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Kite Landboarding And Wind-Powered Vehicle Use In Washington State

Washington state offers dedicated kiters year round riding around Seattle and beyond. And while kiteboarding/kitesurfing has been gaining popularity the last few years, landboarding, on the other hand, remains a relatively unknown outdoor activity to general public, and not very popular even among dedicated kiteboarders.

It's mainly due to the fact that the last few years, wind-powered vehicle use on Washington Ocean Beaches was prohibited.

But following a public process that included public meetings in Ilwaco and Ocean Shores, on March 26, 2015 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission approved the use of wind-powered vehicles on portions of Parks-managed ocean beaches. Wind-powered vehicles include kite buggies, blo-karts, kite boards and other wind/sand sailing recreational vehicles. Prior to reaching this decision, State Parks held demonstration events with wind-powered vehicle users to understand the potential for safety issues, user conflict and impacts to wildlife.

Till recently, wind-powered vehicles ( buggies, land sailboards, mountain boards... ) were perceived as a threat to public safety and important wildlife habitat. Back then, wind-powered vehicle enthusiasts must travel to Oregon if they wanted to sail. The beaches there were open, and the Washington kiters asked for the same opportunity that Oregon enthusiasts had.

From 2010-2013, State Parks conducted demonstration events with wind-powered vehicle users. After a brief explanation of the vehicles in discussion, the commissioners directed Parks staff to move forward with a pilot program. After a few meetings, the permission was granted to fly in specific locations on Washington’s beaches, North Beach up by Moclips, Pacific Beach, South Beach area near Grayland and Klipsan Beach on the Long Beach Peninsula.

During 2010-2013 of the pilot program, the wind-powered vehicle enthusiasts demonstrated their sport, talked to many beach goers, owners of property, businesses. All were very excited and interested. Many local businesses believed it could create a significant tourist boost for the area, especially if users were allowed to organize and sponsor events such as races.

Nowadays, wind-powered vehicles are allowed—subject to certain conditions and seasonal restrictions—in designated areas on Long Beach, South Beach and North Beach in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. Maps are available below and at park kiosks and in park offices.

The State Parks Director establishes the areas on the beach where use can occur : 
  • The maximum speed limit for wind-powered vehicles is 25 mph.
  • Use is limited to the hard sand portion of the beach.
  • Use can occur from sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise restricted.
  • During recreational razor clam digs, use is prohibited from three hours before the published low tide until three hours after the published low tide. 
  • A minimum age of 16 is required for operation. Those under 16 must be accompanied a person 16 years of age or older. 
  • Wind-powered vehicles must yield right-of-way to all pedestrian, equestrian and vehicle traffic.
  • Wind-powered vehicles cannot be operated in a reckless manner, including weaving through congested pedestrian, equestrian or vehicular traffic; operating unnecessarily close to other users of the beach; or recklessly swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision.
I believe that the wind-powered vehicles could be a good thing for the area’s famously windy beaches. It's good for local businesses, and it's great for the wind-powered vehicle enthusiasts.

 And it's amazing for anybody who loves the great outdoors ! Landboarding and other wind powered toys, are lots of fun ! Besides, Washington Ocean Beaches offer many more outdoor activities such as surfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, hiking and camping.

Whether you want to try landboarding, SUP surfing, or a new and exciting sport of land paddling, you can do all that ( if you're adventurous enough, sometimes on the same day ) at Westport/Grailand !

Check out our new site - Seattle Kite, Surf, Paddle

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