December 19, 2008 – The Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) formally requested a meeting today with the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) through its Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner to have face to face discussions regarding several issues that the PKRA and IKA have raised since IKA’s formal recognition by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
PKRA Tour Manager Mauricio Toscano said in his letter to Schwendtner that, “the point I wanted to get across was about the PKRA’s reputation for having some of the highest quality kiteboarding events and competition levels in the kiteboarding world. This has come about because the PKRA, from the beginning, has created its freestyle rules and regulations by the riders themselves. This has developed and progressed the sport in a direction that the riders believe to be the best for competition. Therefore the Freestyle judging has been developed to reward the hardest, most difficult maneuvers, based on the riders’ beliefs. The level has become increasingly complicated, to the extent, that it takes a panel of professional judges to identify every maneuver and grade it correctly. The PKRA has formed such a professional body of judges, and periodically holds judge’s clinics and rider’s meetings to improve on the overall system. Unfortunately, other organizations have not done the same and that is why we feel that best professional riders choose to compete exclusively on the PKRA tour and at its events.”
While the PKRA has remained silent since the IKA was given recognition by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the PKRA has been weighing and investigating all possible aspects of this development prior to releasing any statements. PKRA has been in constant communication with Schwendtner regarding its position in joining the IKA and where it stands with ISAF but current developments call for more elaborate talks.
PKRA feels that IKA’s approach of unifying the competitive sport of kiteboarding, although an ambitious undertaking, could be a step in the right direction to help grow the sport. However, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed.
“It is also very unfortunate that an organization such as the IKA is reverting to use threatening and strong arm tactics to rush or force the PKRA to join the IKA as evidenced by the open letter published by IKA on some websites, hence we need to establish a face to face meeting with the IKA authorities,” reiterated Toscano.
The PKRA will release further information should the IKA accept the request for a meeting in January, at which time the PKRA will also release its proposed 2009 schedule for the World Tour.
Since 2000, the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association has been in the forefront of professional kiteboarding, organizing world-class, professional kiteboarding events and the PKRA World Tour. Over the years of running professional kiteboarding events around the world, PKRA has developed a competition format largely with the input of the competitors, with a riders’ committee in charge of reviewing current competition rules and formats. In 2008, PKRA had 11 kiteboarding events in 10 different countries around the world with combined total prize money in excess of $535,000 and was participated in by the best kiteboarders from more than 26 countries.
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