If kiteboarding is dangerous? Well, the most important of all is that almost everybody can learn to ride.
Women, men, young and old. Even if you are not the fittest tool in the shed you can learn kiteboarding. A 3 year old has already been spotted kiteboarding.
All you need to be able to kiteboard is to be comfortable at swimming, not be scared of water and know to have fun no matter what you do.
Kiteboarding looks spectacular and to some very sensible people it looks dangerous to soar a few seconds with the kite, also when an accident happens it is often pretty big news.
Due to the nature of the sport, going at it without proper instruction and skill can result into injury.
Injury you say… Is it safer to play soccer?
To access if kiteboarding is dangerous, in 2002 a prospective study was conducted, by Christof Nickel et al., to study kiteboarding injuries. It reported an average of 7 injuries per 1000 kite hours or kH.
The injury rate for kiters without a ‘Quick Release System’ or QR-system was 7.6 injuries per 1000 kH and with a QR-system 4.8 injuries per 1000 kH.
In the study 56% of the injuries attribute to the inability to detach the kite from the harness in a situation involving loss of control over the kite.
Right now in 2020, all control systems have a QR-system integrated in them, it is no option anymore to not have one. This does not mean that the 56% of the injuries is 0% now.
There are for example still people who did not take lessons, making them unaware how or when to use the system or have not had the chance to safely gain reflexes to use the QR-system. Also is old or unmaintained gear reason for failure of detachment.
To compare if it is more dangerous to kiteboard or if it is safer to play soccer? Check out the figure below. The answer might surprise you!
As with many other sports the risk of injuries is higher during competition then training and the higher of a level people train, the bigger the chance of becoming injured you have.
The beginners have the least injuries per 1000 kH and the experts and intermediates have the most.
So how dangerous is kiteboarding really?
The conclusion is that kiteboarding is a pretty safe and relatively easy extreme sport.
Just like driving a car, the more advanced you are and the further you push, the bigger risk of injury.
But getting in a car not even knowing how to use the break or clutch, or heck not even knowing that turning the wheel to the left makes the car go to the left, is begging for problems.
If getting a kite friend to teach you is safe? That depends on the friend. If the friend is trained in teaching kiteboarding then yes. Otherwise no, because kiteboarding is not only about being able to ride, but also about making risk assessments. It is important that learning how to ride and learning how to make risk assessments are being taught simultaneously.
To be safe in the water, you will therefore need to find a school that you trust so you can safely train and learn and have the skills to not only kite, but also not get into easily avoidable problems. The only way to learn how to kite is by kiting. So we do not recommend group lessons (3+) per 1 instructor since you will not have a lot of kite flying time.