are welcome to contribute your tips and information to this handbook here.