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Last week, the Kite Park League (KPL), announced their first press release. A for the riders by the riders association, the release described their goals of establishing a park riding world ranking system. We caught up with Colleen Carroll and Craig Cunningham, two of the driving forces behind the KPL, to get a bit more insight on how and why this league came to be, how they established a scoring system, who’s onboard and how it operates. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.45.44 AMWhy is an organizing body necessary?
Craig: Because we started to see other people with different interests talking about taking the reigns on a wakestyle/park tour, we wanted to make sure the right people where in the position to push the movement forward and lay the groundwork for the next generation.

Where did the idea for the KPL come from?
Colleen: A few of the guys that are in the Union today have been thinking about this idea for atleast a few years now. I remember conversations going around about three years ago but at the time, I think conflicting brands interests and busy schedules didn’t allow for it to come about. Then after pressures from the industry and the idea that other organizers might try to do something similar put the pressu
re on all the riders to make something happen. In Palawan this year, Eric Rienstra took the reigns to get a collective idea of what the riders wanted to see happen and started making moves.

Who is the governing body made of? Is there a hierarchy?
Colleen: Currently in the union we have James Boulding, Sensi Graves, Craig Cunningham, Karolina Winkowska, Christophe Tack, Tom Court, Noe Font, Rick Jensen, Jake Kelsick, Billy Parker, Tobi Holter, Rich Sabo, Maciek Lewandowski, Sam Medysky, Manuela Jungo, Ewan Jaspan, Andre Phillip and Victoria Soloveykina. Then the 5 spokespeople voted to guide decisions and make agendas for the union are Eric Rienstra, Sam Light, Brandon Scheid, Alexander Lewis-Hughes and me (Colleen Carroll). And although these five are in place to discuss topics and do some of the organization, the union votes on everything. Not a single decision is made without a majority of the union agreeing on it.

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Photo: Blue Palawan/Toby Bromwich

What is the process to be fully sanctioned?
Craig: We’re not fully sanctioned. Maybe in the future we will be but as of right now we’re not looking for the IKA, IKO or any of these companies to give us the rights to claim a world champion. All the top riders are involved and the brands are supporting it.

How much work is it to create this body?
Colleen: It’s been a lot of Facebook group chats and polls to get a collective idea of how we wanted to move forward with the league and the direction we wanted to take. But for this first year, we’re trying to keep it simple, outline the ranking system, establish qualifying events and have a website to publish the standings.

What was the process of making the scoring system?
Eric loves teching out on tricks and so he was the perfect man to come up with the scoring system. He took some inspiration from Brian Wheeler’s scoring system for the Triple-S as well as input from the other KPL members.

How does a rider get into the league? If you are invited to one event but not another how would this play out?
Craig: There are a lot of wakestyle events in the world now, around 9 in total. Currently, at 5 of these events you can collect points for the tour with two discards and Triple-S being the only invitational event on the schedule. So in the end, if you make it to at least 3 events you can have a world ranking.

When will the final crowning take place? (Is there prize money included?)
Colleen: The final crowning will happen at the end of the year after the final qualifying event in the UK. Prize money is determined on an event-to-event basis.
Craig: For example an event like Triple-S has 50K prize money!


Photo: Blue Palawan/Toby Bromwich

This looks like a 100% for the riders by the riders sort of deal. Who else took on what roles and did you seek any outside help, if so from who?
Craig:  Originally we had 21 riders in the union, those riders voted on the 5 that they wanted to be the spokespeople for the group. Even though it is by the riders for the riders we have also had help from other industry people like Toby Bromwich and Alexander Lewis-Hughes.
Colleen: Exactly. This union has been created by the riders with the motivation to create a league that is in the best interest of the riders and the future growth of the sport. As for roles, everyone involved is playing a part in one way or another. We have the 5 ‘spokespeople’ that are basically just facilitating the voting process, getting things organized like the Facebook group, Instagram, announcements, etc. but everyone is lending a hand. Forexample Manuela volunteered to get the website going and Tom Court has been helping plan for KPL related video content but really everyone is doing something to contribute so I can’t list everything. Lets just say that I’m stoked to be a part of it and appreciate the efforts that everyone has put in.

Read the full release:
13161902_558358361008497_5716575495055820899_oFor more information and to keep up with the Kite Park World Ranking, visit their website at: www.kiteparkleague.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kiteparkleague
or on Instagram at @kiteparkleague