We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Published on August 28th, 2017

The third edition of the Youth Olympic Games will be held in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires, and what will be on display in 2018 will be nothing ever been seen before under the Olympic spotlight.

With racing for sailors aged 15-18 years on October 1-12, there will be familiar fleets in the Boys and Girls Windsurfer (Techno 293+) and Mixed Multihull (Nacra 15) racing across classic buoy courses. However, the view of the Boys and Girls Kiteboarding (IKA Twin Tip Racing) will look entirely different.

Here’s a primer courtesy of the International Olympic Committee:
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An exciting new sailing event will be part of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018 sports programme when kiteboarding makes its debut on the Olympic stage.

A thrilling mix
Kiteboarding combines elements of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paragliding into one thrilling discipline, with riders using specially designed kites to propel themselves across the water on a kiteboard, which is similar to a small surfboard. This technique not only offers one of the fastest rides on water but also the potential for the highest and longest “airtime”.

Taking off
Kiteboarding has soared in popularity since French brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux developed the first inflatable kite design in the mid-1980s. However, the use of kites to travel across water can reportedly be traced back as far as 13th-century China, where they were used to propel canoes and rafts along the Pacific Rim.

Pulling power
It’s estimated that kiteboarding has more than 1.5 million participants worldwide, with approximately 100,000 people taking up the sport each year.

New tricks
There are a variety of different events within kiteboarding – including wave, freestyle, slalom, speed and course racing – but a new and exciting event will be introduced for the YOG Buenos Aires 2018. The event draws from the ski and snowboard cross events seen at the Olympic Winter Games, with riders following a set track with obstacles that they need to jump over.

All athletes will race against each other throughout multiple heats, and their points totals will determine who will advance to the semi-finals and finals. Unlike other sailing events, Kiteboarding does not use a low point scoring system, and in the final race the winner takes all.

The course will measure approximately 1,800-2,000 metres, with athletes travelling at speeds of around 10m/s (12-15 knots), and the competitions will take place in San Isidro, just outside Buenos Aires.
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“Toto,” says Dorothy. “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

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