sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Will kites fly at the Olympics?

Will kites fly at the Olympics?

'Day 1 of the Kiteboard Class. 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.'    Duncan Worthington    Click Here to view large photo

Kiwi born sailor Neil Pryde is the largest builder of windsurfers and kiteboards in the world and he has strong opinions on these two disciplines at Olympic level. The Neil Pryde RS:X is the windsurfer being sailed at Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships and the kiteboard, now ISAF recognised, is tipped as being a demonstration event in Brazil in 2016.

Pryde is the Managing Director of Pryde Group, an assemblage of companies with roots in manufacturing, sports branding and worldwide distribution. Sail-World.com has been talking to the sailor who is one of the best known brands on the world sailing scene, about windsurfing and kiteboarding.

He explained ‘I started sailing at ten years of age in Auckland and worked up to the Flying Dutchman class. My brother and I campaigned ahead of the Rome Olympics in 1960 but we just missed out on selection.

‘I was aiming for Tokyo when I got a job offer to work in Hong Kong with sail maker Rolly Tasker, back in 1963. I am a chartered accountant by profession and I worked with Rolly until 1970. Then I set up my own company making sails for yachts.

‘That was actually the core business of the company until the late '70s and early '80s when windsurfing took off. We jumped heavily into the windsurfing market as a sail manufacturer, not so much with our own brand, but rather making them for other people.

‘Until 1991 we were in Hong Kong and we then moved to China. We were actually pretty big at that stage and in peak times in the 80’s we were making well over 300,000 windsurfing sails a year.

‘They were the real ‘go-go’ days of windsurfing; pretty simple sails and not high tech like they are today, but big numbers. That’s how we really got started in the windsurfing market, as a mass producer of cheap sails.

‘We figured pretty early on that the future was going to be in developing our own brand so about the early 80s we started getting involved, taking on some designs and resources.

‘We started sponsoring high-level sailors and started building up our own brand. By the mid 80s we were the world leader in windsurfing sails and we still are today.

‘We were originally just sails and then in the early 90s we were one of the very first producers of the carbon fibre rigs. The next thing was wet suits as we thought ‘everybody’s going windsurfing so they need wetsuits’.

‘We didn’t actually get into the windsurfing hulls until we bought the JP Australia brand in 1999, with Jason Polakow, the Australian windsurfer who was one of the big guns.

‘These were wave boards, high performance sailing boards, basically Neil Pryde rigs with JP Australia boards. Neil Pryde at that stage had no position in the board market and we didn’t get involved in that area until the Olympic bid with the RS:X, which was around about or just before Athens.

‘ISAF were looking for bids for a new one design windsurfing class for the Olympics and we won selection with the RS:X. We are still there today and aiming to be there for Brazil 2016.


‘We noticed that kiteboarding was starting to cut into the windsurfing market. I met Pete Carina, a real icon in the sport and one of the originals. He had been in kiteboarding from its early days and in 2000 we bought all the rights to his name for kiteboarding products and Pete came to work for us. He did the marketing and product direction and we went in to the kiteboarding business.

‘Cabrinha is arguably the world market leader and we built about 25,000 kites a year.

‘Windsurfing is shrinking but kiteboarding is definitely growing by probably five percent a year, but not everywhere in the world. It’s started to slow a bit in Europe because one of the major considerations of kiteboarding is beach space.
‘Kites need a lot of manoeuvring space. In terms of being able to go on the beaches in Holland or France, the popular beaches, it is becoming an issue and on some beaches kiteboarding is not allowed.

‘Kiteboarding is only just getting to point where they are seriously looking at competition type sailing. It has been very much a freestyle free ride, more a having fun type of sport, particularly emphasizing travel and life style.

‘There is now an element in the sport that’s getting very serious about competition and they are making a pretty strong bid to be included at the Olympics.


‘Frankly, although we own Cabrinha, I am not necessary supporting that because I have one foot in each camp with windsurfing and while I think kiteboarding is a fantastic sport, I think it is a little premature to be saying they want to be in the Olympics.

‘Olympic sailing is all about one design because the emphasis of Olympic sport is on the athlete not the equipment and I think kiteboarding has a way to go to get to a one design standard.

‘San Francisco is much more advanced in racing. We were quite involved with the St. Francis Yacht Club and in fact we sponsored the first events that they put on in kiteboarding, through our American company. They were probably the most successful events so far run. Even so, while they have good competition and it is spectacular to watch, I just don’t think that they are ready for Olympic status and I say that even with my Cabrinha hat on my head.

