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IKA 2014 AGM Meeting Results

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  • IKA 2014 AGM Meeting Results

    2014 IKA Annual General Meeting


    I. Welcome and Apologies
    II. Previous Minutes
    The 2013 AGM minutes have been published on the IKA website.
    III. Chairman's Report
    IV. Executive Secretary’s Report
    V. Financial Statement


    Only submissions and nominations from members in good standing and the executive committee shall be accepted.

    Every submission to be voted on requires a proposer and a seconder. If a submission fails to have either a proposer or seconder, it will not be further discussed.

    All voting to be done by simple majority, in other words the option with the most votes wins, and abstentions are irrelevant.

    For voting which is changing class rules or constitution, a 2/3rd majority constituted as above is necessary.

    Any elections will be held in a secret ballot except by unanimous acclamation.

    Members in good standing are entitled to nominate a proxy if they are not able to attend personally. Proxy forms may be requested via email from the IKA secretariat.

    VI. Submissions

    (1) Formula Kite Fleet Racing Championship Rules – Windlimit (AKA)

    Purpose or Objective
    1. To encourage MNAs and event organizers to select venues that will guarantee full completion of racing scheduled.
    2. To ensure safety of competitors by limiting the potential of capsize.
    3. To encourage less skilled/new sailors to attend events by limiting trivial racing conditions.

    Amend 1.c.i. to read as follows:
    If the wind speed is less than 8 knots average in the starting area between the preparatory signaland the starting signal the start shall be postponed. If the wind speed drops below 6 knots at any time during the first leg of the race, the race shall be abandoned. In both cases a new starting sequence will be initiated as soon as practicable and when the windspeed is to the required minimums.

    Competitors at a local level are significantly challenged to race in low wind. Furthermore many of these sailors have difficulty even leaving the beach in 6 knots because of the “beach bubble” technically known as local convection. This discourages local participation and limits newcomers from being able to compete.


    (2) Formula Kite Fleet Racing Championship Rules and International IKA Formula Kite Class Rules – Kite Size Categories (AKA)

    Purpose or Objective
    To account for the changes in equipment as brought on by parafoil kites.

    To change Championship Rules 2.a.i and Class Rules Section C.1.1.b to read as follows:
    For safety purposes every competitor must have one kite 9m or smaller and one kite 15m or larger.

    The reemergence of parafoil kites has presented some challenges to the current kite size categories. Due to the fact that the “power “of a foil kite is much different than a LEI kite the current categories are flawed. Additionally, a more open kite allowance may provide competitors of different body types to be able to sail safely in a wider range of wind conditions, based on forecast.


    (3) “KiteFoil” fleet and ISAF status (AKA)

    Purpose or Objective
    1. To preserve the developmental nature of the “KiteFoil” fleet.
    2. To allow for current fleet issues and challenges to be solved before the fleet comes underthe scrutiny of the ISAF.

    The AKA proposes that the “KiteFoil” fleet not apply for ISAF class recognition for the 2015 season.

    The “KiteFoil" competitors have widely intimated a sentiment that they would like to maintain autonomy separate of ISAF and the Olympic Games.


    (4) “KiteFoil” Fleet Committee formation (AKA)

    Purpose or objective
    To establish proper representation for the “KiteFoil” fleet and for the interests of its sailors.

    A formation of a five person committee to establish “KiteFoil” fleet objectives, recommend event venues, prioritize daily operations as serviced by IKA, formulate championship and equipment rules when needed.

    The “KiteFoil” fleet has interests that have not been properly maintained thus far. There have been three international regattas with IKA fees paid in full yet the website has not been updated, rankings were late to be updated if ever, and one event was cancelled completely. “KiteFoil” competitors have expressed their feeling of underrepresentation within the IKA.


    (5) International IKA Formula Kite Class Rules (AKA) - see supporting paper

    Purpose or Objective
    To limit cost of Formula Class fin prices and development.

