Please select your home edition
Edition
Insun - AC Program

Response to US Sailing statement on inclusion of kiteboarding in 2016

by .. on 25 May 2012
Kitesurfing Mondial du Vent
Dear U.S. Sailing,

It seems US Sailing didn’t have all the information before casting three votes for kitesurf course racing at the expense of windsurf racing for the 2016 Olympics. A more careful evaluation questions Dean Brenner’s explanation for the U.S. votes at the ISAF Council.


1. No argument, kiteboarding is an exciting and rapidly growing area of the sport. However, US Sailing and ISAF voted for what is currently practiced by a very small percentage of kiteboarders - kiteboard course racing. That’s like noticing all these skiers at the mountain and then choosing telemark racing as the Olympic discipline. Kite board racing uses very different equipment and skills than what you see at the beach. No doubt kiteboard racing is cutting edge and could one day evolve into an Olympic sport, but we’re just not there yet. That’s the point. There are estimates that at most 200-300 persons world-wide have been on a kite course board. This includes but a handful of juniors.

But let’s look at the facts: 80 women from 37 countries competed in the RS:X World Championships. 12 women from 10 countries competed in the Kite Course Racing World Championships. Only two women were able to complete all the races at the Kite Course Worlds. Does this qualify as Olympic-ready for 2016?

There is currently no known active Youth Kite Course Racing. Compare that to 400 kids (age 16 and younger) who are expected at the Techno Windsurfing World Championships this summer.

2. According to Dean/US Sailing’s justification, 'The infrastructure required will be minimal.' Agreed, infrastructure required for staging events is an important consideration. I wonder if US Sailing is aware that kitesurfing, due to safety concerns, is prohibited from many premier ISAF sailing venues:

In Sydney Harbour, site of the 2000 Olympics, kitesurfing is banned.
In Singapore, site of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, kitesurfing in banned.
In Cyprus, site of the 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds, kitesurfing is banned.
In Lake Garda, Italy, site of the EUROSAF Olympic Regatta, kitesurfing is banned.

But even if kitesurfing is allowed at a specific venue, other significant logistics are involved. While race management on the water may be similar to other classes, to safely launch a kite you need very specific conditions. A minimum of 100 ft of open space is required, free of any obstacles that could impale the kiteboarder, or put bystanders at risk. There is no way you can launch and tack out of many yacht harbors (Kiel?).

On top of that, kitesurfers require the ability to change kite sizes if wind conditions change between races. The ISAF Kite Equipment Report glosses over basic logistics and says huge floating platforms could be built to launch from, or competitors can launch from support boats, or be shuttled to launch from outside beaches. That’s minimal infrastructure????? There are very few venues without surrounding hazards where you can safely launch 140 kites to make a 9:00 AM start time in gusty, stormy conditions.

3. Dean’s third reason, 'The potential exists to bring new countries to the sport of Olympic Sailing' is valid. And windsurfing has done exactly that with 54 countries competing in the Olympic Qualifying events, and more MNAs competing in Men’s RS:X at the ISAF World Championships than any other class, including Laser. Does US Sailing/ISAF want to trade this success for a class that is not yet developed?

4. 'Kites can be sailed close to shore, increasing spectator possibilities.' Yes, just as easily as windsurfing. The only difference is, if the wind is on shore, all those ISAF spectators would have to be pushed back from the shoreline to avoid decapitation.

5. Dean goes on to rely on the ISAF Equipment Evaluation Report which barely addresses the critical concerns of safety. While it’s true that kites have improved in safety, and expert kiters will take their own risks, what about the safety of juniors pursing the Olympic dream? You can’t just hook a hot shot Opti sailor up to a kite and push him/her off the dock. There is zero pathway for kiting currently within US Sailing.

In his position as Olympic Sailing Chairman, Dean Brenner may not be concerned with further down the pyramid, but safety in the Olympic pipeline should be of paramount importance to US Sailing. Again I ask, what is US Sailing’s plan to safely incorporate kitesurfing into Junior Sailing Programs, the Olympic Youth Development Team, Youth Worlds Team, the Junior Olympic events, and all the pathways that leads to the Olympics? What is US Sailing’s plan to bring kitesurfing under its umbrella when insurance companies have deemed kitesurfing unsafe?

