- 21 April 2012 | Kiteboarding
Kiteboarding is ready to be included as an ISAF and Olympic sailing event for both men and women. This is the main conclusion taken by the ISAF officials during the Kiteboarding Trials held, last month, in Santander, Spain.
"Kiteboarding can add new interest to the ISAF Sailing World Cup and ISAF Sailing World Championships by helping to promote sailing to the media and the IOC. Effectively Kiteboarding can provide a real opportunity to help promote sailing", the document reports.
Actually, the final evaluation and technical reports introduced a few revelant recommendantions. The ISAF team considered that "safety issues are slightly different for Kiteboarding and it would be essential to have a well-trained team on the racing area (size of committee boats, tangled ropes, cutting the kites, jumping)".
The ISAF analysis believes kiteboard rules are well developed and follow the standard Racing Rules of Sailing with some discipline specific changes. The officials wrote that "racing is close to the shore with an easy to follow competition format. Kiteboarding is colorful, attractive to spectators and media and especially appealing to youth".
The overall kiteboarding evaluation is definitely very good. The class is growing fast. Approximately 60000 sailors start kiteboarding every year and 180000 kites and 75000 hulls are sold every year, with a yearly growth of 10%.
The ISAF judges have also underlined that there are "currently 14 builders producing hulls and 19 builders produce kites", a fact which "guarantees high quality at a low prize".
The report believes the equipment is light weight and offers a wide weight band. Kiteboards are physically and technically challenging to sail, but not destructive to the body (no pumping, always trapezing).
The ISAF officials consider the identification of sailors needs to be improved by adding nationality flags to the kites. The race for a ticket in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games is clearly on. Kiteboarding and windsurfing will be battling for it until the last minute.