IKA has released a press release today announcing that they have proposed a Formula Kite class for kiteboarding Olympic competition. This is a box rule meaning that any equipment that meets the IKA’s guidelines can be used.
The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) has made a submission to the ISAF annual conference regarding the selection of equipment for the kiteboarding events of the next Olympic Games.
We acknowledge that the equipment selection is subject to evaluation, but we thought that it is a good idea to give you an update on the development that has been done in the meantime to address the valid concerns regarding costs and availability.
After the decision to include men’s and women’s kiteboarding as events in the Olympic regatta it became clear that further restrictions were required to ensure cheapest entry to the Olympics for MNAs while retaining the philosophy of the discipline of kiteboarding and enabling a fair game to all competitors.
We believe that our proposal is effectively addressing all these issues, and rather makes equipment even more available especially to emerging nations, as local builders can satisfy the demands of regional sailors and their associations. This is already happening – e.g. in Thailand and Brazil.
Formula Kite is the International Kiteboarding Associations proposal for the equipment to be used in the Olympic Sailing Regatta, the ISAF Sailing World Cups, and in any other ISAF graded events.
Formula Kite is based on the successful IKA box rule, which allows multiple brands to provide equipment to be used in competition. The main parameters – maximum length and width, minimum weight, and the number of boards and kite to be used during a regatta are already regulated in the current IKA class rules.
The main advantages of the proposed “Formula Kite” box rule are:
- Currently all kiteboard racing competition is sailed on box rule equipment, with a global spread
- Sailors of a very wide weight range can compete against each other with equal opportunities, avoiding preference for any part of the world or certain body shape. For a sample chart including weight and size of the worlds top kite racers, click here.
- The “Formula Kite” box rule concept allows brands to sponsor sailors and invest in them, further reducing equipment purchase costs to MNAs
- “Formula Kite” equipment allows slow but constant evolution of equipment in line with normal “wear and tear” equipment replacement cycles. Sailors are always able to sail on up-to-date equipment which is challenging to sail and attractive to spectators and media
- Most media friendly equipment sports in the Olympics are based on box rule concepts:Skiing/Snowboarding,Cycling,Bobsledge,Rowing/Canoeing,Archery/Shooting,Tennis/Badminton,Etc.
A “One Design” approach would result in losing the top sailors. The Olympics have to be the pinnacle of every sport, with the best athletes taking part. In windsurfing, the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association, an ISAF special event) events are considered to be the pinnacle of the discipline, and a similar situation must be avoided. In windsurfing, not all the best sailors are participating in the Olympic Games. Only the box rule concept of “Formula Kite” will achieve this.
PWA and Formula Windsurfing have successfully used a system very similar to “Formula Kite” for many years, and they have produced top sailors including many from emerging nations on such equipment concept.
Sailors would travel to events with their own equipment – there is no need for event organizers to provide equipment, further reducing their costs.
The kiteboarding industry, representing manufacturers with a market share in kiteracing of app. 90% supports the proposed “Formula Kite” concept. The proposed concept will keep the industry fully involved.
A “box rule concept” avoids a monopoly – monopolies are avoided in world economy as they usually provide poor products on high prices. Competition between manufacturers encourages production of quality equipment for sale at affordable prices. Click here for some background information on provided One-Design Equipment, and why we believe that it does not work for kiteboarding.
All top sailors strongly favour the “box rule concept” as it allows participants of a wide weight and size range to compete with equal chances. Furthermore it is much more rewarding for sailors to sail on up-to-date equipment.
Only the “box rule concept” ensures participation of the world’s top athletes.
ISAF has shown with its recent decisions on the women’s skiff and the mixed multihull that decisions are taken in the interest of the sailors. Let’s keep it this way !