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 Post subject: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Events
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:39 pm 
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IKA News:

Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Events 2016


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) has made a submission to the ISAF annual conference regarding the selection of equipment for the kiteboarding events of the next Olympic Games.

We acknowledge that the equipment selection is subject to evaluation, but we thought that it is a good idea to give you an update on the development that has been done in the meantime to address the valid concerns regarding costs and availability.

After the decision to include men's and women's Kiteboarding as events in the Olympic regatta it became clear that further restrictions were required to ensure cheapest entry to the Olympics for MNAs while retaining the philosophy of the discipline of kiteboarding and enabling a fair game to all competitors.

We believe that our proposal is effectively addressing all these issues, and rather makes equipment even more available especially to emerging nations, as local builders can satisfy the demands of regional sailors and their associations. This is already happening – e.g. in Thailand and Brazil.

Formula Kite is the International Kiteboarding Associations proposal for the equipment to be used in the Olympic Sailing Regatta, the ISAF Sailing World Cups, and in any other ISAF graded events.

Formula Kite is based on the successful IKA box rule, which allows multiple brands to provide equipment to be used in competition. The main parameters - maximum length and width, minimum weight, and the number of boards and kite to be used during a regatta are already regulated in the current IKA class rules.

The main advantages of the proposed "Formula Kite" box rule are:

· Currently all kiteboard racing competition is sailed on box rule equipment, with a global spread
· Sailors of a very wide weight range can compete against each other with equal opportunities, avoiding preference for any part of the world or certain body shape. For a sample chart including weight and size of the worlds top kite racers, click here.
· The "Formula Kite" box rule concept allows brands to sponsor sailors and invest in them, further reducing equipment purchase costs to MNAs
· "Formula Kite" equipment allows slow but constant evolution of equipment in line with normal "wear and tear" equipment replacement cycles. Sailors are always able to sail on up-to-date equipment which is challenging to sail and attractive to spectators and media
· Most media friendly equipment sports in the Olympics are based on box rule concepts:
· Skiing/Snowboarding etc
· Cycling
· Bobsledge
· Rowing/Canoeing
· Archery/Shooting
· Tennis/Badminton
· Etc

A "One Design" approach would result in losing the top sailors. The Olympics have to be the pinnacle of every sport, with the best athletes taking part. In windsurfing, the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association, an ISAF special event) events are considered to be the pinnacle of the discipline, and a similar situation must be avoided. In windsurfing, not all the best sailors are participating in the Olympic Games. Only the box rule concept of "Formula Kite" will achieve this.

PWA and Formula Windsurfing have successfully used a system very similar to "Formula Kite" for many years, and they have produced top sailors including many from emerging nations on such equipment concept.

Sailors would travel to events with their own equipment - there is no need for event organizers to provide equipment, further reducing their costs.

The proposed changes, as an appendix to the current IKA class rules called "Formula Kite" can be found here with explanations.
For a full version of the IKA class rules with "Formula Kite" appendix applied, click here. (coming soon)

The proposed registration system, which ensures world wide availability to all interested MNAs and NCAs at reduced prices can be found here with explanations.
For a full version of the proposed registration system click here (coming soon)

For a breakdown of sample prices of a major brand click here

The kiteboarding industry, representing manufacturers with a market share in kiteracing of app. 90% supports the proposed "Formula Kite" concept. The proposed concept will keep the industry fully involved.
A “box rule concept” avoids a monopoly – monopolies are avoided in world economy as they usually provide poor products on high prices. Competition between manufacturers encourages production of quality equipment for sale at affordable prices.

Click here for some background information on provided One-Design Equipment, and why we believe that it does not work for kiteboarding.

Finally: listen to the sailors !

All top sailors strongly favour the “box rule concept” as it allows participants of a wide weight and size range to compete with equal chances. Furthermore it is much more rewarding for sailors to sail on up-to-date equipment.

