Kite Surfing Around Samson Could Be Banned

Kite surfers off Porthloo Beach

Kite surfing around Samson Flats could be banned to protect local wildlife.

That’s the proposal being made by the Marine Management Organisation, part of the new Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, or IFCA.

The group was set to recommend controlling personal water craft to protect marine life.

Fisheries Officer, Steve Watt, says that ornithologists are concerned that the kites have affected the breeding of terns and kittiwakes because they resemble birds of prey.

However he hopes a voluntary agreement, for kite surfers to avoid the Tresco side of the island, can be agreed rather than going down the expensive by-law route.

Kite surfing has become a popular pastime on the islands for both visitors and residents, with around a dozen regular participants in the sport, and Pete Hicks, a keen local kiter, says the area around Samson is, in his view, “the very best place for kite surfing in the UK.”


Pete, who also advises people visiting the islands on where to kite, says the argument that the kite is like a bird of prey is “utter rubbish.”

Pete says he’s watched the birds on the sand banks and shoreline and the kite does not bother them. He added, “in fact to be honest it’s me on the board they get more agitated by, in which case the ban would have to be extended to include windsurfers, wake boarders, kayaks and fast vessels.”

Pete says that a ban would be “drastic” and “using a bit of common sense rather than lines drawn on charts would be a far easier and less dramatic way of sorting any problems out.”

Steve Watt told us that jet skis may also be barred from much of our islands’ waters. There aren’t any used here at the moment but the last one that operated here generated some complaints.

The Duchy of Cornwall has banned them from the harbour and Steve says it may be easier to ask the Steamship Company not to bring them over. Caravans never make it to the islands through a similar arrangement.

The IFCA committee was set to discuss the issue at a meeting this month but the Marine Management representative couldn’t make it to the islands as he sustained an injury whilst erecting a deck chair.


2 Responses to Kite Surfing Around Samson Could Be Banned

  1. Gareth June 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I really do not think that Kitesurfing around the Islands will have any impact on the breeding of terns and kittiwakes. I have never heard such non sense. The numbers of these birds breeding within the UK is in recline generally. I live on a creek in Cornwall where the number of terns seen has dramatically declined over the years and the creek doesn’t get used by Kitesurfers. Time and time again wind sports come under constant pressure and are blamed for things which they are not responsible for. Wind sports are not only environmentally friendly but boost the local economy and add enjoyment to locals with participate in them. Rather focusing on a sport to blame for the decline it is far more likely changes within the climatic conditions are the major factor.

  2. pete hicks June 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    hi keri
    just to put forward a kitesurfers thoughts on any idea of banning kiting at samson.
    I probably get out kiting the most out of the 6 actual people who can kite surf here and i also follow with great interest the forums associated with kiting as it really is a passion of mine to read up on the sport i love and love doing.
    All over the Uk these so called Bans are mentioned time and time again mostly i have to say from a safety aspect which is fair enough in some areas where it gets really busy but in these cases the local kiters form clubs and in the main self regulate how and who kites at any given time.
    in these case common sense prevails as if conditions are marginal or the beach is busy with other users then they dont go out, which is what i try to install for people over here and also for visiting kiters as they very often contact me about places to go and things to look out for.
    The other ban disussed is the wildlife disturbance that may be caused.. the arguement that the kite is like a bird of prey is utter rubbish and i can vouch for this watching the birds on the sand banks and shoreline when i’m kiting.
    they occasionally flutter the first time i go past but after that they are not bothered by the kite at all.
    Infact to be honest its me on the board they get more agitated by in which case then the the ban would have to be extended to include windsurfers, wake boarders, kayaks and fast vessels.

    in the last 3 years i have kited at Samson 13 times….that amounts to about 45 hours in three years so i find it very hard to agree that those 45 hours or so have effected bird life over 3 years.
    i know this as i keep a log of my kite sessions so can tell you the wind condtions, time up there, and dates if required.
    now i hear you say that so why not just not bother if i’ve only been up there for these few times, but for me Samson in the right conditons of easterly force6-7 and low water is probably absolute BEST place to kite in Scilly and even so far as in the UK..!! its an absolute gem of a place due to the local wind effect and flat butter flat water.

    i do avoid the south extremity of the flats down by green island if at all possible as at dead low water the waders are on the sand flats and its too shallow and rocky to kite through there anyway.

    I have a facebook group for kiting in scilly “kitesurf sciily” where i have written at length and in detail to lay out the sort of things other kiters need to know….mostly common sense but after lots of questions from others i saw the need for it.
    the word Ban is such a drastic word to try and use…..a bit of common sense rather than lines drawn on charts would be a far easier and less dramatic way of sorting any problems out.

    pete hicks