Kiteboarding is changing in Australia. After many years of unstable management formulas, there's finally an official governing body for the sport. And it is up and running.
A grand round of applause to Kiteboarding Australia (KA), the peak body for kiteboarding Down Under. KA is the result of a long and strenuous process, in a country with thousands of enthusiastic riders.
The Australian Kite Surfing Association (AKSA) was founded in 2001 by a group of kiteboarders in the face of growing concern by Australian coastal councils about the dangers that kiteboarding could pose to them legally and financially.
In response, AKSA negotiated an insurance policy that allowed its members to be covered for public liability when kiteboarding recreationally. Thus mitigating the liability of the local government and allowing continued access to beaches for its members.
"AKSA was a volunteer organization run by a committee elected by its members on an annual basis. Other than insurance the organization largely delivered little value to members other than some information about kiteboarding for members and the general public as well as running, ad-hoc events including a National Championship from time to time. As a volunteer organization without a clear vision, AKSA could not provide much more," explains Alexandra Lockie, general manager at KA.
In 2013, AKSA adopted a newly commissioned Strategic Plan. Following this Strategic Plan and the Australian Sports Commissions Best Practice Governance Principles, the committee at the time worked through a strategy to wind up AKSA in favor of a federated sporting model.
This consisted of a national body in the form of a company limited by guarantee (Kiteboarding Australia Limited) of which the voting members are five state-based kiteboarding associations (Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland/Northern Territory).
"Much of the work of Kiteboarding Australia to date has been about putting in place the governance structures and developing the identity of the organization to form a foundation to launch initiatives in line with the Strategic Plan," notes Lockie.
These initiatives are expected to significantly increase the profile of the sport in Australia and globally, as well as improve access and resources for those who enjoy the sport recreationally or competitively, especially with impending Olympic inclusion.
Kiteboarding Australia is looking forward to developing immediate initiatives such as an instructor and school training and accreditation program, a national events program across all disciplines, and the expansion of membership categories and benefits to drive new members.
KA is also debuting the National Kiteboarding League (NKL).