    Add to Class Rules new section C.8.3:
    Fins shall be made of fiberglass or “G10” material. No carbon or exotic materials may be used.
    The Technical Committee and/or Event Measurer shall determine the composition of the material used and its compliance.

    Molded carbon and exotic materials have become more prolific in kiteboard manufacturing. It is clear that these materials provide improved performance. Fin materials should be limited to what is currently being used so that we may maintain a relatively inexpensive materials and manufacturing cost.


    (6) Formula Kite Equipment – Class Rules (PKA)

    Purpose or Objective
    White Board Concept (WBC) for all. Change to majority of Class Rules White Board Concept for a kite-board, kites and fins shall be implemented from 1st April 2016.

    a. Manufactures shall produce module kite-board, kites and fins under IKA license. The modules shall be presented by the IKA till 1st July 2015.
    b. No other boards, kites and fins than the IKA WBC shall compete in the ranked IKA Formula Kite events after 1st April 2016.

    The Formula Kite is losing its attractiveness for riders, sponsors, manufacturers and spectators. Appearance of ram air kites and better performing hydrofoils caused significant decrease in attendance at IKA events (Worlds 2012- 195 riders, 2013 – 128 riders, 2014 – 80; North Americas 2013 – 75 riders, 2014 – 13 riders). The Formula Kite can be saved only by radical moves. With the present box rules we may disappear from the sailing world soon. The chance to become attractive again for manufacturers and sponsors, as well as fair and available for competitors, is to introduce “a white board concept” for the entire equipment. All riders would compete on the same gear but made by different manufactures. It is an improved version of the monotype without its drawbacks. The competitiveness among manufacturers would ensure decent quality, improve availability and reasonable prices. One board, three or four kites, one set of fins. IKA would decide what equipment to choose for a template (module). A kite size range should be limited to odd size values (19/17/15/13/11/9/7m) to keep the cost of the production line on reasonable financial level. The fins should be produced in 3 sizes to ensure the comfort of the competitors with different weight. The equipment would be identical, but would possess a logo of the manufacturer. A competitor would chose her/his kite quiver for entire season. The WBC gives the chance to create a long living and popular class of course racing with kites. Let the foilboarding to be a scene of the latest and unrestricted developments. Once every Olympic period we would use their experience to improve our WBC. Formula Kite riders would not need to change equipment every year to be competitive what may significantly reduce their costs. Introduction of the WBC will not endanger the top riders – they will be still on the top but close chased by a silver fleet on the same gear. Let’s to win the best athlete instead the one with the best gear.

    RESULT: Deferred - support the principle - working party led by Marek, members Richard and Gil Hurvitz

    (7) Formula Kite Equipment – Class Rules. Fins. (vote each point separately) (PKA)

    a. Change to C.1.1.(a).
    Not more than one production hull, four production kites and two fins one fin per fin box (if so prescribed by the Notice of Race) shall be registered for an event.
    b. Add C.8.3. A fin shall be made out of semitransparent glass/epoxy laminate
    c. Add C.8.4. (if Submission PL01 approved) Fins shall be available in various sizes but only one size per fin box shall be declared to be used during a calendar year.

    last years have proved we can perform well on one set of fins made of G10 or G11. Two sets of carbon expensive fins give an advantage to sponsored riders. Reduction to one set would make the class available for more riders who would compete on a comparable gear.


    (8) Formula Kite Equipment – Class Rules. Safety assumptions. (PKA)

    Add G.1.4.
    After 1st of January 2015 any registered kite after falling into water shall ensure:
    a. a safe buoyancy for a competitor. The volume of the inflatable tubes shall be not less than 50ltrs.
    b. An improved detection. Not damaged main tube and minimum three struts shall clearly keep the trailing edge of a kite over the surface in the calm water and wind conditions.

