The Kiteboarding Association of the Turks & Caicos Islands has recently become the official NGO of the country for kiteboarding. Though it’s been a long process, it’s also been a great education and one that has highlighted many important kiteboarding related issues.
The Association was set up because we saw the sport growing tremendously in the TCI and realised that as more individuals were involved, the greater the need for a united voice and representation. The days of just five of us out on the water were long gone. We started by creating goals for KBATCI and a Mission Statement. This was our foundation to further build and develop the group. Our Mission Statement is as follows:
“It is the aim of the KBATCI to safeguard the future of this sport throughout the Turks & Caicos by advocating safe and responsible riding through proper kiteboarding etiquette. We are committed to preserving free and open access to the nation's beaches while respecting the use of those very same accesses by other members of the public.”
By creating KBATCI we now have a unified voice for our community. Decision makers have one place to ask questions and find answers and this makes it much easier for them and more likely for us to have a good outcome.
It’s helped everyone to think broader than just as a kiteboarder. We’ve seen and realised some lack of respect of other beach goers and impressions can last a long time so it just takes one bad event to sour someone’s opinion on the sport. To highlight this issue we have created an etiquette sign with recommendations for kiteboarders which we hope will bring their attention to the needs of other beach goers, curb any reckless riding and create a happy situation for everyone. So far the response has been amazing and has helped to remind us all that sometimes just a gentle reminder is all that’s needed!
Another great side effect of the Association is how we’ve become unified. We were all friends before forming the group, but now that bond of common love and respect for our sport and having to work together has increased and strengthened our friendships.
If there isn’t a kiteboarding association or federation for your area, set one up! Be a leader in your kiteboarding community! It’s not about the me, it’s about the we!