Kiteboarding does hold the world record for speed sailing, at over 60+ MPH. It's also been recently incorporated into the Olympics. However, typical board speeds in regular ocean conditions are usually only 10-20 MPH, perhaps more if conditions are right. Surfers on waves regularly hit 10-15MPH, perhaps more on larger waves.
As for the kiteboarder going into the surf competition zone: didn't this happen LAST year? This seems to be the only kiteboarding related potential incident at Tourmaline, despite the fact that there have been active kiteboarders there since 1999.
And speaking of potential incidents, why is someone is throwing rocks at kiteboarders, just because he doesn't like them?
Statistically, kiteboarding and windsurfing at Tourmaline is actually a rare event, as it requires a certain wind speed and wind direction that only happens during certain wind and weather patterns, during a certain time of year.
This season is typically December through March, and about 3 days out of the week. And then, the typical window of this wind is from about 11AM to about 3PM. There are rare exceptions, but it's actually not often that it's all that good for kiteboarding or windsurfing there.
So why do the kiteboarders and windsurfers go to Tourmaline when it's already crowded with surfers? Well, it's the only ocean spot with winds strong enough to ride in most of Southern California that time of year due to some unique topographical and meteorological features. Most other beaches just don't have the wind strength required to ride, so being the only spot, the kiteboarders and windsurfers go there. They aren't there specifically for the waves or crowds. They are there for the wind. And certain selfish people don't like that fact.
Hi, I'm a somewhat beginner kiteboarder, so I have two things to add:
1) As a beginner you will NOT see me or my kind at Tourmaline. We're safe and sound kiting to the east of Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.
2) The kiteboarding community is very self-policing. There will always be exceptions, but it's in our best interest not to overly perturb the surfers and to stay out of their way. Tourmaline is one of the only places on the ocean in San Diego where kiteboarders can enjoy the good winds and waves that come with kiting out in the open.
The bottom line: can't we all just get along? :) If a kiteboarder at Tourmaline is endangering surfers, they are out of line and should be asked to get out of there. Otherwise, hopefully we can peacefully coexist, and in any case as the article notes under most conditions surfers and kiteboarders won't be out in the water simultaneously.
Wow. The "Aloha Spirit" sure bit the dust at a speed in excess of 5 mph. A north wind indeed.
Seems to me whenever there is an event such as the Long Board Classic, the area should be marked off with buoys. Surely, if the prize money can be raised and the event has the approval of the local authorities (lifeguards, etc), buoys can be procured.
Also, I don't understand why the kite and sail surfers are not given their own separate area. The fact is, those type of surfers do not really need to be where the big surf is. That's the whole idea of having a sail or kite; you don't need a wave to go like a bat outta hell. Standard surfers do and should have priority access to the prime areas.
Kites and sails can get a good lift from just about any wave. Mixing boarders, kites, and sails together is just asking for a problem. Trying to control the speed of any of these methods undermines the very spirit that brings people to the surf. The speed is not the problem; having a mixed use area is.
To use the author's point of "safety principle of separating people traveling at different speeds", it is not safe for riding surfers to be near surfers that are sitting in the lineup, particularly if they are not in complete control due to the breaking of the wave or potential wipeouts.
Also, kiteboarding is neither desirable or practiced in the same offshore winds that you mention surfers craving, as it blows off-shore (potentially blowing a kiter out to sea) and is not ideal for riding in waves (wind and waves going diametrically opposite directions.
Kiters are usually only found in side-on or sideshore conditions during conditions that usually last a couple hours a day out of a couple months of the year in Southern California, the same conditions that are usually undesirable for surfers (the direction of wind the blows the tops off of waves, not offshore like you mention). These are the conditions that surfers usually bemoan as 'blown-out'.
Also, kitesurfers are usually found way upwind and out to shore compared to surfers, who are usually concentrated in the areas with the best breaking peaks. There is a lot of navigable room for kiters, and they tend to be very spread out.
Also, the world speed records are achieved in locations with unique conditions such as Namibia, where riders plot a specific course by digging a shallow trench that fills with water, and is done in remote conditions in 40+ mph winds on specialized boards. To imply that they are zipping through a California surfing lineup at 50mph is disingenuous.
Lastly, beyond the legal issue of right-of-way, there is the social issue of courtesy and respect. There are ocean users who are tolerant and sharing of our natural resources of water, wind, and waves, and there are those who seek to limit them to either just themselves or their limited demographic.
Resistance to different recreational activities is often practiced, sometimes with stinkeye, cursing, or resorting to violence or threats of violence. (see - longboard vs shortboard vs SUP vs bodyboard vs kneeboard vs kayak vs kiteboard vs bodysurf vs swimmer).
The title, byline, and general tone of your article appears to pander to the rock-throwing crowd and shows a myopic perspective towards shared use of California's greatest natural resource.
Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Ken Leighton 3:06 p.m., Dec. 20
Ken Harrison 2:11 p.m., Dec. 20
Andrew Hamlin 1 p.m., Dec. 20
Katelyn Montero 11 a.m., Dec. 20
Ian Anderson 10 a.m., Dec. 20
Frances Aguilar 9:54 a.m., Dec. 20
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