Day 1 of the Kiteboard Class. 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. -  Duncan Worthington   Click Here to view large photo


‘I think kiteboarding ultimately can be an Olympic sport but I just don’t see it happening any time soon, in spite of the kite guys pitching.

‘But kiteboarding is still up in the air and right now in the RS:X class we are up and running, and probably have over 200 competitors at the ISAF Sailing World Championships' summed up Pryde.

However 'up in the air' might be not the appropriate term.

The largest regatta in Asia, the Phuket King's Cup, ran a demonstration kite boarding event last week, with 20 KiteBoard Tour of Asia sailors providing a strong fleet.

While the keelboat fleet sailled on each of the six days of the event, the kiteboards were unable to sail on four of those days because as soon as wind speeds dropped below eight knots, the kites fell in the water.

That meant on days when wind speeds averaged 10-12 knots, the kiteboarders were unable to start.

In practical terms, kiteboard racing using the existing kite technology, plainly will not fly across much of Europe and Asia.

Going forward the push to bring kiteboarding in the Olympic playing field will need either new kites or winder venues.




by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=91802

10:39 AM Mon 12 Dec 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships - Perth 2011


Related News Stories:

03 Nov 2013  Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 - THAT Speech
20 Aug 2013  Mat Belcher – 17 in a row - 'The harder I work, the luckier I get'
22 Jul 2013  2012 Olympic Games - Stevie Morrison one year on
22 Jul 2013  2012 Olympic Games - Lucy Macgregor one year on
03 Jun 2013  Ainslie: Close to quitting sailing after Andrew 'Bart' Simpson's death
31 May 2013  A Tribute to Bart
29 Dec 2012  Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours, five others recognised
28 Nov 2012  2012 Paralympic Games a winner in global TV ratings
21 Nov 2012  London Paralympic Games debrief to start in Rio
02 Nov 2012  2012 Olympics: The Medalists thoughts on Kites and Windsurfers
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

The first annual WetaFresh is a big success by Tim Wieringa, Muskegon, MI














Techno 293 Worlds - France and Italy claim titles by International Windsurfing Association,














420 World Championship - Singapore and Spain out front by 420 International Class Association,






























Lightning strikes cut short CFJ Nationals by Andy Kopetzky, Santa Monica Bay








Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race sets off August 10th
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau victorious on day 5
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship headed for San Diego
WPA Championships - Kids race divisions offered
New Clever Pig launched by US Sailing
America's Cup: Group agrees to co-operate in London Meeting
Copa del Rey Mapfre - Build-up reveals some remarkable enthusiasm
Marblehead NOOD Regatta - Images by Leighton O'Connor
America's Cup: Two AC72 skippers discuss Foiling Moths and the Cup
RS Feva World Championship - Brilliant sailing on day 2
America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran *Feature
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week 2014 - Relishing a challenge
Edgartown Race Weekend - BBBR and Round-the-Island Race winners named
Etchells Invitational Cup - Aussies take early lead in Cowes
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau strikes back on day 4
Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta - All set for test event
ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 28 July 2014
29er World Championship - All set in Kingston
ORC World Championship - Third Course area opens for huge fleet
Day one of the Allen RS Feva World Championships
Anna Tunnicliffe: Final two days of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games   
Joachim Aschenbrenner takes gold at ISAF Youth Match Race Worlds 2014   
Maxi Soh scores double wins in CMRC Summer Doubleheader   
29er World Championship opening ceremonies in Confederation Park   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Action resumes on day 3   
Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race Start 2014 VIDEO   
Laser Radial Men’s World Championship 2014- Final day   
2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins   
Gladwell's Line: America's Cup - Joint Statement is a curious note *Feature   
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Champ - Top four battle it out for final   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 6   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Wind teases competitors on day 2   
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Action-packed day of racing   
Herreshoff Marine Museum announces successful fundraising campaign   
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - The most comprehensive victory yet   
Anna Tunnicliffe fourth at mid-point of 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games   
2014 29er North American Open Championship - Australians win   
INSA Sabot II Invitational Regatta - Erik Hou claims victory   
CMRC Summer Invitational Series - Maxi Soh wins Doubleheader A event   
International Moth World Championships - Nathan Outteridge wins   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT