Recently, the IKA cancelled their contract with the VKWC. Replacing the PKRA, the VKWC intended to establish a new contract and partner with the IKA. However, the PKRA, under new ownership, changed their name and logo to the VKWC branding while continuing to conduct competition events, which IKA claims is a breach of their existing contract.
After months of negotiations, due to conflicting interests in safety, development and growth of the sport, event execution and a series of other issues, the two parties were unable to reach an agreement and consequently the IKA terminated their contract. In a battle for ownership status, the two entities have crossed lines and become tangled in a series of arguments. In a recent press release the IKA wrote, “Neither PKRA nor its new ownership, currently known as Virgin Kitesurf World Championships, are able to conduct any further World Tour events after the conclusion of the event currently taking place in Tarifa.” The IKA notes that they are “the sole owner of the Freestyle and Big Air World Titles and will run the event in Fuerteventura together with the local organizing team.”
However, the VKWC went around the IKA seeking confirmation from the highest authorizing tier, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and sought permission to run the Fuerteventura event on a one-off basis so that “the Furerteventura Kitesurfing World Championships will proceed in accordance with its event contract with the local organizer.” The battle for superiority is temporarily on hold as representatives from both the IKA and VKWC met in London with ISAF as a mediator. All parties have agreed that until a long term arrangement is in place, the upcoming Fuerteventura Kitesurfing World Championships will go ahead as planned by, and contracted with, the VKWC, as an IKA sanctioned event and with permission from ISAF for its “World” designation. ISAF and IKA will also be in attendance to provide support to the event promoter and assure riders of the fairness of competition.
What does this all mean? Is kiteboarding’s competitive tour at risk? Will all this chaos and infighting ruin kiteboarding’s chance at gaining a foothold into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition? Will these organizations work together to untangle this mess or will one whip out a kite knife and slash the other’s lines? We hope that these two organizations will find a compromise and quickly reconcile for the sake of progressing the sport and supporting the riders who are caught in between. Only time will tell, but Fuerteventura will prove to be an exciting competition on and off the water.