Kiteboarding: goodbye, windsurfers

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has confirmed that kiteboarding will replace windsurfing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Council voted 19 to 17 to have kiteboarding in the capital of Brazil.


The ISAF Council decided that kiteboarding should debut in the Olympic Games, in the Men's and Women's board events. In November 2011, an evaluation group was appointed to examine kiteboarding formats with the board events for Rio 2016 defined as "windsurfing and/or kiteboarding".

"The decision today will change the lives of thousands of kiteboarders that now can live their Olympic dream. The National Sailing Associations will now include kiteboarding into their programs and coach and support the riders to go to the Olympic Qualification events. We never thought we would get this far in such a short time", said Markus Schwendtner, IKA Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner.

The Evaluation Group recommended that kiteboarding be included in the ISAF Event family including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships but Council went one step further and selected Kiteboarding for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition as well.

"Well we all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio! Kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport! To celebrate this, myself, my family and a few friends will this week attempt to kite across the English Channel to show off the beauty of kite-surfing", said Sir Richard Branson, one of the IKAs Olympic Ambassadors and supporters.

The ISAF Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Committee will consider and make further recommendations to Council on the implementation of the inclusion of kiteboarding at their meeting in November 2012 at the ISAF Annual Conference.

"These announcements mark a new era for sailing and we welcome the new classes into the ISAF family. The equipment selections have fulfilled the criteria set out by the Evaluation Panel and we look forward to seeing the boats not only at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the ISAF Sailing World Cup and ISAF Sailing World Championships", says ISAF President Göran Petersson.

"Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games."