News from Andy Gratwick, BKSA MD on the current situation with kitesurfing in Britain.
Andy Gratwick says:
I wanted to share with everyone where we are as a sport and an NGB (National Governing Body), and to update and reassure all our members, that we are doing everything we can behind the scenes to ensure the quickest and most sensible route back onto the water for us all.
The current situation
We are all aware of the lockdown across the nation and wider world. Here in the UK all forms of sport and active recreation other than running, walking and cycling have been suspended. This is being driven by government and being supported by national sport bodies like Sport England down to specific NGBs like ourselves.
The risks of the COVID 19 virus are real and has incapacitated or killed many across all ages, race and genders. To date there is no consistently effective treatment or indeed vaccine, and cases can lead to fatalities. The services and especially the NHS are stretched in certain regions to say the least, hence the current lockdown continues, as does our strong advice to not go kiting issued on the 3rd April.
What are we doing to help everyone get back on the water
We have been and continue to be actively engaging with other sporting bodies, both nationally and internationally sharing information on how a safe and sensible return to our activities could be implemented.
We are contributing and working with an Outdoor recreation stakeholders Group led by Natural England. We are working hard to ensure that kitesports are included in the first phase. The government is unlikely to consider a sport by sport return to activity. By working with other activity bodies such as British Canoeing, British Mountaineering Council, Outdoor Industries Association, National Trust and many more, we can ensure we have a consistent and clear approach that delivers a swift and safe return to activity for respective communities.
We are also working on guidelines for participants, schools, clubs to help safe practices. These will be released in the near future.
When and where can you go kiting again
The truth is we do not know this yet. We can all see that time is passing and with that will come easing of the current restrictions.
We can tell you that we will change our advice on participation as soon as it is safe and suitable to do so.
Kitesurfing is a naturally compliant ‘social distance’ sport practised exclusively individually. It is also a perfectly safe sport for competent and sensible practitioners.
There are many other sports and activities in a similar boat (no pun) SUP, Surfing, Sailing, Kayaking, open water swimming to name a few.
Activities will not be itemised individually and clearly some are far more high risk than others. We are working hard to ensure we are right at the front of this curve in phase1 as a very compliant, safe and responsible activity.
There is likely to be a regional emphasis on the first phase, potentially allowing certain activities close to your home first, to reduce wider population mixing.
The fact remains currently, however, that the government is not yet ready to make the move towards further relaxations at this time, as can be seen from the daily information issued when we watch or read the news.
THANK YOU for your continued sensible actions as the great majority of us uphold the current guidance. I see and feel your frustration, I am a kiter too and can’t wait to be able to enjoy our sport again.
The end is in sight and as a very compliant social distance activity we are lobbying to lead not follow in terms of getting back on the water
Please continue to adhere to the guidelines. They are in place for a reason, and breaking them will only serve to prolong the restrictions and strain on society as a whole…..we are in this together, not as individuals.
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