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Riding Information and safety tips
Pallarenda is the main riding location for the Townsville crew, and on a busy day there can be more than 20 kites out here. The beach is wide and sandy, and at the lower tides there is a wide sand flat that you need to walk out over before launching. The beach runs approximately north-south, and curves away to the SE back towards Townsville.
Park vehicles and pump up kites in the grassed area near the car park, and then walk down to the sandy beach to rig and launch.
DO NOT FLY KITES BETWEEN THE CAR PARK AND THE BEACH! There are power lines running parallel with the road, and several kites have already ended up in the lines, creating bad vibes between kiters and the council, local residents, police, fire brigade etc.
Our instructors conduct lessons to the south of the main launch spot, and beginners also use this area, so try and stay out of this zone near the beach. Don’t kite into the small creek mouth as this is very close to the power lines.
Ergon and the city council will put up signs at beach access #14, 15.
DO NOT LAUNCH, LAND KITES LEFT OF BEACH ACCESS 14! Please check your safety leashes and keep out of the powerlines!
LOOK UP AND LIVE!
Respect the locals and the visitors – families with kids, dog walkers, and potentially dazed tourists use the beach and may not know about the dangers associated with power kites.
E to ENE’ly in the afternoon (2pm-dark) is the main wind direction, cross onshore port tack and usually about 17-18 knots with gusts into the low 20’s. Click here for the local waters forecast. In a strong wind warning expect winds 20-25 knots with some higher gusts. Sustained winds over 30 knots are rare. The spot has some nice flat water when the tide just covers the sand flat (about 1.4m) – click here for tide predictions.
The Townsville airport (2km away) weather site updates every 30min and is a good guide to the wind strengths at the beach.
Easterly is straight onshore – use caution on launching and landing, and kite upwind out beyond the shore break before attempting any jumps.
There are toilets and freshwater at the car park, and a small convenience store is along the Pallarenda main street.
There are several dangerous marine animals in the area to be aware of. Box Jellyfish (both the larger Chironex and smaller Irukandji) are present in these waters especially from October to May (although Irikandji can potentially be found all year round). They don’t like rough water and waves very much, but they do like to shelter in the mangrove creeks, so the creek mouth area has the highest jellyfish risk. A sting from Chironex is potentially fatal and a sting from Irukandji will likely put you in hospital for 48 hours on IV morphine, so it is wise to wear a full length lycra suit under your boardies and harness during the October to May period. They come in a range of fetching colours with a gorgeous lavender being particularly popular amongst the local crew, especially on funky-friday.
Saltwater crocodiles are also sometimes found in the area, and like the jellyfish, they tend to prefer the sheltered creeks rather than the open beaches. They have not taken anyone near Townsville for decades, but they are becoming more common in recent years. They are not likely to make a grab at a speeding kiteboarder, but someone swimming in the creek area is definitely at higher risk than someone riding a board.
Stingrays are also likely to be found in the creek mouth and over the shallow sand flats. They will only sting you if you step directly on to them. So, if you are doing a lot of walking in shallow water while kiting, then do the stingray shuffle – keeping the feet close to the bottom, rather than stomping around. Also making a bit of a commotion in the water before touching the bottom is a good idea – the ray will sense the vibrations and swim away before your foot lands on it.