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New milestone in kitesports safety: ISO standard 21853 on quick-release systems

by Kate Chandler 9 Apr 22:25 PDT

Since 2014, the GKA and its members have been working tirelessly with the International Standardization Organisation (ISO) along with an international team of engineers and experts to bring this industry-wide, internationally valid safety standardization classification for quick-release systems on kite bars.

The new international standard ISO 21853 for quick-release systems has come into force February 14th, providing the kite industry a new way of ensuring their equipment conforms to the state-of-the-art safety requirements, and it allows consumers to single out products that fulfil the standard and ensure consumers' safety while practicing the sport they love.

In future production cycles, quick-release systems that comply with the ISO standard through testing at one of the independent testing facilities will be embossed with the official ISO standard number.

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

The ISO standard 21853

  • applies in all countries worldwide
  • overrules all national standards for quick-release systems in kitesports like the French standard AFNOR
  • sets the standard for maximum release force (equal to or less than 170N) and opening time (equal to or less than two seconds) of quick-release systems under different standardized conditions like:
    • dry and clean conditions
    • dry sand
    • water with sand
    • non-salted water
    • 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
  • for quick-release systems on kite bars is tested at two independent, certified testing facilities worldwide:
    • Fraunhofer Institute in Rostock/Germany
    • Camosun Institute in Victoria/Canada
    • Only those two institutes can issue an official certificate stating the conformity of a product with the ISO standard 21853. The GKA is in charge of the entire certification process.
Additional information for consumers and manufacturers:

Embossing the number ISO 21853 on a part of the QR system is a mandatory requirement of the standard. However, because products have already been manufactured for 2020 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 certified, even if the QR system fulfills all technical requirements (QR systems 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 are fulfilled except the embossed number will be listed on the GKA website and are allowed to label their products with the official Global Kitesports Association ISO label. We ask interested brands to contact the GKA directly.

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