Wave kitesurfing: not the same as surfing

Kitesurfers have been discussing the judging guidelines that should score performances in wave kitesurfing contests. The Kite Surf Pro (KSP) confirms that judges will be following major elements like commitment, degree of difficulty, innovative and progressive maneuvers, combination of major maneuvers, variety of maneuvers, speed, power and flow.

Also, judges will also consider riding strapless, switch, unhooked or any combination as more technically difficult. Kitesurfers must combine the major elements in order to be awarded scores in the excellent range.

Simply increasing your degree of difficulty by riding switch, unhooked and strapless will not produce an excellent wave score if it is not combined with other key elements such as commitment, speed, power, flow, combination, variety and innovative/progressive maneuvers.

And vice-versa, a kitesurfer using foot straps will decrease his degree of difficulty and commitment even if he is fulfilling all other major elements, making it more difficult to produce scores in the excellent range.

KSP has been cooperating with the International Surfing Association (ISA) judges and coaches to further educate kite judges in the finer points of surf judging. Long time Association of Surfing Professionals judge and passionate strapless kitesurfer Dave Oates is standing by the KSP as a mentor and adviser, offering his help and knowledge wherever possible.

"The key is getting the right people together to get the right result from the start. This makes competitors confident about the system and the panel. The critical maneuvers done surfing are the key component strapped or unstrapped and a good judge knows the difference", says Oates.

"Understanding the extra component of the kite to the equation is not that difficult after watching good kitesurfing. Key is going to be consistency, reevaluation and fine tuning", he adds.