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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Partial ban for power kiters
Kite surfer
Llandudno's power kiters will be restricted to a set zone
A partial ban on the growing extreme sport of power kiting is to be imposed at a popular Welsh beach.

Conwy council's cabinet voted in favour of the restrictions on Llandudno's West Shore - a favourite haven for holidaymakers - on Thursday.

A special zone will now be set aside for followers of the sport and permits introduced.

The move follows fears over the dangers of the sport which involves flying a huge kite to propel a surfboard or wheeled buggy at high speeds over land or sea.

The sport is already banned in some UK resorts, but the Conwy authority stopped short of a full ban, deciding to work out a safety code with enthusiasts instead.

As kites become more available, anyone can buy them over the internet so safety becomes more important
Adam Jones, kite surfer

The move is being welcomed by local fans of the sport who have seen interest soar over the past three years.

Power kiter Adam Jones opened the Turbulence kite shop in Llandudno Junction a year ago and has helped put the code together.

"In the past five years, there has been a huge development in kite buggying, which started about 12 years ago," he said.

"It has been joined recently by the comparatively new kite surfing which has become huge.

"As kites become more available, anyone can buy them over the internet without any guidelines so safety becomes more important.

"In the shop we ensure everyone goes through the safety procedures when they buy new kit.

"Now we have developed safety guidelines with the harbour master and others to ensure everyone's safety on the beach."

Powerful

Similar restrictions are in force on many other beaches around the UK.

The north Wales coast boasts some of the best sites for the sport, with Newborough, Llugwy and Rhosneigr on Anglesey among the top attractions.

The biggest dangers are the kite lines which could hurt a passer-by by ripping their skin off
Adam Jones
Llandudno West Shore has been used for many years without incident as a venue for windsurfing activity.

But the decision to introduce the regulations came about because of the growth in power kiting which is seen as a more dangerous sport.

A special zone will be created for kiting and windsurfing enthusiasts, permits and insurance rules introduced and a strict safety code enforced.

Surfing championship

Safety guidelines will be drawn up by the council and officials from the North Wales Kite Club.

Permits will cost up to 35 a year for non-club members or 5 for a daily permit.

"The large buggies are very powerful and made of metal so they can cause damage," said Mr Jones.

"But the biggest dangers are the kite lines which could hurt a passer-by by ripping their skin off," he added.

The decision comes as the British Kite Surfing Championship comes to Rhosneigr, where the second round of the competition is held this week.




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