In addition to the equipment we discussed on the previous pages, it's a good idea to invest in some safety gear, including a life vest, head, knee and elbow protection and an emergency line-cutting knife.
It's also useful to know some basics about water sports before trying kitesurfing. For instance, basic water skiing and wakeboarding skills will help you get a feel for how to be towed by your kite. Also, windsurfing skills will teach you to estimate how much wind you'll need to perform a trick or jump. If you have no previous experience with kitesurfing or water sports, take a few lessons.
Many beginning kitesurfers have accidents as a result of miscalculating distances or wind speeds. An instructor certified by the International Kiteboarding Organization can provide you with the tips necessary to avoid rookie mistakes.
Always kitesurf in areas that are designated for the sport. Avoid shallow water and locations with buildings or power lines nearby. Be sure to take a look at the weather report before you set out; you don't want to be caught in a storm out on the water.
Lastly, it's important to be a strong swimmer. If your kite flies away from you, you might have to swim to find the control bar or even swim back to shore. Although a life vest is a valuable tool, nothing beats strong swimming skills. On a related note, you shouldn't kitesurf alone. You should always have somebody to act as your spotter.
For more information on cool water sports, check out the links on the next page.