(on behalf of the Ontario Kiteboarding Association - originally sent out in the OKA eNewsletter)
There were some issues over the long weekend with kiters riding through the swim buoys at Hanlan's Point. These kiters were also launching in a heavily heavily crowded sunbathing area. The Lifeguards at Hanlon’s point received several complaints from swimmers and sunbathers and called in the Marine Unit, presumably to ticket the kiteboarders for riding in the swim area. Fortunately another rider intervened and encouraged the kiteboarders to stay out of the swim area. No one was hurt, however the fact that the authorities were contacted makes this a very serious situation and puts our sport and access issues under further scrutiny.
We'd like to remind the community that we must stay out of the swim areas and a safe distance from all swimmers at all times. Please note, this is nothing new, and not a specific issue for GTA kiters: kiteboarders are forbidden to ride within swim areas at beaches all across Ontario. This policy is in effect any time lifeguards are present, basically from morning until about 6PM, from July 1st to Labour Day.
A reminder of the designated kiting areas (craft zones) in the GTA (please note these areas were created by the GTA lifeguard authorities in hopes of preserving our access while keeping us out of the swim areas):
Cherry Beach designated craft zone:
50m West of the lifeguard tower to the East of the dog off leach area. It is recommended to launch as far upwind as possible to avoid straying into swim areas. (this launch spot is suitable on Northeast to Southwest winds only). This is a huge launch/landing area, so there is no excuse for entering the swim area.
Hanlan's Point designated craft zone:
50m North of the swim area to 50m south of the airport buoys/fence (this launch spot is suitable on Northwest to Southwest winds only). This is a huge launch/landing area, so there is no excuse for entering the swim area.
Ashbridges Bay designated craft zone:
East of the first rocky point (east of the pool). (this launch spot is suitable on Northeast to Southeast winds only). Ashbridges Bay is the busiest beach in the GTA and (as the authorities have reminded us) we are fortunate to have access to this beach.
A further note on Ashbridges Bay: The designated launch site is a long way upwind from the “original spot” (more or less in front of the pool). It requires a longer walk and is a pretty small launch/landing area. But it is outside of the swim area and we are very fortunate to have this spot. If the community is to continue to use our "original spot" we need to keep it organized (lines wound up) and kites stacked and minimize the impact on other beach users. Most importantly when launching/landing we need to cross immediately outside the swim area and remain outside of it. For now it appears the city is turning a blind eye to our use of the “original spot”, however that is something we must not take advantage of. We are under tremendous scrutiny at this spot and it would only take a single incident for us to lose access. If the Ashbridges beach is crowded (especially warm weekends) or there are lots of swimmers in the water, we need to use the designated craft zone east of the rocky groin, upwind of the “original spot”.
A note to beginners/instructors: Do not body drag through the swim areas!!!!!!!
We have to stay out of them and cannot afford to have kites crashing and re-launching in the swim area.
Please! If you see people riding in the swim areas or acting in a reckless way, politely remind them of the rules, and of the scrutiny our riding spots are under. Disrespecting the GTA imposed regulations in the swim areas could result in all of us losing access to our launch sites. Pass this email on to your friends. And if they haven’t done, please ask them to join the oka at http://kiteboardontario.com/?page_id=2So
As a final reminder to everyone
• Stay out of the swim areas, especially if lifeguards are present and there are swimmers in the water.
• Minimize your impact on other beach users, wind up kite lines, stack kites, etc.
• Self police! If you see someone doing something they shouldn’t go talk to them
• Spread the word on this issue! It effects all of us.
Thanks, any questions, concerns, or comments contact us at email@example.com
Have a great weekend, warm winds in the forecast, so enjoy!