Florida law bans kiteboarding within a mile of an airport runway. But last week, Governor Rick Scott signed an exception allowing the high-flying sport in Jacksonville’s Huguenot Memorial Park.
The park is across the St. Johns River from Mayport Navy base.
The statewide ban on extreme sports near airstrips took effect in October. That meant, popular kiteboarding spots in Huguenot park suddenly became off limits.
Fernandina Beach Representative and sponsor of the new exemption, Janet Adkins, says one area of the park is particularly important for new kiteboarders.
“The pond is where people who are newer to the sport, young children, where they learn to actually do the sport,” Adkins said. “Obviously if you’re learning something new, you want to be able to do it in a safe environment. That’s one of the reasons why this legislation is so important.”
Scott Shine is a former member of the Jacksonville Waterways Commission and has been kiteboarding for over a decade.
“Huguenot Park [is] one of the best places in the state of Florida, maybe one of the best places in the country, to kiteboard.”
The law still prohibits other aerial sports like hang gliding and parasailing in the park.