Seems to me the sport is having growing pains with respect to competition. Pretty normal for adolescence I guess. Where do you see it going as it matures? Racing is racing, waves are waves, but Freestyle has stagnated as so eloquently pointed out by Longwhitebeard. The level of skill and athleticism is off the chart, yet its repetitive and stale to watch with much of the scoring moves being too fast and tehnical to appeal to more than an avid judge.
Big air is having a moment, but the same issues are creeping in. Repetitive, risky and difficult to showcase. Great from beach side, but anyone who tried watching the Kota live stream knows, even without the dropping feed it was lame camera work. Most of the time your watching guys make their way up wind and when they do catch a moment, the angles never really flatter.
The straw pole on here was pretty close, so maybe you have ideas on how the whole thing could improve. Toby want's crowd judging. Not entirely a bad idea. My worry with that is devaluing degree of difficulty.
The most consistent criticism is lack of variety. We all seem to have a little different idea of what we would like to see more of, but the fault remains.
I personally think heats are part of the problem. Combined with only a specific set of criteria like height, or risk and you get a lot of lame working upwind to produce a few scoring moves. Most of it is wasted time. Makes sense in a wave heat where wave selection is the be all and end all, but maybe not for freestyle.
I'd love to see multiple scoring elements put into a single comp. The best way I can envision it is slope style. Riders take turns running a downwind course that is set up to highlight the best spots suited to a variety of the types of moves we all want to see. That way the big air component is in roughly the same spot for everyone, the slides are done in close to the crowd, the technical handle passes in the flats etc. Features can be set to maximize their potential, and there are scoreable moments between for riders to throw in other elements. Would be nice to see a comp with zero footage of riders schloging upwind. Where the cameras are set to catch each segment from the best possible vantage and you get to see and compare riders feature for feature with no missed moves. Courses would be set so different regions or elements score differently and only those suited are scored for height or risk.
Any other ideas.
Last edited by Starsky on Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I think the sport is too wide in terms of styles..
Without a doubt the KOTA style works for getting people watching the sport but I also get that the wake style side of it is very skillful too.. BUT... I think it is only impressive to those who understand how hard it is. IF you want to make cash, big air is where it is. If you want to impress the skate lot (young, not much money) then wake is where it is.
I was frustrated seeing the limit to what the guys in boots could do at KOTA. kiteloop variations at most or a high handlepass.
What drew me to this sport was big air, I came from windsurfing and I came as it looked like you could fly with a kite. Not sure about others but my best dreams are when I am flying..
All I know is that I'd rather see a 25m board off than a 9m kiteloop with a front roll.
Tone wrote:All I know is that I'd rather see a 25m board off than a 9m kiteloop with a front roll.
Set the right course, you could get both without the risk of missing one because your watching the other.
Downwind course, appreciate each rider's full run, and spectators get to see what they want depending on where along the course they gather. A couple of judges for each segment simplifying their job and levelling the playing field. A few required elements with enough room to improvise, or not and opt to go big on one of the bigger elements. Maybe an option in the course. Go right and hit a feature or bit of flat water, go left and boost big over an island or boardwalk. Could differentiate and showcase kiting better than heats.
Would take some creativity in shaping courses, but if the goal is truly variety, we could be shaping well rounded players by changing the game. Go big and go technical depending on where you are on any given course. Bring back some of the simple yet crowd appreciated aspects of riding currently absent from competition. Chiefly flow and continuity in linking segments of the course with easily appreciated simple moves that add up to bolster overall scores. Taking some of the emphasis off single major scoring elements and rewarding the less technical or massive bits in between could actually foster both variety and viewership.
the Canadian TT championship was well organized with three different events (big air, tt racing, freestyle) but one that stood out was one design racing! Ocean Rodeo provided the gear (flites and mako dukes) and people were able to give it a go even if they never rode strapless surfboards!! the whole event was about including people of all skill levels.. and having something they could all try! the future might be those little events that includes everyone and encourages development of riders! some people went out and ripped it up with big air tricks, some that didn't think they'd have fun racing did and even those that never boosted hit some big air! check out Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island its a hidden gem and we have some wicked fun and good kiters!!
I keep suggesting boarder cross style. Around bouys, over high inflated hinders, wide ramps, chicanes, etc. 5 to heat, beach start, first 2 advance. Spot and organizations decide the layout, but have some minimum requirements, share the inflatable hinders.
If the goal is to get the sport more commercial appeal and have a reason to televise it, I think we need to rip off freestyle skateboarding. Obstacles to boost over, features and rails to jump on, and a "big air" area on a given course that allows someone to demonstrate their aerial skill. You could make it sort of slalomy so they start upwind and have to ride downwind through a course of obstacles that blend wake/air/freestyle.
If you throw in racing and surf riding as the other 2 main disciplines of the sport, they are different enough to prevent internal cannibilization for market share and sponsorship but gives the TV cameras something they can broadcast. The racers go for the olympics/sailing pathway, surfers push to hold professionally judged competitions at windy wave spots, and this new "multi-cross" discipline fills in the gaps where the current freestyle/big air events are lacking.
The biggest problem with anything not on a hydrofoil is the wind requirements. That's why it amazes me that anyone is pushing back against foiling being the only serious Olympic class; nobody wants to see dudes on 15m C kites doing chop hops in 12 knots.
Is there any specific reason why kitesurfing needs competitions?
I have not seen competitions work for any boardsport in a natural environment. Watched a few surfing competitions and that was stupidly boring, watching everyone paddle around. Snowboarding has the same issues kitesurfing has, if you have no clue, like myself, you do not know which tricks are "worth" more, because they all look the same. And then there is X-Games, were the one with the biggest balls wins. A bit like KOTA
Get rid of timed heats in freestyle. Either do a downwind coarse where you go around buoys or just have an attempt limit. If they crash their run is over and just do best of 2 runs per heat. If you wanted to get really fancy riders could submit their runs and have a total score possible based on trick difficulty, style and execution much like sports like gymnastics and figure skating. All so this is how wakestyle comps should be set up.
Landing safe tricks for a sure score then going for harder ones to knock out the safe tricks is not what I would call pro level. There is not much risk vs reward in kiting comps with the current format.