July 4

Kitesurfing Signal Guide


Here is a list of the best kitesurfing signals

Kitesurfing can be a dangerous sport, if you don’t take your precautions, so being able to communicate on the water with a kitesurfing signal is essential.

With all the wind, water and kitesurfers it can be very difficult to hear anything out on the water.

So there is made a list of international hand gestures, by World Sailing which you can use to signal friends or anybody in need.

These are especially important for an instructor to communicate with their student.

If you already have taken a lesson and you don’t know these kitesurfing signals, chances are that it was not a certified instructor.

Beware of this, getting taught by a certified instructor is a must.

Normally before doing any hand gestures, you would get the attention of the kiter by making a loud noise or shouting something at them.




I have picked 12 of the most important kitesurfing signals that are used:

  • Thumbs up (Launch signal)
  • Thumbs down (Not ready to launch)
  • Land your kite (Landing kite signal)
  • Turn around (Turn around signal)
  • Stop! (Stop signal)
  • Release you bar (Push bar out signal)
  • Release chicken loop (Release safety signal)
  • Are you okay? (I am okay signal)
  • Kite placement (Where to place your kite signal)
  • Come closer to me (Come towards me signal)
  • Go left / go right (Direction signal)
  • Need Help (Need help / attention signal)

Check out the biggest myths in Kitesurfing here

Thumbs up (Launch signal)

“Everything is okay” signal.


If you raise your thumb in the air, means that everything is alright and you are ready to launch your kite.

At this point the guy holding the kite will let go of the kite.


Make sure to show it very clearly, so there is no doubt if you are ready or not.

Helping Hand on the beach

Very important to never launch/let go of the kite until you see a clear launch kitesurfing signal.




Thumbs down (Don’t launch signal)


If you put your thumb and point it down, it means that you are not ready to launch your kite.

Helping Hand on the beach

Very important NOT to let go of the kite.


Land your kite (Land signal)


Pat your hand on your head 2-4 times, until you get eye contact with someone and they acknowledge that you want to land your kite.  

This signal means “Could you catch my kite” or “Do you want me to catch your kite?”


Pats on the head, “Could you catch my kite?”

Helping Hand on the beach

If you see someone patting their head 2-3 times, they are asking you “Could you catch my kite?”.  




Turn around (Turn signal)


Raise your index finger into the sky and make small circles.


If you are riding behind a fellow kitesurfer and they make this kitesurfing signal, it means that they are going to turn around.

Helping Hand on the beach

This means you should turn around. This kitesurfing signal is generally given by an instructor.


Stop! (Stop signal)


Make a flat palm and put it in front of your body.

This is a very common signal, not any in kitesurfing. It means stop where you are, sit your butt in the water and wait.

Stop all you movement and assess the situation.  




Release your bar (Push bar out signal)


Take both hands and push them up and out. Looks a lot like when you push the bar out (sheeting out) while kitesurfing.


When you see this signal, you must release pressure on your bar. Either pushing the bar all the way out or letting go.

This hand gesture normally is given by an instructor to a student.

The instructor will do this when the student is overpowered or moving too fast and out of control.


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Release the chicken loop


Release your “Imaginary” chicken loop. Put your hands by your stomach and bring your hands up, like you were releasing your chicken loop.


If you see this kitesurfing signal, release your chicken loop immediately. Normally an certified instructor would use this gesture.

You are probably in trouble when he shows it or you will be very soon.




Are you okay?


You make the OK hand sign. Thumb and index finger create a circle in your hand and remaining fingers point out.

Very well known international hand gesture. Means the same in Scuba Diving.


If you see this kitesurfing signal, the person who is doing it, is asking you if you are okay.

You can respond be repeating the kitesurfing signal.

Basically, “Are you okay?”, “I am okay”.


Kite Placement Signal

This signal shows where (normally) the instructor wants you to place your kite on the kite clock / wind window / wind clock.   


Stretch both your arms in the angle and direction you want the kite to be placed.

An example would be an instructor pointing his arms at 10’o clock, signalling that he wants you to place your kite there.




Come here Signal (Come closer)


This kitesurfing signal is done by scooping your hands towards yourself.

The signal means come closer to me or come towards me.  


Go left / Go right


This hand signal is done by pointing both arms in the direction you want the kiter to go.

This kitesurfing signal can also mean go further out. That is when you point away from the beach.  


Help! (Help me, attention)


If you wave one hand in the air back and forwards, it means you are looking for someone’s attention or assistants.

If you wave both hands in the air, it means you are in big problems and need help asap.




I hope this guide of kitesurfing signals will help you guys stay out of trouble.


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