ISAF’s own specialists in the Events Committee voted 17-2 in favor of trialing kitesurfing at ISAF events until it is proven Olympic-ready, and keeping RS:X as the Olympic Class for Men’s and Women’s in 2016. We call on U.S. Sailing and ISAF to evaluate the readiness of kitesurf racing for 2016 and the Olympic pipeline, question dubious claims in the ISAF Kite Evaluation Report, balance judgement against the world-wide success of windsurfing as an Olympic discipline, and perform a complete fair analysis before their vote in the November ISAF meeting.

Sincerely,
Nevin Sayre - US Sailing Member

PredictWind.com 2014NaiadProtector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

Formula Kite European Championship - Tough fight for podium
Nico Parlier (FRA, Ozone/Mikes Lab) took the men's title after neck on neck racing with his French rival Axel Mazella Nico Parlier (FRA, Ozone/Mikes Lab) took the men's title after neck on neck racing with his French rival Axel Mazella (FRA, Enata) with the lead swapping race by race on the final day in front of Tirmata Beach, Istanbul.
Posted on 19 Aug
Countdown to Formula Kite Worlds in Oman reaches 100-day landmark
The final countdown has begun to the biggest date in kiteboarding calendar – Formula Kite World Championships in Oman. The final countdown has begun to the biggest date in the kiteboarding calendar – the Formula Kite World Championships in Oman.
Posted on 12 Aug
Adam Warchol, Takuma Sugi and Marino Gil book places in final
The first round of the 14-15 Year Old Boy's contest was completed in light winds and varying sized waves. The first round of the 14-15 Year Old Boy's contest was completed in light winds and varying sized waves. With not much wind, the contest was a pure wave riding test with the best two waves to count over a 14 minute duration.
Posted on 10 Aug
Kite Speed World Championship– Oman acclaimed as kiteboarding paradise
The event attracted some of the world’s best known kite boarders who gave the Masirah Beach Camp venue The event attracted some of the world’s best known kite boarders who gave the Masirah Beach Camp venue and ideal kiteboarding conditions in the flat and shallow lagoon an unconditional vote of approval.
Posted on 9 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Peru Pacasmayo Classic - Registration open now!
Located in the North of Peru, Pacasmayo offers fun cross off wave riding. You will find light wind port tack conditions. Located in the North of Peru, Pacasmayo offers fun cross off wave riding. You will find light wind port tack conditions. Wave conditions are similar to Baja Mexico. A swell of 5-7ft on the wave face is not uncommon. You will have 10-15 turns per wave and a couple of aerials without crowds. Bigger South West swells offer rides over 1km where you can lose count of the number of turns you do!
Posted on 8 Aug
Manly Sailing Club to host 2019 O’pen BIC World Championships
Manly Sailing Club, in Auckland, New Zealand, has lodged a successful bid to host the 2019 O’pen BIC World Championships Manly Sailing Club, in Auckland, New Zealand, has lodged a successful bid to host the 2019 O’pen BIC World Championships, following a presentation by the club's newly elected Commodore, Sir Russell Coutts, at the recent International O’pen BIC Class Association AGM.
Posted on 8 Aug
Young Swede Adam Holm wins Kona World Championships
Adam secured the title after a thrilling battle with the runner-up Dutchman, who finished one point behind the Champion. The Championship took place on classical racing waters out of Båstad on the Swedish West Coast which has hosted numerous international and national sailing events over the years. The first race days took place in very light and shifty conditions putting lots of effort on the tactical skills of the sailors.
Posted on 7 Aug
Hydrofoil Pro Tour – Day 2 and 3 – All good things in all good time
Racers woke up for day three with a bit more optimism as a light teen breeze was filling through the golden gate Three morning races were held in light conditions with the majority of the fleet on 15-17m kites. The euros still have an advantage in these light conditions as the local fleet doesnt get much time on the water in sub 14k conditions.
Posted on 7 Aug
Hydrofoil Pro Tour USA – Final day
Absolutely perfect racing conditions on the bay! The sun is out, the wind is up, and the racing is off the charts fast. Going into the day Nico Parlier, France, is pretty solidly taking the win based on points and amazing consistency. Axel Mazella, France, and Johnny Heineken, San Francisco, USA, are in a hot battle for second and third separated by just a couple points.
Posted on 7 Aug