    The ram air kites demolished the inflatable kites in a matter of performance within this season. However, there is a price for it that is safety. On many occasions the ram air kites couldn’t provide safety for competitors once they fell in the water. Couple of events proved ram air kites become a nightmare for many riders and rescue teams. Visual detection of ram air kites is restricted comparing to inflatable ones. During one event of the Polish Cup with light winds we had serious problems to locate the capsized competitors of ram air kites who were just less than a kilometer from the beach. At the same time inflatable kite competitors were easily visible from the double distance. Training on the ram air kites might be extreme, especially in light wind and strong currents areas. We consider them as unsafe for riding without an assistance.


    (9) Formula Kite Equipment – Class Rules. Number of kites (PKA)

    Change to C.1.1.(a) (if Submission PL01 approved).
    Not more than three kites shall be used by a competitor who specifies kite sizes to be used by her/him during her/ his first sanctioned IKA event after 1st April 2016. Her/his choice remains valid for a calendar year.

    There are many riders from a middle of the fleet who have competed with only 3 kites since beginning of the kite racing. They do not complain about safety issues with their quiver. Three kites were maximum amount allowed till 2013. Moreover – four kites give a handicap for light weight riders in light wind conditions. However they do not give any handicap for the heavier riders. Three kites quiver would add a handicap for heavy riders in strong winds. It seems to be fair for all. Using four kite quiver will restrict the Formula Kite only for riders below 75kg. Four kite idea was breached by some riders who came for a two, three day event with 5-6 kites and registered their kites matching weather forecast. It is not a fair play. We propose to implement declaration system for kite sizes to be used during one calendar year. It would enforce competitors to compete and train on the same quiver for the entire season.


    (10) Formula Kite Equipment – Class Rules. Number of kites (PKA) (if Submission PL01 approved but Submission PL04A not accepted)

    Change to C.1.1.(a)
    Not more than four kites shall be used by a competitor who specifies kite sizes to be used by her/him during her/his first sanctioned IKA event. His choice remains valid for a calendar year.

    if three kites idea fails we would like still implement a kite sizes declaration system.


    (11) Formula Kite Events – Fees (PKA)

    A competitor entry fee of all IKA events shall not be higher than an equivalent of 20€ per a day of the event. A competitor’s team member fee shall not be higher than 2/3 of the competitor fee. A competitor late fee shall not be higher than 50% of the entry fee.

    fees are too high. In some cases reached 300€ for a late fee. The competitor should not be treated as a source of income. This really decreases amount of competing riders. IKA should secure contracts with organizers with the proposed limits. There were around 20 riders in Poland who were interested to compete during last Europeans. Most of them gave up seeing a 180€ fee. It might be even more restricting for riders from Asia and Africa. We want to be attractive for more riders.


    (12) Rankings Formula Kite RAM-LEI (GKA)

    To introduce a separate category for LEI and overall (similar to production/custom rankings in the beginning) as an entry level to kiteracing and to give the riders on LEI kites an incentive to compete and a separate podium (mainly newcomers and “bronze fleet” riders). This may be combined with a higher wind limit for LEI kites, i.e. 8 knots. This may develop into separate classes (which can race together though).

    Availability and manufacturers of RAM kites are limited, and we want to be inclusive and make it possible for all brands to be involved and compete. The LEI ranking could be also open to non-production boards (for discussion) to build a broader base for participation on entry level.
    We do not want to limit the high performance aspect of the sport and that means RAM kites, but we need to grow the grass roots and that means easier entry with normal LEI kites for the bigger masses, and RAM kites for the top-end.


    (13) International IKA Formula Kite Class Rules (GKA)

    Purpose or Objective
    Limiting cost development of fins in Formula Kite.

    Proposal 1
    Add to Class Rules new section C.8.3:
    Fins shall be made of semitransparent glass/epoxy laminate (“G10” / ”G11” or generic products)

    Proposal 2
    To amend the class rules so that from the 2016 equipment eligibility date only registered production fins shall be used.
    Include fin registration scheme in the current equipment registration paperwork free of charge to allow for a transition period.