Only the “box rule concept” ensures participation of the world’s top athletes.
ISAF has shown with its recent decisions on the women’s skiff and the mixed multihull that decisions are taken in the interest of the sailors. Let’s keep it this way !

Statements from top sailors from all parts of the world can be found here.

Kind regards,

Markus Schwendtner


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Seems pretty well thought out.

It does seem to be going to a minimum production run of 150 of any board, so would that not mean only the major manufacturers will be making them? - although there could be an exception eg. if everyone wanted a Mike's Lab board.

Is there an opportunity for someone to make say 30 boards and have them run against the top boards in a competition?

There also seems to be the opportunity to supply exotic boards to the quoted costs to the top racers at a loss and then hike the price up to the general public?


Last edited by ronnie on Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:24 pm 
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I think that like in sailing and windsurfing both one design and box rule classes should exist. They accomplish different things. Box rule classes head to much higher costs especially due to the decreased competitive lifespan of equipment, however, theses classes bring in the best sailors. Furthermore, these classes often encourage overly complex and unwieldy equipment to squeeze the most performance out of a boat. One design classes have much lower costs and a similarly lower caliber competitor(in some cases) while limiting the complexity of the craft and maintaining usability. Both kinds of classes are necessary to draw an appropriate range of competitors. Imagine if the only dinghy racing class in existence was the Moth(box rule) or the Sunfish(One Design). Either scenario would unnecessarily exclude a range of competitors.

I think formula racing should continue as the elite level of the sport, however, this is an important opportunity to give kiteboarding an actual One Design class that would give more casual racers the ability to compete with lower costs and on less ridiculous, costly, and unwieldy equipment. I have a race-board and I hate it. I also have a free-race board which I love. The only competitions are on the race board so I DON"T COMPETE. If there were a class which would make my free-race competitive, or a One Design class that used more reasonable equipme, I'd be there in a heartbeat. The real problem with the box rule class is to forces you onto equipment that is miserable in order to go fast.

The Olympics are not always the pinnacle of a sport(particularly in sailing). Let the professionals continue formula racing but please give the rest of us a One Design Class that is usable, affordable, and, most importantly, FUN. Make it like windsurfing and re-evaluate the equipment to modernize every 8 years but for the love of god, give us One Design.


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:18 pm 
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TooMuchEpoxy wrote:
I think that like in sailing and windsurfing both one design and box rule classes should exist. They accomplish different things. Box rule classes head to much higher costs especially due to the decreased competitive lifespan of equipment, however, theses classes bring in the best sailors. Furthermore, these classes often encourage overly complex and unwieldy equipment to squeeze the most performance out of a boat. One design classes have much lower costs and a similarly lower caliber competitor(in some cases) while limiting the complexity of the craft and maintaining usability. Both kinds of classes are necessary to draw an appropriate range of competitors. Imagine if the only dinghy racing class in existence was the Moth(box rule) or the Sunfish(One Design). Either scenario would unnecessarily exclude a range of competitors.


Coming from one design sailing I agree. It's much more fun (for me) to be racing against 50 Lasers (50 year old design) instead of 5 guys on Moths who keep cartwheeling the boats. I see the draw of the Moths, they look like they are a blast to sail, but I like racing for the fun of competing against the other boats, not struggling just to get the boat around the course with the least number of capsizes. I can see why others like to sail them though, and it's good to have both types of classes

What free-race board do you ride? I believe you have the Cabrinha Race 183x59, which I have as well. I love my raceboard, but have never tried a free-race board, so maybe I just don't know what I'm missing.

Starting a one design class is tough. Getting everyone to buy the same boards in one region is pretty easy, but then when you travel everyone has their own local classes.

Maybe two box rules are needed? A 70cm formula class and a 60cm free-race class with a limit on fin size to 25 or 30 cm as well. If the 70 cm boards were $2500 (as they are now with a good set of fins) and the free race boards were $1200 (as the sector and North Free-Race are now), I'd definitely race the free race boards. Especially if the local free race fleet had 20 racers and the formula fleet has 3 racers.

