Kiteboarding & Brother P-Touch Labels?

At Labelzone HQ, we’re always on the lookout for imaginative and innovative ways in which people use their labels. It’s even more pleasing to see when someone’s ingenuity can potentially save the coastguard or RNLI time and money. Feeling lost? So was a lot of people’s water sports equipment, until someone had an idea, spawned from their passion for kiteboarding.

Firstly, what is kiteboarding?

Kiteboarding (or kitesurfing) is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world, exploding in popularity in the last decade with an estimated 210,000 kiteboarders worldwide (as of September 2006, according to SBC Kiteboard). With influences drawing from more traditional water sports such as windsurfing and wakeboarding, its openness for participation around the UK has seen an abundance of professional competitions and an official association.

Naturally, as you’d expect with any water sports the necessary equipment comes at a premium, with a board alone costing you anywhere between £199-649. So what happens if the water’s current or wind whisks your board away (a common occurrence, I’m reliably informed)? Step forward, Ian Porter.

Who are you & what do you do?

“I’m a freelance programmer / web developer from Lancashire. I was responsible for writing the Microsoft Visio plugin for the Brother P Touch software, which allows you to print data such as barcodes, date & time and images, ideal for asset management, electricians etc. I’m also the founder of; an online book swapping club”.

So what was the big idea?

“I’d become aware of label printers / labelling after my work for Brother, shortly after that I started kitesurfing. I soon learned it is common for the board to come off your feet and start drifting away on the currents, and since you’re still attached to a kite you can’t just swim over to get it. A couple of friends lost their boards that way. They called the coast guard to let them know, just in case somebody found it washed up on a beach later, that way nobody worries about you and you might get your board back. It then dawned on me that I could use Brother’s P Touch labels to print a board owner’s contact details and ensure its safe return. After some tough testing I found P-touch TZ tapes were ideal for the job”.

Genius! What are the advantages?

  • The labels are abrasion, water, sunlight, fade & scratch-resistant (the oldest label used in a beach environment is 5 years and counting)
  • The coastguard has no idea if you’re still out in the water or not, now you needn’t waste their valuable time or money (it costs the RNLI £380,000 per day to maintain and run their lifeboats)
  • If your board does go missing, how much will it cost you to replace? Is it worth the risk?
  • Permanent marker might have the desired effect, but what if you wish to sell your board in the future?

>We'd like to thank Ian for his time. He also offers a customisable label service if you're interested (choose your own colour, image etc), so for further information, please visit his web site: //