There seems to have been a lot of comments on forums recently that go along the lines of

What are you thinking about? You’re giving our sport a bad name and making it look dangerous!

The comments are usually in response to somebody saying they’ve been tethered flying, flying a 10.5m Blade in 90mph wind or trying a quadruple backloop double kiteloop.

I am as keen as everyone else to see the sport progress well and gain the status and reputation it deserves, but this paranoid approach is not what’s needed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting dangerous kiting, but we need to realise this is a sport where people are going to push it, and sometimes people will get hurt. However, as long as something is only dangerous to whoever is flying, it really isn’t a problem (OK, it could be a big problem for the flyer, but not in the context I’m talking about). I don’t think that either the public or the councils are ignorant of the fact that kiting is dangerous, nor do I think they would differentiate that much between someone breaking their legs in a buggy in 10mph and someone snapping himself doing a quaruple backloop double kiteloop.

Telling people not to try dangerous tricks or fly really powered up is not the answer, it just doesn’t work like that. It’s hard to deny that jumping 20ft (proper 20ft!) on land is very dangerous, but everyone likes to jump so where do we draw the line? 10ft? 5ft? It’s just not happening.

What we should be doing is making sure that everyone knows the risks involved, both to themselves and, importantly, the others around them. This is what’s really important in my mind. Although we’re fortunate enough to live in Scotland where it’s not hard to find plenty of space all to yourself, even some of the popular spots up this way are starting to fill up and, as anyone who’s been to St Andrews on a bank holiday weekend in summer will tell you, it’s starting to get a little scary! Everyone should know to get insurance.

When people are as aware as possible about the dangers they can make educated decisions about their kiting and if they want to be a lemming they can do so without endangering anyone but themselves.

Flying powerful kites, on water or land, can lead to trouble. It’s a dangerous sport – get over it.