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Kiteboarding community fights back

IKA Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner dispels some myths

Wednesday July 11th 2012, Author: Markus Schwendtner, Location: none selected

ISAF's decision to drop windsurfing in favour of kiteboarding for Rio 2016 has led to a major upset in the windsurfing community, and many articles have been posted in the sailing magazines.

Most of the arguments brought forward are presenting a biased viewpoint, and do not accurately represent the discipline of kiteboard racing, and even make exaggerated claims about Olympic windsurfing.

We would highly appreciate publishing the attached position paper (we can also provide this in word format) which takes a brief look at some of these 'facts', do they stand up under scrutiny and unbiased questioning – are they fact or fiction?

The detailed answers to the following executive summary can be found in the attached document for your full information.

Executive Summary:

Fiction: ISAF regulations were not followed, the ISAF constitution was not respected
Fact: We are struggling to see where ISAF REGULATIONS WERE NOT FOLLOWED.

Fiction: Kiteboarding is not mature enough
Fact: The only truth in this claim is, that kiteboarding is still a young sport. And yes, it is developing and not 100 years old. Isn’t that exciting and exactly what the IOC requires from ISAF ?

Fiction: Kite Racing Equipment is much more expensive than the RS:X
Fact: Kiteboarding equipment is cheaper and easier to transport than any other Olympic equipment while presenting the most high performance sailing to the world audience

Fiction: Kite Racing is unsafe
Fact: The windsurfing supporters continue to fail to deliver a single claim for serious incidents in kiteboard racing.

Fiction: The kiteboarding technical report is not accurate
Fact: There is fact, there is fiction, and there are many different opinions. We understand that the ones fighting for their windsurfing dream have a different opinion than we have – which does not make their opinion the truth.

Fiction: Emerging Nations stand to lose big
Fact: Kiteboard Racing should be seen as a chance by the emerging nations, not as a threat. Getting up to international level with a serious chance of winning medals is much easier than in any other long established sailing class.

Fiction: There is no youth pathway to kiteboarding
Fact: The pipeline is already up and running. The pathway is learn to sail and learn to windsurf.
Considering that the US dominated the last Worlds, it seems like this very “loose” pipeline does get excellent results, but others will learn fast and adopt this system.

Fiction: Thousands of kids are affected
Fact: Go fly a kite. This is what kids love to do !

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

Kind regards,

Markus Schwendtner

IKA Executive Secretary

Latest Comments

  • mikea 14/07/2012 - 11:29

    As a keen windsurfer,catamaran and Dinghy racer over many year I am sorry to see infighting between different types of wind powered craft and feel it is counter productive. Sailing, Windsurfing and Kite Surfing are superb sports accessible to all, and it is vital for the health of sport that it embraces new developoments and technology. I remember all too well the protestations and posturing of the established classes when windsurfers and catamarans were introduced, but look what they have done to open up new and exciting areas of water sport to participants and spectators alike. It will be the same for Kite Surfing, it is new it is exciting and just because you can't or don't want to try to do it (I tried and failed but still love to watch it!) doesn't mean it has any less value than any other form of wind sport. In fact my personal view is that the new high performance end of sailing or kiting is essential for the future health of sailing as it is pushing frontiers and young people who are the future of sport want to push frontiers and go further and faster than their predecessors. Finaly in terms of media appeal, the new developments of high performance skiffs, hull flying catamarans, windsurfers that can blast along in next to no breeze with a 12m sail or perform arial ballet off waves and now kite surfers who fly back and forth on or off the water, present an ever more visual and exciting spectacle for the public that will hopefully encourage more people to get involved. Having followed the Extreme 40's in action and witnessed the AC45's in Plymouth this year and seen the huge public interest they generate, I feel the only challenge for the sailing community is not to see which class can post higher credentials for this that or the other in the media, but how they can learn from the X40 and AC45's and bring the racing and competition right up close and personal to spectators both in terms of positioning of event ciruits, but also getting the right camera installation and media savy promotion on web sites, u-tube and television (this latter one however continues to dissappoint in terms of water sports coverage, and may well be soon irrelevant)and get more people out there sailing dinghies or cats doing windsufing or kite surfing, it doesn't matter. Fashions change all the time and you can't fight it, shouldn't fight it, just enjoy your bit of it and try to grow and promote wind powerd sport as a whole. Apologies for such a long rant. Mike Arstall
  • bdu98252 11/07/2012 - 10:34

    I personally know of 1 person who has died whilst kitesurfing in Largs in Scotland. Mr Schwendtner is being a bit disengenuous with adding the racing bit to limit the current figures on kitesurfing injuries.

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