Probably need some other rules as well to stop the free race class from becoming to technical. Don't know what it is about Sectors that makes them easier to ride than similarly sized raceboards, but that characteristic will need to be a requirement as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:06 pm 
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I had a local shaper hammer me out something 50 cm wide, no tail rocker at all, wide tail, and futures quad fin boxes spaced out a little more and placed closer to parallel than a regular board. Put in the biggest G10 futures I could find. Goes upwind fast as hell(not as fast as the race board) but is about a thousand times as much fun on every other point of sail. Really, I like trading tacks upwind with my friends on surfboards more than anything. Doesn't matter how fast your going as long as everyone goes the same speed...

I just wish IOC or ISAF or whatever would tell the manufacturers to design $700 boards in the 50-60 cm width range and award a contract based on the best design(combination of speed, usability, versatility, durability). You'd get high performance designs and INSANE value because the manufacturer chosen would be guaranteed to sell more boards than ever before, allowing for higher value production. Keep designs for 8 years(2 games) and re-instate the competition following(just like windsurfing) allowing the gear to upgrade incrementally and keeping me from having to buy a new board every year to keep up with the Joneses. Or, if 8 years is too long to sail one board do it every 4 years so a design is chosen for the next games right before the current, that way people can buy a board and train with it for 4 years before the next olympics.

At the end of the day the formula boards are like Moths; fragile, expensive, uncomfortable, and blisteringly fast. I'd much rather go a little slower and be more comfortable sleeping on the big pile of money I saved NOT constantly replacing my gear.


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:37 pm 
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So... Every Olympic national authority will order equipment at distributor prices?

Way to support grass-root efforts and keep your local retailer in the loop!


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:59 pm 
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kitewindunite wrote:
So... Every Olympic national authority will order equipment at distributor prices?

Way to support grass-root efforts and keep your local retailer in the loop!


I am pretty sure all the windsufing gear used at the games currently is free, provided by Neil Pryde.....in a interview Neil said they lose there shirt on it every time.

Why should a local retailer be involed in providing gear to the National authority for each country? The national team will probably be paying the tab for all athletes gear anyhow why should it cost reatil to the best kiters in each nation? I think the rule is there to keep companys from creating a monopoly in the games by providing free kites to anyone?


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:44 pm 
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The national authorities will purchase gear at distributor rates. Some countries will then provide that gear free-of-charge to their top sailors, and some will pass the cost down to their top sailors.

But not everyone will be on the 'national team' - especially at the beginning when the enthusiasm starts to build and people want to give racing a try. Where do those guys go to for affordable gear?


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:52 pm 
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kitewindunite wrote:
The national authorities will purchase gear at distributor rates. Some countries will then provide that gear free-of-charge to their top sailors, and some will pass the cost down to their top sailors.

But not everyone will be on the 'national team' - especially at the beginning when the enthusiasm starts to build and people want to give racing a try. Where do those guys go to for affordable gear?

I go to my basement. :)

But in all seriosness the price fixing thing is worrisome and arbitrary. The three kites for the whole season idea is just wrong and unsafe. The desicion to race is ultimatly the skippers but limiting his or her options for safe equipment is just wrong. The kite out of woven material idea has merit as it avoids or decreases the likely run to the hard sail Mylar wing kite. If the existence of the formula class allows for simultaneous unlimited racing in the existing box as a dev class that would be even better. The price fix may lead to low quality junk with no quality control.


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 Post subject: Re: Selection of equipment for the Olympic Kiteboarding Even
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:15 pm 
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I'd vote Box rule, but competitors must use the same quiver (say max of 5 kites, 3 boards) over a spread of disciplines:

- Course Racing
- Freestyle
- Pure Speed over 500m


Highest combined score wins.

Kinda like a Triathlon for Kiters to show who really has the full monty.... also averages out any advantage a rider might have with a kite that is lightyears ahead of the competition in any one event.

It should be about the rider, not the gear.


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