Alexandre Caizergues

The Outright World Sailing Speed Record of 50.57 knots set by French kiteboarder Alexandre CAIZERGUES this October has been ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).
The WSSRC, the International Authority recognized by ISAF for ratifying World Sailing Speed Records, has confirmed that kiteboarders are eligible to hold the Outright World Sailing Speed Record.

As a consequence of this decision, Alexandre CAIZERGUES (FRA) is now the holder of the Outright World Sailing Speed Record following his record-breaking run at the Luderitz speed strip in Namibia on 4 October 2008. CAIZERGUES, onboard a Fone Prototype Speed board with a Fone Bandit Dos Speed 7sq m kite, covered the 500 metre course in just 19.22 seconds, an average speed of 50.57 knots and therefore a new Outright World Sailing Speed Record.

A day before CAIZERGUES set the current record, Sebastien CATTELAN (FRA) became the first sailor to break the 50-knot barrier, recording a run at 50.26 knots, which remained the Outright Sailing Speed Record for just 24 hours.

ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) said, “The International Sailing Federation was delighted to welcome kiteboarding to the ISAF family at our recent meeting in November, when we approved the International Kiteboarding Association for full ISAF International Class status. The ISAF Executive Committee fully supports the WSSRC’s position that kiteboards should be eligible to hold the Outright World Sailing Speed Record. Congratulations to the kiteboarders in Namibia for their fantastic achievements; no doubt they will continue to amaze us in the future and I look forward to watching this exciting new part of the ISAF family grow in the years to come.”

A previous policy established in 2005 had meant that kiteboarders were not eligible to hold the Outright World Sailing Speed Record. However, the WSSRC was unanimous in its wish to remove this policy. The ISAF Executive Committee has confirmed its support for the WSSRC’s position.

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The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Kiteboard Pro World Tour (KPWT) today announced that they have entered a long term cooperation. All events of the KPWT tour will be sanctioned by the IKA and count towards the first officially ISAF sanctioned world championship title.

“This agreement launches a new era of kiteboarding – a significant step forward in the development of the sport in general and unified rules and rankings in particular” said Markus Schwendtner, Executive Secretary of the IKA, which has recently become an ISAF international class.

 “We are happy to work together with the KPWT, the first professional kiteboarding tour, and especially with Frederic Gravoille, who brought up competition kiteboarding about ten years ago.” Schwendtner continues.

“Our organizations complement each other in a perfect way, with our experience over the past years and the IKAs connection to the international sailing community we are sure to be able to properly develop both rules and disciplines, lift kiteboarding to the next level and gain reputation. We have been working on building up kiteboarding since 1998, and it is a great opportunity for us to become our tour officially sanctioned by IKA and ISAF. This is a big step for kiteboarding and the KPWT, 2009 will see a very exciting series for the World Championship Title,” Frederic Gravoille, tour manager of the KPWT states.

The agreement includes the sanction of the KPWT tour events as well as the development of world wide unifed rules and ranking systems.

The IKAs intention is to unify the international kiteboarding community under the well respected umbrella of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), which officially approved a kiteboarding world championship title for the first time in 2009.

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World Sailing Speed Record

We have encountered a lot of confusion about the ratification of the 50.26 knots run by Sebastien Cattelan earlier this year in Luderitz, Namibia, and the upcoming claim for 50.57 knots by Alexandre Caizergues.

WSSRC newsletter number 165 states: "Note that at the November Conference 2008, ISAF clarified that a kite-powered craft cannot be recognised as the holder of The World Sailing Speed Record."

At this stage we only want to clarify that the WSSRC has been always supportive to Kiteboarding and has made clear that they see kiteboards fully eligible to claim the outright speed sailing record. We are working on this topic now with full energy to resolve the matter.

The International Speed Windsurfing Class (ISWC) and the International Kiteboarding Class Association (IKA) both officially acknowledge kiteboarders as rightful speed sailing outright world record holders. Kiteboards fully qualify under the ISAF Equipment Rules of Sailing and the WSSRC rulebook for the outright record.

Although the WSSRC feels to be bound by an ISAF policy from former years, when kiteboarding was neither compliant with the Equipment Rules of Sailing nor being an ISAF international class, the only possible conclusion under the actual rule situation and in the spirit of true sportsmanship is to acknowledge the performances of Alexandre Caizergues, Robert Douglas and Sebastien Cattelan, all with runs of more than 50 knots during this years Luderitz Speed Challenge as the speed sailing outright record.

We have been consulted by WSSRC and ISAF to help and try resolve the issue and to ensure good sportsmanship is maintained.

Source: IKA