right of way comes out of other wind sports in kiteboarding you want to use your indicator to tell the other guy if you are going downwind or upwind. Keep your kite high if you want to go upwind, keep it low if you want to go downwind. You do this before you get close as an indicator, not just right at the time you pass. The port tack right of way only really matters on a racing course. If the other guy keeps his kite at 45 and doesn't indicate which way he wants to go, give right of way, he might not be paying attention. also beginners want a lot more space than more advanced riders. Advanced riders are fine if you have 1 or 2 inches between the riders, beginners want several meters. So sometimes a rider won't put his kite up or down because he sees there are several inches space, plenty!
"Port tack only matters on a racing course"
Since when are kiter's exempt? In every water activity I've been involved with, sailing, windsurfing, and now kiteboarding, the same maritime laws have always applied.
So there's no ambiguity those rules are in place for a reason - safety.
The kiteboarder on port tack gives way to the kiteboarder on starboard tack.
Situation: When you meet another Kiter head on, and you are both on opposite tacks, the port tack rider gives way to the Starboard tack rider.
Definitions: When you have your kite on the right hand side of the wind window, between 12 and 3oclock. you are riding on "Starboard tack" and have right of way. When you are riding with the kite between 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock. you are said to be on "Port Tack" you must give way.
How to give way: To give way to the Starboard tack rider, you should slow down or alter course (usually downwind keeping your kite low). The kiter of Starboard tack should maintain his direction and speed.
Of course this doesn't take the place of rule 1: Avoid collisions at all costs.
I don't usually push the starboard-port rule, usually because I want to avoid potential contact. I'll hold my tack until it becomes a game of chicken. It seems that most on the water don't understand the starboard rule. In sailing and windsurfing we always adhered to this rule, but with kiter's it's different for some reason.
Here's a link - Kiteboarding Right of Way Rules. It's posted by the Maui Kiteboarding Assoc. but the rules are all the same.
http://www.mauikiteboardingassociation. ... rules.html