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Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

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Toby
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Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby Toby » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:00 pm

I just read about this!

Let's see the outcome of this....


Kite controversy to be debated at ISAF Annual Conference

Kiting’s apex body is set to consider a near-immediate ban on foil kites for Formula course board racing, ostensibly over safety fears for competitors.

The International Kiteboarding Association’s (IKA) annual general meeting next Tuesday (Nov 4) is likely to debate measures put forward by the Polish Kiteboarding Association (PKA) that would effectively outlaw ram-air kites from the beginning of next year.

The move has stirred bitter controversy among Formula kite racers as the devastatingly efficient and quick foil kites have revolutionized the course board discipline this season, leaving those flying Leading-Edge Inflatable (LEI) kites trailing.

Leading edge inflatable kites have an inflated bladder at the leading edge which gives the kite its shape and also keeps the kite floating once dropped in the water.

Ram air kites have openings at the front leading edge to allow foil inflation and to create the wing shape.

For many riders the key difficulty was that only two manufacturers – Ozone with the Chrono and St Petersburg-based Elf with the Joker – had put resources into pioneering the new generation of foil kites that took the race scene by storm.

In particular North Kiteboarding team riders – including women’s world champion Steph Bridge and son Olly, men’s European champion – had to use North-badged Elf foil kites in order to be competitive against Ozone riders.

However, the number of riders who turned up to compete at the Formula kite World, African and European championships was dramatically down on the previous year. Some argue the biggest factor for the fall was the expense and lack of availability of foil kites, without which riders felt at a big disadvantage. A few racers left the Worlds early, disheartened their campaign was doomed riding LEI kites.

But the PKA, which hosted the European championships in Mielno in September, argues in its submission likely to be aired by the IKA at the forthcoming meeting in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, that the foil kites pose grave risk to riders because of a lack of buoyancy – unlike tube kites – when in the water.

The Polish association proposes that kites’ inflated tubes should be at least 50 litres in volume, with the additional proviso they should have three inflatable struts to hold the trailing edge clear of the water to improve visibility and buoyancy. The stipulations would effectively rule out foil kites.

Marek Rowinski, PKA president, spent several months consulting the country’s leading riders and competition organizers, particularly after an incident at the Polish Cup where a fleet of around 10 foil kites fell when the wind dropped, leaving most riders in the water, two of whom were extremely difficult to locate because of their kites’ low visibility.

“If the present foil kites drop in the water they’re simply not visible and they may drag the rider into the water on the high seas,” said Rowinski. “[Top rider] was almost drowned in rough sea. He said it was the most dangerous experience he’d ever had.”

Rowinski envisages any foil kite ban would last only a year or two to enable manufacturers to come up with a solution to the perceived safety issues. He is convinced the PKA’s measure will secure a proposer and seconder so that it is discussed at the AGM, though he accepts winning a two-thirds majority vote might be tough.

Predictably Ozone is aghast at any possible ban, no matter how distant the possibility. Matt Taggart, Ozone Kites’ manager, leapt on to a vitriolic Facebook Kiteboard Racing group thread to decry the absurd notion that the IKA might ban foil kites.

“Markus [Schwendtner, IKA CEO] two to three years ago was always telling us to ‘design better kites so we could race in lighter winds’,” wrote Taggart. “Well, Roman [Luibimtsev], Elf, led the way and now [we] at Ozone put in the hard work with investment to find the way. We did what the IKA told us to do and now the talk is about banning foil kites!”

Taggart further argues the innovation of foil kites has helped ensure exciting events go ahead in the lightest of winds guaranteeing organizers, riders and spectators get a return for their investment. “So now to limit the innovation in light-wind racing that the performance-foil kites give us would be total madness,” he writes.

Elf’s Luibimtsev is equally incensed, listing the foil kites’ advantages over tube kites, like a wider wind range, better ability to stay airborne in lulls, and even the chance to relaunch a folded foil kite once mastered over a deflated LEI.

“Now ram air kites are going to be declared outlaws,” he writes. “But this is outrageous! I have been around as a rider and coach. I have not seen a single accident because of a foil ‘lacking safety’. What I have seen is that sometimes inflatables float while foils fly. I know it hurts.”

Reigning world champion Steph Bridge has her reservations. She has safety concerns, but is more alarmed at the effect foils have had on Formula kite ridership due to expense, durability and accessibility issues that have “killed a great sport in 12 months.” Yet – echoing the sentiment of many racers – she accepts the genie is out of the bottle.

