NEWS

Kiteboarding ban reconsidered by Vancouver park board

05/27/2013 03:18 EDT | Updated 07/27/2013 05:12 EDT
Kiteboarders are asking the Vancouver park board to end a summertime ban on the sport and allow them to launch from the beach at Spanish Banks all year round.

Simon Kent, president of the Squamish Windsports Society, says during the winter kiteboarders use the beach at western end of Spanish Banks to launch.

But the sport is banned by the park board from the May long weekend until after Labour Day.

The board will review that bylaw tonight. Any changes would likely result in a special zone being designated for the sport.

Kent says most kiteboarding takes place a fair distance from the shore, but there are a few reasons the relatively new sport has been banned for about a decade.

"There was some concern about safety in the early days because the equipment was quite new. And the second reason would be, I guess, maybe a fear of the unknown. It does look like quite a strange sport and I'm sure the park board is wondering how we're going to integrate that with the average beach-goer."

Kiteboarding is akin to windsurfing, except kiteboarders strap into a smaller board and use a large kite to harness the wind's power.

The Vancouver park board permits windsurfing year-round only at Locarno Beach in front of the Jericho Sailing Centre and between the yellow buoys at Kitsilano Beach.

Currently the most popular summer location for kiteboarding is the mouth of the Squamish River in Howe Sound, where the Squamish Windsports Society runs a special launching facility equipped with rescue crews on jet skis during the summer.

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