Kiteboarding: Formula Kite is on the way

The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) has proposed a Formula Kite class for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic kiteboarding debut.

The governing authority in kiteboarding is concerned with costs and availability of the equipment for the kiteboarding events in the next Olympic Games.

"After the decision to include men’s and women’s kiteboarding as events in the Olympic regatta it became clear that further restrictions were required to ensure cheapest entry to the Olympics for MNAs while retaining the philosophy of the discipline of kiteboarding and enabling a fair game to all competitors".

IKA believes their proposal "makes equipment even more available especially to emerging nations, as local builders can satisfy the demands of regional sailors and their associations".

Therefore, Formula Kite is the IKA's solution for the Olympic Sailing Regatta, the ISAF Sailing World Cups and other ISAF graded events. Formula Kite is based on the successful IKA box rule, which allows multiple brands to provide equipment to be used in competition.

The main parameters – maximum length and width, minimum weight, and the number of boards and kite to be used during a regatta are already regulated in the current IKA class rules.

IKA says that the main advantages of Formula Kite are: sailors of a very wide weight range can compete against each other with equal opportunities; allowing brands to sponsor sailors and invest in them, further reducing equipment purchase costs to MNAs.

Moreover, Formula Kite equipment allows slow but constant evolution of equipment in line with normal "wear and tear" equipment replacement cycles. Sailors are always able to sail on up-to-date equipment which is challenging to sail and attractive to spectators and media

Kiteboard authorities also criticized the "One Design" model because it would result in losing the top sailors, like in professional windsurfing where PWA sailors to get into the Olympics.