“For sure, I don’t want to go back,” she said. “I love foil kites. In the big sizes they’re really easy. I think it would be very difficult to ban them. That would be a backward step. Really, we need more.”

Source: Ian MacKinnon, Kiteboard Tour Asia

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby dracop » Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:05 pm

Im not a racer but this seems silly. Let people use whatever kite tech they want and let the best products win. If safety is a major concern given a potential inability to relaunch, ask anyone with a foil to wear a pfd or impact vest that can float them.

As far as LEIs being noncompetitive in this field, <shrug> if you want to play in the space, get the correct gear. Discriminating against an entire product class because its too efficient is nuts.

I fly LEIs but used an open air ram foil for my trainer kite days.

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby Peter_Frank » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:22 pm

dracop wrote:Im not a racer but this seems silly. Let people use whatever kite tech they want and let the best products win. If safety is a major concern given a potential inability to relaunch, ask anyone with a foil to wear a pfd or impact vest that can float them.

As far as LEIs being noncompetitive in this field, <shrug> if you want to play in the space, get the correct gear. Discriminating against an entire product class because its too efficient is nuts.

I fly LEIs but used an open air ram foil for my trainer kite days.
Agree fully, and a good openminded opinion :thumb:

8) Peter

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby joriws » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:31 pm

Here is how closed cell foils do it. 73nm cold water Baltic sea crossing without support boat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch&v=X8ZCbMb ... e=youtu.be

And safety for racers near shore is a concern... My bladder bursted..

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby gavin feargrieve » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:14 am

And I quote Steph Bridge- "The genie is out of the bottle". Well, that pretty much says it all. It's a sport dedicated to racing, right?! The expense of buying a new quiver of foil kites may put some riders out of the race for a time , but this will not last. The race scene will rebound. Everyone wants the fastest ... whatever. It's a race! Right!

I've always felt foils were more efficient than LEI kites. I usually use my LEI kites, but every once and a while pull out the foils to remind myself how great they are. Foils don't like rain/ fog and I live in a place with those shitty conditions. Pity .

I started paragliding a few years ago. Now there is something you will never do with and an LEI. It comes down to safety and mostly efficiency!

Safety. Well, there is a bit of a learning curve with foils and it takes a bit of time and loads of different situations to get that experience to deal with different relaunch situations with your foil. If you are a true waterman/ wom. you will develop those skills. Personally, I think the simplicity and ease of use with LEI kites has given a lot of novice kiters a false sense of security at times.

Let the best kite win.

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby longwhitecloud » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:14 am

The more I read about kite racing, the more I think maybe it is kiteracing itself that should be banned.

It seems like it may need to start again, maybe involving less self interests.

I certainly don't want to read anything about ISAF or IKA involvement in kiteboarding.

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby BigPaul » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:25 am

Where's Pump me up on this thread?

This is plain stupid. foils have been in use for years now with out this being brought up as a safety issue. It sounds like those companies not producing foils have had a word in someones ear.

Surely carrying a flare or brightly coloured clothing would be far fairer that banning foils!

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby gbleck » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:21 pm

Doesn't surprise me. They defacto banned foiling boards with the fin length restrictions. I wonder if the drop off in competitors has more to do with switching over to foil boards then kites.

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby Johnny Rotten » Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:20 pm

Um elephant in the room, FOIL BOARDS!

no one is racing course boards because it is a pointless skill and dying animal.
Any serious racers have dropped them in favour of foil boards.
This is what killed course board racing, not foil kites. Something faster developed.....people jumped aboard.

Who wants to learn how to lug around a 180 x 60 cm monster and slap it across the waves all day to train. Things are bloody useless now, crappy to ride, aweful to transport, slower and not as good as a foil board in light wind. Other than the feeling of going like hell (which you can do BETTER on a foil board) does anyone have FUN on one of these things?
.
On a speed/dollar basis foil boards and kites are LIGHTYEARS ahead of every sailing discipline and likely outright faster than all.....let the specialized gear develop.

You want accessible B grade beer league races that draw crowds and anyone can do....twin tips and inflatables..... Throw some kickers and sliders and gaps in there, to make it interesting....Boarder cross style.....in addition to being a better spectator sport the kickers etc keeps the stupid specialized big fin gear that's useless and boring for general riding out of the format and limits the gear to the stuff that the majority of us will play on.

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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby Toby » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:15 pm

we see more and more hydrofoil events.
At one point IKA has to announce the end of Formula racing...since it gets less and less attention.

And two of those classes doesn't make sense for the sport, businesses and athletes.
More important to have the boardercross as second race discipline.


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