    Development in Windsurfing has shown that moulded carbon fins in the high end range may become very expensive. Furthermore, moulded carbon fins are virtually impossible to measure. A registration scheme for G10/G11 can be easily administered and enforced to control cost development.


    (14) Event Registration Policy (GKA)

    Purpose or Objective:
    To grow participation in international events.

    Proposal 1:
    Amend the Formula Kite event quota and entry system as follow:
    Entry is granted to 50 men / 20 women (continental) and 60 men / 30 women (worlds) based on a first come-first serve principle that allows sailors to make travel arrangements immediately after registration. Registration must be accompanied by immediate payment of the entry fee to secure participation. Additional places are granted to the top 10 men / top 10 women (from the continent) respectively top 20 men / top 10 women (worlds) until one month before the event. Places not used by these top riders become publically available up to a total quota of 60/30 (continentals) and 80/40 (worlds).

    Proposal 2:
    Limit event entry fees to 40 Euro per racing day with the following provision: Registration (and payment) made up to 1 month before the event (see proposal 1) receive a 25 % discount (“early bird”).
    This effectively (together with the new registration proposal) limits the entry fees to 150 Euro for a typical continental and world championship, and 120 Euro for a typical 4 day foilboard (or e.g. KTE) event.

    The entry system currently used resulted in lower participation as starting places were only confirmed shortly before an event. Both proposals follows a discussion with the riders at the 2014 Europeans.


    (15) Event Selection Policy (GKA)

    Only events with proper race management and jury infrastructure as well as sailor benefits (food, prize money etc) shall be selected for major events (continentals and worlds).

    The sport side as well as the sailors benefits should not be compromised in order to maximize the number of events. Feedback from the sailors is that they prefer rather less but bigger and better events.


    VII. Elections
    no positions are currently vacant.

    VIII. Any Other Business

    a) Policy discussion – separate youth and masters events in racing, or combined with the open events

    b) PKRA development

    c) Policy discussion – world titles (disciplines and overall world title yes/no ?)

    d) Registered Equipment Slalom (Kites and/or boards – foilkites/tubekites ?)

    e) Class Separated Sub-AGMs

    f) Parafoil kites and the implications of their usage on the international tours (if not covered elsewhere)

    g) Formula Kite Registration cycle 2016 – Sailing World Cup Grand Final

    h) Scoring time limit "TLE" sailors vs. DNC, DNS, or DNF sailors

    i) Participation levels at all international events

    j) Update of championship rules and Standard NoR/Sis

    k) Sailing World Cup Grand Final Contribution
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  • #2
    Freedom To Foil

    As members of the International Kiteboarding Association met in Palma, Spain this week, one of the subjects d' jour is the advancement of the foil kite vs the bladder kites and an initiative by a Polish representative to abolish the foil kites from formula class competition.

    Citing the unsafe nature as reason to not allow the foil due to its lack of positive flotation.

    Robbie Dean, Technical Director of Hydro Foil Tour and executive Board Member with IKA doesn't completely agree with that assessment:

    "Foil kites have been around for decades, it's just recently that the design has allowed riders to ride more effectively than the Leading Edge Inflatable variety. The riders who have been using the foil kites for some time have resolved most of the safety issues, it's a bit of a non starter."

    "In fact if you look at the course racing scene in San Francisco , the sound of air pumps is becoming a thing of the past, many of the riders have embraced the foil kites and are sailing them comfortably. What you are seeing is just the natural evolution of the sport, and in 2 years, these may be obsolete as the next generation evolves, when even more advanced technology comes into play."

    But what is a foil kite exactly?

    The term foil is shorten version of parafoil, a technology which has been around for quite some time and was one of the earliest designs used in kite boarding. Also referred to as Ram Air or Ram as the wind is rammed into the chambers to "inflate" them and thus creating a wing.

    The technology in kite sailing or kite boarding gave way to a bladder type of kite or Leading Edge Inflatable which have a hollow tube framing that is pumped full of air to give the kite its shape. Because these air tubes float so well, these kites are the most common for riding on water..

