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STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Harbour Master's office in the Balearics warned yesterday that kite surfing enthusiasts who make a nuisance of themselves on Island beaches by causing danger to bathers and pleasure craft users could find themselves having to pay fines of over 3'000 euros.

It has become a common sight on days when there are strong prevailing winds for dare-devil devotees to fill the skyline of some Balearic beaches with their sail comets and surf boards. But their spectacular leaps and awe-inspiring piroutettes could theoretically land them with a hefty fine although so far this year, no legal complaints have been registered against kite surfers.

The minimum fine of 3'000 euros could increase significantly according to the risk enthusiasts pose to maritime safety, said a spokesman for the Harbour Master's office. The problem starts, he said, when “kiters” enter areas specifically set aside for bathers which are marked out with coloured floating buoys, or when they practice their sport less than 200 metres from the shore when winds are blowing at a speed of more than three knots. Infringing clear rules would be the principal reason for imposing such fines. “Normally,” added Harbour Master office sources, “there are clear marker buoys on beaches showing where kite surfers can enter and exits from the water. In the event they do not exist, then the waters along the shore line are free territory, but it is expected that any kite surfing activity in such circumstances should be conducted with great care.”

In spite of the fact that technically they are allowed on all beaches, kite surfers tend to congregate on two principal beaches - at Can Pastilla and a coastal stretch on the borders of the municipalities of Alcudia and Pollensa.

Bong Ivadeesrirasack is a Thai who teaches kite surfing in Alcudia. He said yesterday that over the years the sport has become easier to learn and the risks are minimal. The only real problems come when there is a high concentration of people in a single area.