Please select your home edition
Edition
Pineapple Cup 2022 LEADERBOARD

The stage is set for 2020 Gran Canaria KiteFoil Open European Championships

by Oliver Hartas 16 Dec 2020 15:44 PST 17-20 December 2020
Press conference - Gran Canaria KiteFoil Open Europeans © IKA

Ending the most difficult year of international sports on a high, all signs are pointing to an amazing event coming up here in the Canary Islands over the coming days.

COVID-19 has made it very difficult for the global community, and international competition has not been exempt. Huge efforts have been made by event organisers, local and federal governments, class organisers and competitors, demonstrating a huge display of co-operative strength and community in order to continue to run events in these difficult times.

Compounding on the achievement of simply being able to run an event, this particular competition represents a number of great milestones, as Markus Schwendtner, Class Manager of the IKA said in the opening press conference this morning; "This will be the first event since the International Olympic Committee formally announced that kiteboarding will be included in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

The press conference was attended by a wide representation from the local Spanish authorities, proving that arranging this event was a real team effort.

The press conference was attended by a wide representation from the local Spanish authorities, including Concepción Narváez Vega and Samuel Henríquez Quintana, Mayor and Sports Councillor of the Municipal Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, and also Francisco Castellano Ortiz, Sports Councillor of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, who each delivered their own address attributing the successful organisation of this event to co-operation and team work from all parties, and thanking the riders and sponsors for making it happen.

"This event was really difficult to arrange due to the COVID-19 situation, as well as budget issues etc. but in the end, we have to thank the riders for committing! We have nearly 60 riders and we are really happy that we can succeed because it was not something we were expecting, but only in the last three weeks of the month we managed to organise it all! So with help from the Spanish and Regional Sailing Federation, together with my sailing club, and the various government bodies, in a short time we have been able to put together this event and it is all looking very positive!" said Manuel "Nolo" Martínez Tavío, President of the Club CanaKite Experiences, one of the key event organisers for this competition and also present at the press conference.

Additionally, local kiting legend and organising liaison Gunnar Biniasch pointed out that "It is the very first kitefoil event here on the Canary Islands and the first proper European Championships hosted in Spain [for the class]."

Everybody is thrilled to escape the cold of European winter to the warmth of the Canary Islands.

Approximately 60 competitors from 15 nations hit the water this afternoon to get some practice in, despite light winds causing the scheduled practice race to be cancelled, with four days of high-octane racing kicking off tomorrow. The conditions are certainly amenable considering that almost all the competitors and organisers are more used to mainland Europe conditions, typically with single digit temperatures and grey skies. Temperatures here however, consistently remain above 25 degrees C and the trade winds are almost always reliable, although having been on the ground helping prepare the event, Class Manager Markus noted "Yesterday we had North East wind of 20 knots, which is normal, but the two days previous we had wind from the South, from zero to 12 knots, so hopefully the weather system has been reset already and we should have good conditions moving forward."

As with every sailing event and location, there are many different forecasting models each favoured by different crowds, and weather forecasting itself is somewhat of a dark art; "We either have the thermal wind or the normal gradient winds, between 10 and 20 knots every day." Said Gunnar, a long-time Canary Island kiteboarding stalwart.

"I think the biggest factor facing the competitors will be deciding which size kite to use, especially tomorrow where the wind will start fairly light in the morning, but it will build fairly strongly in the afternoon; we might be getting gusts up to 30 knots tomorrow. So choosing the right kite size, and when to change over and what line lengths to use will be interesting to watch, as well as how people will cope with the choppy water, because it will get pretty bumpy tomorrow morning!" Gunnar said, echoing the thoughts of everyone at this event, or following online around the world; the stage is set, all eyes are looking this way, and this event is looking like it will be a great way to finish off the year for all.

Related Articles

Representation and aspiration
Why the sailors themselves matter far more than what they sail A lot has been made of the International Olympic Committee and World Sailing's decisions for the tenth sailing medal at the Paris 2024 Games. Posted on 14 Jun
IOC approves Men's & Women's Kiteboarding
As Sailing's 10th Medal Event for Paris 2024 On Thursday, June 10, World Sailing was informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the IOC Executive Board approved Men's and Women's Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition. Posted on 11 Jun
Registration open for GKA Youth Freestyle Tour
First scheduled event to be held at El Gouna, Egypt in July The GKA is proud to host the Youth Freestyle and Kite-Surf World Tour. We're stoked to have confirmation for our first scheduled event in El Gouna, Egypt and registration is now open. Posted on 29 May
Youth show the way
World Sailing's crucial mid-year meeting vote for kiteboarding alternative World Sailing held their crucial mid-year meeting last week to decide the alternative for the Mixed Offshore Keelboat event at the Paris Olympics Posted on 17 May
Alternative events for Paris 2024 approved
World Sailing's Council meeting concludes 2021 Mid-Year Meeting World Sailing's Council have approved the Men's and Women's Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) and Men's and Women's Two Person Dinghy (470) as the first and second alternative event proposals to Mixed Offshore at Paris 2024. Posted on 14 May
Alternate reality
Is the Paris 2024 10th medal hammering a square peg in a round hole? This time 40 years ago the drummer Nick Mason released an album called Fictitious Sports. As with his band Pink Floyd, Hipgnosis were called upon for the album art, creating the image you see above, which seemed apt as an intro for this editorial. Posted on 3 May
IKA event update May 2021
The first international kiteboarding events will commence as planned from July onwards With travel restrictions easing and mass vaccination progressing quickly, the first international kiteboarding events will commence as planned from July onwards. Posted on 3 May
Next generation of stars named in Futures Squad
Athletes come from the eight confirmed Olympic classes for the Paris 2024 Games Australian Sailing is pleased to announce the inaugural group of athletes and coaches to be selected to the recently launched Performance Pathway Futures Program. Posted on 22 Apr
The RYA Youth Nationals is back!
The event will welcome as many as 350 young racers from all over the country The RYA is thrilled to announce that the RYA Youth National Championships is coming back with a bang for 2021 - and entries are opening on Monday. Posted on 20 Apr
New Tracing Sticker Program launching Summer 2021
Goal is to maintain beach safety and access for kitesurfers around the world At its core, the Global Kitesports Association's main objective is to continually ensure that kitesurfing has safe practices through the development and implementation of equipment standards. Posted on 10 Apr
McConaghy Boats 2021 - FOOTERPineapple Cup 2022 FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTER