Howdy all. First post in the new section. Sorry to be a bit contentious here, but I am interested in what is the objective of this competition series? Is it to lift the profile or advance the sport, or to obtain better sponsorship for professionals, or assist the companies to sell more kites, or to better engage wave riding kitesurfers in general?
Personally, one of the great things about kitesurfing and kite assisted wave surfing is the lack of all the competative hoopla. As far as I see it (with my jaded perspective), the reality of professional competition is generally to lift the profile of the sport to sustain the professionals and the companies. The net benefit of to the consumer might be a few good videos and possibly some advances in gear and technique. Whilst Surfingwithkites proposes a grassroots format, it actually seems to be anything but. So far there have been references to exotic locations for pro level competitors which to me does not really equate with the grass roots of the sport.
To me it seems that most people I have met in kitesurfing pay very little attention to the PKRA (or whatever it is). For many it does not seem to be that engaging hearing about the latest double back bosh mobe, or the latest social antics of a bunch of adolescents. To me this seems to be consolidated by the vast number of sponsored/team riders for kite companies who actually don't compete in the PRKA. Surfing certainly managed a very successful competition series, but again, apart from the aspiring grommets who spend half their time salivating over the titty pages of surfing mags and buying the latest board shorts, many are alienated by the professional surf culture.
Maybe I have got it all wrong and everyone actually wants to know who is best and see what kite he is riding and follow the rankings and see which brand has the most successful riders. However, I would prefer to think that most are actually interested in participation first and foremost. My own view is that participation rather than competition can still advance the sport, aquiesce to the needs of sponsors, professionals and companies and better engage the general kitesurfing population.
In Australia, there are a couple of events that inherently promote these values. These include Kitestock, the Mambo Merrimbula Classic and Tannum Sands. However, the rock climbing fraternity has many better examples with events such as the Petzl Roc Trips (eg http://en.petzl.com/petzl/frontoffice/S ... /index.jsp or http://en.petzl.com/petzl/SportNews?News=188) or the Hueco Rock Rodeo (http://www.climbing.com/community/events/2006huecorr/ ). These are all genuine grass root events that enable people of all levels to celebrate the sport they love, yet still enable the elite to have a venue/forum for progressing the sport, and provide a wide captive audience for the companies to promote their wares.
Simply, it would be great if there were a series of events more like festivals that celebrated and promoted participation in kite assisted wave riding rather than a series of events that promoted riders and brands. Anyhow, I don't mean to ruffle any feathers and was just hoping to throw up a couple of other ideas.