Why Kites Are Wrong For Rio

Published on August 9th, 2012

There is plenty of lobbying going on at the Olympic Games concerning ISAF’s decision to change the board event for the 2016 Olympics from windsurfing to kite-surfing. The decision, which may be overturned by a re-vote and/or legal action, will be finalized this November.

Kate Laven provides an interview on Yachting World with Neil Pryde, who is the manufacturer and supplier of the Olympic RS:X board as well as a provider of kite-surfing equipment. Here is an excerpt…

“One of the key criteria of IOC in judging sports for Olympic competitions is the television coverage,” said Pryde. “It’s the biggest revenue earner for IOC so they look at it hard. And of course sailing performs very poorly. Outside the America’s Cup, sailing does not get big audience and I think ISAF thought kite-surfing would add strength to media coverage. But I do not think the sport is ready for Olympic inclusion.”

“Windsurfing has done more to introduce the developing countries into the sailing fraternity. China came into sailing through windsurfing. It’s the cheapest and easiest way into sailing and that has been ignored by ISAF and I think that is tragic.”

“In the past we have been able to sell off the equipment at a cheap price to help developing countries get into the sport but with windsurfing taken out of the Olympics we are sitting here today with no way of recovering a million euro (the cost Pryde estimates to supply the boards to the Olympics).

“That is a pretty big commitment. I doubt whether there is any other sailing company in the Olympics who has made that sort of commitment. This will be a loss but we made a commitment to ISAF that for the next two years that we will go on supplying it and we will because we believe in it.

“I think it is a terrible decision because I see what windsurfing has done for the sport of sailing,” said Pryde.

Check the full report …

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