Is kitesurfing dangerous? Kitemares and how to avoid them

Voula, kitegirl from Rhodes, tried kitesurfing for the first time in 2008:


In the past years I had more than one bad kite experience:

I had started kitesurfing one year before when this happened: I was out on the water kiting on my shiny pink kitecloud – I hadn’t noticed the beginner behind me. Suddenly he crashed his kite on mine, the kites went down and this guy wanted to relaunch his kite immediately! The bad thing was that his lines were all over my throat. So I screamed to him not to relaunch and at the same time tried to protect my throat from getting strangulated of all this lines. Luckily the jetski from the station came just in time to keep him from more relaunch trials – so that nothing bad happened except the terrible moments.

Another time I was just practicing downloops. The wind was quite light and the jetski of the kitestation was not in the water. Suddenly my kite dropped and I wasn’t able to relaunch it. I tried to do a Self Rescue but instead of swimming to the kite I tried to pull it to me on the lines. I tried so hard till my some of fingers bleeded, I had drunk liters of saltwater and finally I got a panic attack too. I was close to drown, but again lucky me a friend came just in time to save me.

I wanted to kite in Faliraki, I remember it was in January. The waves were huge and the wind was up to 40 knots. I took my twintip and went for a session on the water. When a huge wave was arrising in front of me, I wanted to change direction. It didn’t work out, I lost my board and took a deep breath before I was pulled under the water. I felt like in a bag, been kicked and bitten from all directions. I felt like I was out of breath, and then luckily I could come to the water surface again. I was able to put the kite in direction to the shore so it pulled me on the beach. This experience was really a terrible one.


Heli, lives in Austria/Greece and tried kitesurfing for the first time about 13 years ago:


My kitemare happened in Grado, Italy. The wind wasn’t very strong when I was out for my session. Suddenly it dropped completely, so that my kite fell on the water and I could not relaunch it again. The main problem was: The wind was sideoffshore, and all the time I was trying to relaunch I was pulled further out on the water. I was alone – no other kiters and no boat around me. Of course you get afraid if you are swimming for such a long time. Good for me that I was able to do a Self Rescue and finally get back to the beach with my kite. But all in a whole it took me about two hours (not including the riding before). I came out some kilometres downwind from where I had started. And of course I was totally exhausted!

Since this day I don’t go for a session in offshore conditions when there is no rescue boat. You never know if the wind drops, suddenly gets superstrong or something different may happen – like equipment that gets broken.


Monika, currently living in Mallorca, Kitesurfer since 2008:


When I was a beginner I joined a group to do a downwinder. During riding I unfortunately lost my board. I wasn’t able to get back to it again – and after that I could not see it anymore, it was lost. The result was that I was drifting very far out on the sea in the deep water, waiting for someone to save me. Finally the rescue boat arrived and took me back to the shore. If you are floating for such a long time you have enough time to think about what swims or better said might swim underneath you …. 

What I would do to avoid a situation like this: Learn the upwind bodydrag to your board as fast as possible!

On the follwing page you find tips to reduce the risk for kitemares and what to do in hairy situations.


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[…] back of my head that always reminds me: What if??? I don’t have to list possible injuries or kitemares which can happen cause there are so many different ones. And I already experienced some really […]


[…] critical incidents know how quickly it can go wrong – as you can also read in this article about kitemares. It’s a fact: Even if you act as a role model in case of safety aspects this does not mean […]

Agostino Martino
18. February 2017 10:14

Hi to all, I’m Agostino from NewKiteZone IKO kitecenter here in Punta Pellaro (Reggio Calabria, Italy). I would like to precise: we are present on our spot 10 years ago now, with all facilities AND boat rescue in the SAFE side of the spot (wind side-on to on = Italy coast in case of problems, not Africa….). Jorgen, as I read, did the wrong choice to exit in a point what is simply dangerous, in fact in that point the wind is side-side off. I want give my advise in general to avoid kitemares: 1) study the whole kite spot… Read more »


[…] So, I hope these reasons are enough motivation for those who have never tried to kite at a spot with very challenging conditions or in cold weather. But: As kiting in difficult conditions involves higher risks there are  some things to consider before you go! After all, nobody wants to experience a kitemare like the guys in this article! […]


[…] cause nearly every kitesurfer had the one or other kitemare (read more about personal kitemares in this article). Also remind yourself to regularly go through all the safety rules. If you are afraid of e. g. […]