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With the submission deadline for the 2011 ISAF midyear meeting in St. Petersburg approaching fast, here is a short roundup why every proposed slate for the 10 sailing medals should include kiteboarding:
- Kiteboarding is still the fastest growing water sport
- Kiteboarding adds a crowd pleaser to the Olymic sailing competition as ski-cross and snowboard-cross did for the winter Olympics
- Kiteboarding is the most diverse piece of equipment to "traditional" sailing one can think of, perfectly fitting the IOC requirement that sailing should showcase its full diversity
- Kiteboarding is exercised in almost all countries of the world with access to sailable water, with national fleet sizes rapidly growing
- Kiteboarding turns the beach into a stadium for the shorts-and-shirts audience, establishing a completely new target group beside the coat-and-tie yachtsmen in the harbors. The main audience for kiteboarding is the 15-45 year old "generation facebook"
- Kiteboarding reaches the general interest media, with more than 600 million TV spectators and more than 400 hours boradcasted world wide from major events.
- The new class rules include a strict box rule, limiting equipment to series production boards and kites only which minimizes the influence of the equipment on the result of the racing
- Due to the vertical lift created by the kite, kiteboard races can be conducted for a wide range of body weights and dimension while still providing equal opportunities for competitors from all over the world
- A complete ready-to-sail kiteboarding kit costs approximately 2500 Euro - that is less than half the price of a ready-to-sail Laser - making kiteboarding one of the most affordable pieces of Olympic equipment and thus offering perfect opportunities especially for small and emerging nations to be able to participate in the Olympic sailing competition
- The kiteboarding industry is able and willing to support Olympic campaigners with equipment sponsorships, further reducing campaign costs. Some of the biggest sailing manufacturers like North, Neil Pryde and Startboard are behind the kiteboarding brands
With only 10 medal slots available for the 2016 Olympic Games some creative thinking is needed to get kiteboarding into the Games, and we invite everybody (especially MNAs willing to make submissions) to discuss the various options to achieve this goal and add fantastic opportunities to ISAFs portfolio for the Olympic sailing competiton.