Divide and rule: the new World Sailing strategy for kiteboarding

November 14, 2016 | Kiteboarding
Wave kitesurfing: the discipline will be rules by GKA | Photo: IKA

World Sailing has once again introduced significative changes in the sport of kiteboarding.

The world governing body for the sport of sailing has split the governance of kiteboarding into two separate organizations - the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA), and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA).

As a result, IKA loses some of its major powers and responsibilities. Under the new guidelines, the institution led by Marco Babini will only be responsible for managing kiteboarding's racing disciplines.

IKA loses twin-tip freestyle, strapless freestyle, big air, and wave to GKA, a newly-founded organization led by many kite brands and companies. According to the new memorandum of understanding signed by all parties, GKA will also run a new slider/obstacle class.

World Sailing's strategy divide and rule struggles to unite the sport, and leaves other organizations out of a harmonious equation. Moreover, World Sailing continues to make drastic changes in the sport's governing body, rather than promoting a stabilization of kiteboarding.

And, in its official statement, World Sailing adds more confusion to the whole scenario with unclear messages.

"Under the memorandum of understanding, the IKA agrees not to run, organize or sanction world level expression performance events or competitions now governed by the GKA but remains responsible for the pathway and development as well as events on continental level and below," says the institution led by Andy Hunt.

So, for how long will IKA and GKA be able to coexist peacefully and without conflicts of interest? How can a divided sport have a shot at the Olympic Games?

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