Kite Equipment Solution for Paris 2024

Published on September 11th, 2018

At the 2018 World Sailing Mid-Year Meeting last May, the decision was made as to what 10 events would be the Sailing program at the Paris 2024 Games. The list was groundbreaking, with new formats proposed and a review of equipment in all but three events.

Among the events for 2024 is kiteboarding which had previously been selected for the Rio 2016 Olympics, but a late change of heart proved to be a blessing for the developing class. Since then, kite design has dramatically changed and all the top sailors are now on foil boards.

The equipment conversation for all the Paris 2024 event gets picked up in earnest at the 2018 World Sailing Annual Conference (Oct 27-Nov 4), and the kiteboarding community is eager to help navigate the process to ensure their healthy growth.

The consensus among the world’s leading kite hydrofoil athletes favor Formula Kite as the equipment of choice, which is essentially a “box rule” that limits racers to series production registered foils and kites produced by any brand.

Formula Kite is a compromise between the “one design” concept and “open” unregulated equipment in an effort to ensure the best athlete and not the best gear wins.

The World Sailing Equipment Committee indicated support for the established Formula Kite option, already used in Regional Games and Sailing World Cups, with its four-year registration cycle in line with the Olympic quad.

Unlike the Olympic class equipment to be used in Tokyo 2020, there is opposition to a tightly measured one design plan whereby a kite and foil would be chosen for manufacture either by one or multiple brands. Similarly, the athletes recognize that a lack of equipment tolerances would be unfeasible as an Olympic proposition.

“Completely ‘open’ is not the solution,” said former Formula Kite World Champion, Germany’s Florian Gruber. “Otherwise you’ll have the top guys turning up with prototypes a week before the Games.”

The choice of Formula Kite, with a limit of four registered kites and one foil from multiple manufacturers, seems to most a fair way to maintain competition even as the gap between brands narrows, while easing access to younger, unsponsored racers.

“I think the ‘box rule’ Formula Kite works best as it still allows brands to develop and catch up outside the Olympic cycle,” said former Formula Kite World Champion, Russia’s Elena Kalinina. “It also encourages competition between brands, while the racers can choose the equipment that suits their style and weight.”

Source: International Kiteboarding Association

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