Kiteboarding "belongs at the X Games", says Barbara Kendall

May 7, 2012 | Windsurfing
Barbara Kendall: shocked to hear that kiteboarding has dethroned windsurfing

Barbara Kendall, a New Zealand Olympic windsurfing champion, believes that kiteboarding "belongs at the X Games", after the sport replaced windsurfing in the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro.

Kendall confessed she was shocked after hearing that the ISAF Council had changed their votes in favor of kiteboarding. Windsurfing has been part of the Olympic movement since 1984 and will be showcasing in London 2012, for the last time.

"It is exciting for kiteboarding but tragic for boardsailing. Kiteboarding really is a sport that should be at the X Games. It's more of an extreme sort of recreational sport and the judging is just so subjective because it involves tricks and other stunts that are a feature of the X Games", explains Barbara Kendall.

"The IOC has said it wants to move away from that sort of sport and judging and boardsailing also ticks all the gender and demographic boxes. So I was very surprised by the news and I guess they have bowed to pressure to modernize. While that is good I do not think kiteboarding is the answer", add the winner gold, silver and bronze medals in three Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, kiteboarders defend their victory and a very hot debate is underway.

"When it became clear that there will be not more than two medals we tried to work out something together with the RS:X class to share the medals, to ensure the Windsurfing stays in the Olympic Games, but Kiteboarding can be added", says Markus Schwendtner, Executive Secretary of the International Kiteboarding Association.

"Unfortunately - this request has been refused by the RS:X class and thus ISAF had to make a decision, and if you take the risk then you must be aware that there is a chance to lose", he adds.

"However, I have windsurfed almost all my life, and I truly believe that both kiteboarding and windsurfing should be in the Olympic Games, and we will support windsurfing to come back in for 2020 as far as we can".