Groundbreaking decision on kiteboarding in the North Sea by German Higher Administrative Court

11th December 2020 is a memorable day for the sport of kiteboarding in Germany as it marks the publishing of a groundbreaking decision by the Higher Administrative Court. According to this decision, the ban on kiteboarding in the coastal waters of the North Sea enacted by the state of Lower Saxony is not consistent with federal law.

Despite what newspapers, online publications and environmental organisations are stating, this does not mean kiteboarding is now allowed anywhere and without restrictions. Kitesurfers must still abide by the same rules and regulations as anyone else, and make sure that wildlife is not disturbed or endangered.

Here’s what the decision really implicates:

  •  the court order only regulates the legislative competence between the federal state Lower Saxony and the federal law.
  • the lawsuit against the kiteboarding ban was successful because the federal state Lower Saxony has enacted laws beyond its competence.
  • watersports athletes, including kitesurfers, must adhere to general safety and protection regulations and are obligated to inform themselves accordingly.
  • kitesurfers will no longer be treated differently from other waterway users.

It is in the interest of all watersports practitioners, including kitesurfers, to safeguard and protect nature and wildlife while practising our sport.

The GKA will continue to advocate for maintaining the right to pursue kiteboarding in harmony with nature and wildlife at state and federal level.

The decision by the German Higher Administrative Court is available to download here.


Working together

Keeping public beaches open for kitesurfing and other watersports, ensuring they operate in harmony with nature and public safety, is one of the main goals of the Global Kitesports Association.

At the GKA we work towards sustainable solutions in order to protect what we love; bringing together local watersports communities, associations, lawmakers and key stakeholders. The GKA is at the forefront of international political decisions with regard to beach access, pushing for results where public safety and the local environment are concerned, while keeping beach access secure for the sport of kitesurfing for years to come.

As the most influential association in kitesports worldwide, the GKA is currently collecting data on pending worldwide beach access decisions, to compile a database and network hub for involved parties.

If you are:

– affected by a decision to close beaches or restrict access to a beach for kitesurfing in your area;
– a spokesperson or member of an association dealing with restricted beach access or the closing of beaches for kitesurfing;
– a spokesperson or member of a national watersports federation and have information on beach access cases in your country/area;

then we would like to hear from you!

Please send information about your case to and we will contact you.


FEBRUARY 2018: COWI Study Birds and Kitesurfing – A Review

The Global Kitesports Association (GKA) is formed by kitesurfing’s leading brands to represent the interests of the kite-sports industry to support and promote the interests of all kite riders. A huge part of their work is focused on the safe future pathways for the industry and sport as a whole.

A large part of that comes down to environmental education of governments and councils as to the nature of kitesurfing and its participants.

Some members of the German government are currently trying to enforce bans for kitesurfing on many of their beaches, through an incorrect understanding of the dangers that kitesurfers present to the environment, most notably – birds.

GKA Secretary General, Dr. Jörgen Vogt has spent a lot of time liaising with the environmental lobbyists and presenting them with information he has sourced from scientists and experts from different European countries.

Please take a look at the PDF downloads below, and if you want to help support the common goal of keeping beaches open for kitesurfers, then please share.


COWI STUDY – Kitesurfing and Birds – A REVIEW

English download – COWI – Kitesurfing and Birds – A review

German download- COWI – Kitesurfing and Birds – A review


GKA – Kitesurfing and Birds – FACTS

English download – GKA Kitesurfing and Birds Facts

German download – GKA Kitesurfing and Birds Facts

Beach Access Cases

Click below image to go the the overview of all our known Beach Access Cases. For each case you’ll find case information, details, contacts and relevant documents.

Beach Access Cases

Click to go to all Beach Access Cases