    A full explanation of the difference in kites can be found at:

    A nice explanation of the foil kite can be found :

    The newer Ram or Foil kites, with their higher aspect ratio's allow the rider to point higher than their LEI counter parts and have increased power downwind:

    Erika Heineken provides a bit of side by side comparison:

    "Ram obviously exceed LEI in light wind, but in stronger & gustier wind it's different. For places like Crissy, I don't think riding small foil kites is a good idea. I don't believe the pros outweigh the cons in this situation. To point slightly higher upwind or lower downwind, but in gusty and shifty conditions that we generally see, I think the smaller LEI kites will outperform foils around the course. I'm talking about the 20+ kt range. But I don't know, if Ozone keeps making smaller foil kites I'll obviously love to figure this out for myself!"

    "Legitimate LEI vs ram comparison testing in 20-30kts hasn't really been done."

    Kiteboard Course Racing is still very much in it's infancy and newer designs and technologies emerge on a constant basis. Top riders have learned to utilize the newer foil kite designs to their advantage, the high profile designs allow the riders to point higher and power up more than the LEI kite in similar conditions. But there is a caveat, The kites don't float like their LEI counterparts and remain visible above the surface for long periods.

    The chambers which hold air by the force of the wind through them will lose that pressure and become a big soggy pile of nylon and string in a short period of time.
    Unlike their LEI counterpart, they can be relaunched inverted, but you have to be quick.

    "You have about two minutes to get them relaunched" Adds Robbie" After that, the window of opportunity closes. The more advanced riders have learned how to deal with that."

    The challenge of mastering the foil kite is attractive to many of the riders, and to others a bit too much. The use of foil kites in the formula kite division was one of the areas of highest contention at the IKA meeting just concluded. Outline in section 8:

    8) Formula Kite Equipment – Class Rules. Safety assumptions. (PKA)


    Add G.1.4.
    After 1st of January 2015 any registered kite after falling into water shall ensure:
    a. a safe buoyancy for a competitor. The volume of the inflatable tubes shall be not less than 50ltrs.
    b. An improved detection. Not damaged main tube and minimum three struts shall clearly keep the trailing edge of a kite over the surface in the calm water and wind conditions.

    The ram air kites demolished the inflatable kites in a matter of performance within this season. However, there is a price for it that is safety. On many occasions the ram air kites couldn’t provide safety for competitors once they fell in the water. Couple of events proved ram air kites become a nightmare for many riders and rescue teams. Visual detection of ram air kites is restricted comparing to inflatable ones. During one event of the Polish Cup with light winds we had serious problems to locate the capsized competitors of ram air kites who were just less than a kilometer from the beach. At the same time inflatable kite competitors were easily visible from the double distance. Training on the ram air kites might be extreme, especially in light wind and strong currents areas. We consider them as unsafe for riding without an assistance.

    The proposal attracted immediate negative attention from across the board on kite forums and social media:

    "So stupid! safety? give me a freaking break ! we ride around with deadly daggers on our boards! Racing kites is dangerous that's why it's fun! How about a ban on fins while we are at it. One design tminus9 skimboard racing got my vote oh wait ISAF makes the rules and drives up the costs!"

    "Keep the Foil kites. IMHO is seems like the Poland Race was not properly run without enough support boats and running it in adverse weather. PFD's and Signal devices could help. Is there pressure from bigger kite companies who have missed the boat on kite development?"

    "In order to diminish the obvious, unavoidable disparity between foil/LEI results in kite regattas, let's have LEI-only events and foil kite-only events if that makes people happy. But the sake of logical thinking let's not stop the development of a new sport. Again, foil kites are GOOD. They may seem "ahead of our time," but that's because so few people have access to them. How can you expect people to learn how to fly a foil kite without instruction?"

    "Maybe a better option in the foil debate is having a limit on "minimum" size, then it has to be an inflatable. In a year or so there might be a mix of inflatable and foil in a kite design... then we get the best of both worlds..."

