Kite surfing set for Olympic debut The kite board has replaced windsurfing, and not everyone’s happy

 

 

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Kite surfing set for Olympic debut

The kite board has replaced windsurfing, and not everyone’s happy

By Samantha Storey

The New York Times

Published: (Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 11:50AM) Today

On July 1, the British entrepreneur Richard Branson, 61, became the oldest person to kite surf across the English Channel. Two weeks earlier, the inventor of the windsurfer, Jim Drake, 83, died. The timing is somewhat poetic.

The International Sailing Federation, the sport’s global governing body, voted in May to drop windsurfing as an Olympic sport for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and replace it with kite surfing, or kite boarding as it is also known.

It was a close vote, and the decision infuriated the windsurfing community, whose sport has been part of the Olympics for almost three decades.

Kite boarding, by contrast, is in its infancy, having had its first world championship only three years ago.

More than 27,000 windsurfing devotees have signed a petition on Change.org, a social awareness site, encouraging the federation to overturn the vote when it convenes in November.

Nevin Sayre is both a windsurfer and kite boarder. “Kite surfing has definitely been coming onto the scene,” Sayre, 52, said. “If you go to beaches, you will see more and more kite surfing, and in some locations you’ll see a lot of it.”

In the simplest terms, both sports harness the wind to move the sailor across the water on a flat board that has no rudder or tiller. But that is where the similarities end.

Equipment

Kite boarding: Ever seen a trick kite at the park? Kite surfing is similar. There is a C-shaped kite that is inflated before the action starts, a board the surfer straps into after entering the water, a harness worn by the surfer to which the kite hooks onto, about 25 meters of line between the surfer and the kite, and a control bar to steer.

Windsurfing: Windsurfers are essentially one piece with a universal joint that connects the rig to the board. The rig is made up of a mast, a wishbone boom and a sail. The sailor stands on the board, holds on to the boom and away he goes.

Cost

Kiteboarding: $1,000-$3,000

Windsurfing: $500-$2,500

Difficulty

Kite boarding: Putting on the brakes is complicated, so crashing is not uncommon. You have to let go of the control bar and unhook the kite from the harness to stop. This means kite surfing should be done where there are no rocks, trees, beach houses and swimmers. Otherwise the risk of collision is high, especially for beginners.

Windsurfing: To stop, a windsurfer can simply let go of the boom and the sail will drop.

Injury danger

Kite boarding: Crashes are more frequent in kite boarding, and the wipeouts can be spectacular, with surfers being dragged along the beach at 30 miles an hour or cut by the lines connecting the kite.

Windsurfing: Severe injuries are less common.

http://www.registerguard.com/web/sports/28374129-41/kite-windsurfing-boarding-surfing-board.html.csp

 

 

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  • Rvdean

    I think that the author missed on this article. 
    She did not identify the essence of kite racing and windsurf racing, speed. Neither sport can be done in rocky areas where there are swimmers and beach houses. 
    She identified 
    Toby Braeuer as the athlete representing kiteboarding when freestyle is not at all what Olympic kiting will be. It’s a course racing discipline. 
    None of the costs outlined are representative of the Olympic Windsurf or Olympic kiteboarding equipment.