Kiteboarding ban conjure controversy among Key Biscayne residents

The Key Biscayne Village Council held a workshop on November 7 to address the upcoming issue of Kiteboarding following complaints from Village residents and circulating rumors of banning.

“In our workshop we had both sides [experts and residents] coming together to try and find a compromise that would keep all residents safe and allow experienced kiteboarders to use a portion of the Village Beach to launch their kites and ride them outside of the vessel exclusion zone,” Council Member Katie Petros said.

The vessel exclusion zone is a rule stating that kiteboarding can be practiced, but only past the buoys that are 300 feet from shore to ensure the safety of swimmers and beachgoers.

Mayra Lindsay, the Village Mayor, described Kiteboarding as “an up and coming sport, but a potentially dangerous one.”

The various beaches and constant sunshine have drawn many enthusiasts to South Florida, but the ideal conditions have also raised many questions as to how it should be regulated.

Professional organizations such as those at Crandon Park Beach and Matheson Hammock Park provide a safe and designated spot for Kiteboarding members who pay a yearly fee and show proficiency or take lessons.

However, there is a large amount of Kiteboarders who do not practice at those spots, but rather launch from Key Biscayne beaches. Due to this, the number of complaints and incidents have significantly increased during recent years.

“We have a group of residents and beachgoers that are sometimes scared because it gets too crowded and the sails are everywhere, or the novices lose control and land near beach chairs, barely missing people,” Mayor Lindsay said.

The majority of the Council Members have expressed that their goal is to allow for Kiteboarding to continue while ensuring the safety of those near.

“I would be the last person to advocate ‘banning’ any sport or activity from our beach or fields,” Council Member and Director of the Key Biscayne Athletic Club Luis de la Cruz said.