Kiteboarding Goes Mainstream with One Design Class

Published on September 20th, 2016

The design rules within boat class organizations run the range from a highly restricted model like the Laser to a development model like the A Class catamaran. In one model, everyone’s equipment is the same. In the other model, sailors are limited by only a few measurements in their pursuit to develop the best gear.

There are pros and cons to both models. For the tinkerer, they like the later model, but if development progressions exceed people’s desire to continually invest to improve their boats, than participation suffers. For purely getting boats on the water, a more restricted model is superior.

The emergence of kite course racing has kept it in the development end of the range. The improvement on equipment has moved too fast, which this year saw the World Championship now held on foiling boards. However, if ultimate growth is to be achieved, there needs to be easier entry points that don’t require continual investment to stay fast.

Enter the CR:X, the first attempt to launch a one-design kiteboard class. As reported in International Kitesurf Magazine, the equipment package for the CR:X class has been designed and built by the Neil Pryde, which has a long history with sailing and one-design classes. Essentially the class equipment combines a set of 3 inflatable race kites (7mtr, 10mtr and 13mtr) and a symmetrical twin-tip (TT) board that can be utilized not only for TT racing and ‘Boarder X’, but also for beginner training.

The concept then allows for a hydrofoil to be added, which transforms the board into a different animal that can now perform and race at the light end of the wind scale. In a nutshell, CR:X aims to be a platform for both training and racing that can act as a springboard into the performance race classes, while racing in its own right as a one design package.

Kite racing has caught the attention of the International Olympic Committee and has been included on the sporting slate of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which is set to take place in Argentina. The five events selected are the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer (Techno 293+), Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding (IKA Twin Tip), and the Mixed Multihull (Nacra 15).

The inclusion of kiteboarding at the YOG is a phenomenal achievement for such a young sport which now has its sights set higher still as it aims to be amongst the list of events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And now with a tightly controlled one design class, kiteboarding has a vehicle to help increase global participation, an important attribute for Olympic competition.

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