    "No, don't ban foils. They work great. But they also do currently have some significant downsides as compared to inflatable's. So if you want a direction to head with development then try to solve those problems/needs while retaining/improving on the performance and we'll all be stoked. "

    "make them faster.
    Solve the launch-space issue.
    Solve the swim-with-a-tangled-sleeping bag issue.
    aim for lower cost. Aim for increased durability. aim for better stability.
    make them faster still. "

    "Most of the comments against foils, while valid concerns, imply that the problems are inherent with foils and cannot be solved. I would like to assume that this is incorrect. They are just hurdles for designers to overcome.
    Guys, remember that this is the first shot at using these things for widespread racing on water. They have some obvious good points, and there is lots of time to sort out the downsides in future evolutions. Could you imagine if we were all racing around on Wipika 2-liners? Let guys like Ozone run with it and enjoy the improved performance along the way."

    At the IKA Annual meeting, held Tuesday the participants voted down the banishment of the foil kites from the formula class and will have BOTH foil and tube divisions in IKA competitions beginning in 2015.

    The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) decided on Tuesday (Nov 4) that Formula will have both foil and tube kite division from January, to the relief of racers who switched to the new generation of kites that left Leading Edge Inflatables (LEI) off the pace.

    Details have yet to be worked out on how organizers will cope with two separate podiums and the split of the prize money. But the IKA’s annual general meeting envisaged that the tube kite class would be more relevant to “bronze” fleet and entry-level riders, encouraging new entrants to racing.

    Some delegates at the in Palma de Mallorca conclave argued the foil kite revolution was a key reason for the steep decline in entries to world and continental championships. Riders wrong-footed by the innovation either chose not to join events flying uncompetitive tube kites, or had difficulty obtaining new generation foil kite quivers as just two manufacturers – Ozone and Elf – had put resources into their development.

    Markus Schwendtner, IKA CEO, foresees that the Formula kite dual class is a stop-gap measure ahead of a fresh product cycle in September 2015, though it could become long term. With the move the IKA now hopes other manufacturers will join the foil-kite fray.

    Already three kite makers, including Flysurfer and StarKites, have requested specifications for foil kites from the IKA for the up-coming product cycle. St Petersburg-based Elf kites has also said North Kiteboarding (NKB) may make a version of its highly-successful Joker 5 foil under license for the new registration window after it helped NKB team riders Steph Bridge and Maxim Nocher clinch the men’s and women’s 2014 world course board titles.

    Ozone Kites, whose Chrono foil so took the race scene by storm this season, is already working on refinements for its next iteration and will likely see the IKA decision as a big endorsement of its ground-breaking strategy.

    “This decision was a clear message that we want to keep foil kites,” said Schwendtner. “There is simply no way to go back with the performance that foil kites afford, especially in light winds.”

    In another effort to ensure the progress of Formula kite – especially among local fleets seen as a feeder pathway – the IKA established a working group on a “one-design” White Board Concept that would see riders competing on identical equipment.

    The measure, aimed primarily at club level racing by keeping entry costs down, won quite a lot of support from delegates.IKA officials will meet industry representatives in February to gauge the level of interest for the plan whereby manufacturers would produce a single design of course board, kite, and fin set – each of which could be given the maker’s own branding – under license. A meeting of the IKA working party is set for 1 April.

    In another effort to keep down escalating costs and avoid an “arm’s race” it was also decided that Formula kite fins should be made only of glass / epoxy (G10 / G11 or a generic material) as molded carbon fiber fins can become prohibitively expensive.

    Writer: Ian MacKinnon

    The PKA has tabled far-reaching proposals to introduce what it dubs a “White Board Concept” – strictly boards, fins and kites – that would see all Formula kite competitors racing on identical kit by the 2016 season’s start.

    A submission arguing for “one design” is before the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and will be debated at the annual general meeting (Tuesday, Nov 4) in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, if it gets a proposer and seconder.

