ISO Standard 21853:2020 on Quick-Release Systems Provides Global Standard of Safety in Kiteboarding

Under the jurisdiction of the International Standardization Organisation (ISO), the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) and an international team of engineers and experts developed an industry-wide safety standardization classification for quick-release systems on kite bars that is legally valid worldwide.

ISO Standard 21853

This new standard, ISO 21853:2020, for quick-release systems on kite bars and safety leashes is in force as of 14th February 2020.

The standard not only provides the kite industry with a new testing technology to ensure their equipment conforms to the state-of-the-art safety requirements of ISO, it also enables consumers to choose products that fulfill the standard and thereby helping them to stay safe while practicing the sport they love.

A label issued by the GKA, pronouncing a tested and certified product as ISO compliant, will make it easy for consumers to choose suitable equipment.

Please note: Any unauthorized use of this label is forbidden and will result in legal consequences.

Fact sheet ISO Standard 21853:2020

The ISO Standard 21853:2020

  • applies in all countries worldwide
  • overrules all national norms for quick-release systems in kitesports like the French norm AFNOR
  • sets the standard for maximum release force (equal to or less than 170N) and opening time (equal to or less than 2 seconds) of quick-release systems under different standardized conditions like
    • water with and without sand
    • dry and clean conditions
    • dry sand
    • cold and wet conditions
  • includes the safety leash release system that belongs to the respective kite control bar
  • sets the international standard on how to test release forces through
    • standardized testing units
    • standardized testing procedures
  • sets the standard on many more important safety relevant parts of QR systems like
    • percentage of signal color
    • strength of material
  • quick-release systems on kite bars are tested at this independent, certified testing facility:
    • Fraunhofer Institute in Rostock/Germany
    • This institute is qualified to issue an official certificate stating the conformity of a product with the ISO standard 21853:2020.

Important information for consumers and manufacturers

Embossing the number ISO 21853:2020 on a part of the QR system is a mandatory requirement of the standard. However, because products have already been manufactured for the 2020 season and brands were not allowed to put this number on the QR system prior to the effective date of the standard, February 14th 2020, they are not able to call their QR system ISO 21853:2020 certified, even if the QR system fulfills all technical requirements (QR system opens at the required maximum release force in the obligatory maximum amount of time).

Brands who hand in an official, independent technical approval stating that all requirements of ISO 21853:2020 are fulfilled except the embossed number will be listed on this page and are allowed to label their products with the official Global Kitesports Association ISO label.

We ask kite brands interested in the testing and certification process to please contact the GKA directly.


Click here for a full list of all ISO 21853:2020 compliant products by GKA member brands.

Click here to visit the official ISO website for more information on ISO Standard 21853:2020.



The GKA does not assume responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the provided information at this website and all documents available for download at the GKA webpage.

The GKA does not assume any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the ISO 21853:2020 test results provided by the manufactures or any third party nor does the GKA assume any legal responsibility for the promotion or marketing usage of the GKA/ISO 21853:2020 label shown at this website and/or the solely usage of the number ISO 21853:2020 by manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers and shops. The legal responsibility for the use of the label and/or the merely use of the number ISO 21853:2020 rests solely with the manufacturer.