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 Saturday, 4 January, 2003, 17:04 GMT
Surfers put safety first
Kite surfer
Kitesurfing is booming in Exmouth
A group of kitesurfers have issued a set of safety guidelines after a number of collisions with boats in Exmouth.

Last month a kitesurfer became stranded on Maer Rocks in the Exe estuary, a popular spot for kitesurfers.

He was rescued by a windsurfer, while Exmouth lifeboat retrieved his equipment.

But harbour authorities say it is only a matter of time before a more serious incident occurs and have asked kitesurfers to stay out of the shipping channel.

Code welcomed

Now a group of kitesurfers have set up a club in Exmouth and have issued a set of guidelines.

These include safety advice, use of equipment and tips for flying and landing.

Lifeboat crews have also been given special training in how to help kitesurfers in trouble.

The kitesurfing board is similar to a surfboard and can reach speeds in excess of 30mph.

The kite is attached to the surfer by a harness at the end of a 30-metre line and is controlled by a bar similar to a water-ski handle.

Ban threat

Bernard Hughes, of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, said: "We welcome the new code for the safety of kitesurfers and other users of the Exe as well.

"The equipment is difficult to control and kitesurfers can easily get themselves into trouble."

Kitesurfers have already run into trouble in other parts of the country.

In Poole, Dorset, the local authority is considering a total ban, and kitesurfing is already banned in the harbour entrance and the main shipping channels.


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