    The idea of a course board racing “one design”– similar to other Olympic sailing classes – was mooted four years ago when the prospect of a future games’ slot looked possible. But the IKA ultimately chose a “box rule”, restricting board dimensions, in conjunction with rules for kites.

    However, the Polish association is convinced the prevailing class rules are discouraging racers from joining competitions and that a “one design” would make participation cheaper, encouraging local fleet racing that would act as a pathway to top level course board racing.

    To bolster its case it highlights how numbers at recent Formula kite world championships fell precipitously, down from 195 in Italy in 2012 and 128 in China in 2013, to just 80 last August in Turkey.

    “Formula kite can be saved only with radical moves,” says the PKA proposal. “With the present ‘box rule’ we may disappear from the sailing world soon.”

    The plan envisages the IKA would choose one board design from those available, a kite design and three fin designs. They would each be made under IKA licence by manufacturers who would be free to badge them with their own brand. Riders would be obliged to register a board, three or four kites and one set of fins for competition for the whole season.

    Costs would be kept down as new “one-design” specifications would be chosen once in each four-year Olympic cycle enabling riders to avoid the expense of renewing equipment annually. The fate of windsurfing’s derided and static Olympic RS:X class – slow and irrelevant to the modern sport – would be avoided by cherry-picking the best developments from kitefoil, which remains an “open” class.

    Marek Rowinski, the PKA president who tabled the measure, believes he has enough support to ensure it is considered, though acknowledges securing the two-thirds majority needed to alter class rules is a big ask.

    Markus Schwendtner, IKA CEO, believes it important for Formula kite’s future that the scheme is examined. But he believes it has little chance of success as it is flawed and incomplete.

    “I think should be discussed,” he said. “But it’s not going to be accepted, in my opinion. I don’t see it happening for at least two or three years. It needs a lot of preparation.”

    Course boards are now so similar in performance that a “one-design” concept might not be too difficult, says Schwendtner. But kites would be “trickier”. Tube kites have also achieved near-parity, but foil kites that revolutionized Formula kite this season currently have only two competitive manufacturers.

    Few agree with PKA president Rowinski’s characterisation that Formula kite is in “crisis”. While conceding numbers have fallen they disagree over the reasons, shifting the ground on which the argument is based, and thus the search for possible solutions.

    The dramatic appearance of foil kites wrong-footed some competitors. They found themselves uncompetitive racing on tube kites yet unable – because of expense or lack of availability – to switch, forcing some to sit out the season. The success of kite hydrofoils also diluted numbers, while high regatta entry fees are blamed as a factor in the equation.

    Undoubtedly the Olympics’ decision in 2012, when Formula kite was included for the Rio games and then ejected in the space of year, served as a spur temporarily for many to join kite racing.

    “It is obvious that kite racing went through the roof in 2012 because kite racing was declared ‘Olympic’. Then we all know what happened. And guess what? The numbers declined. Surprise!” says Elf kites’ Roman Liubimtsev, who believes the ‘one-design’ concept move is a “malicious” attempt to undermine small manufacturers and push kite racing back to the “Stone Age”.

    Jimmy Mazzanti, of board-maker TemaVento Race Engineering, is more sanguine about a “one-design” concept. He would definitely prefer to stick with the “box rule”. But he could live with a high-performance “one-design” concept, though is under no illusions it would fix what ails Formula kite.

    “Absolutely not,” says Mazzanti. “This ‘one-design’ concept will not address the problem. I travel to a lot of events. I know a lot of young riders. This won’t bring them back.”
    Writer: Ian MacKinnon

    The results of the Palma meeting can be viewed HERE

    With the drama now behind, local riders can take a breath of relief and focus on training for 2015 with the freedom of choosing the kite of their desire/capability limits. Word on the street is San Francisco is on the list for the Kite Foiling World Tour for 2015 and a very strong possibility of The Kitefoiling Worlds on SF Bay to boot! Stay Tuned!

    Additional reading via Ozone Kites:
    Last edited by Photoboy; 11-05-2014, 11:04 PM.
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