GKA UPDATE IN RELATION TO KRU SEPARATION ANNOUNCEMENT
The Kiteboarding Riders United (KRU) announced last week that 40 out of 60 riders in the union voted to run their own world tour for 2017, separating themselves from the WKT and the IKA. They propose to take initial steps towards their own tour in the events that follow the current IKA event being run in Leucate this week. The KRU plan to count the results from the IKA events that have already run in 2016 in Egypt and (currently running) in Leucate (France).
This news post confirms that the GKA's concept of certain key 'Grand Slam' events counting towards the GKA Rider of the Year awards for 2016 - regardless of which managing body run the events - continues as planned, providing stability for the riders, regardless of any other discussions over the rights to the world tour.
The GKA follow the developments in professional freestyle kiteboarding very carefully, and also supports the creation of a riders' union to allow the riders to manage their interests, however the GKA urges riders to consider the best interests of a broader sport, not just specific disciplines or sub-disciplines. The GKA's key values are to support the inclusion of all kiteboarders in the interest of the sport's long term growth.
In order to ensure that the focus of a union remains democratic and in the best interest of all participants, the GKA also urges that any union or rider collaboration should fall outside of commercial organizations.
The GKA's Grand Slam events and the GKA Rider of the Year awards are a long term, reliable concept to help create a stable promotion for the sport – supporting long-standing, key events, regardless of the managing body.
The supported Grand Slam events remain unchanged as key events in the KRU's (freestyle riders union) proposal.
The GKA concept sets out to include freestyle as well as wave and, as stated previously, we support development by key parties in the foil racing discipline.
The GKA will stay neutral between all four freestyle tour management bodies (IFKO, WKT, IKA and *KRE) and wherever possible encourages positive engagement with various parties as well as event organizers and national bodies. As always we offer our support by engaging interested parties in a collaborative vision in working towards a healthy, common kiteboarding future.
Through the current changes, the GKA is working as closely as possible with all parties to encourage a more unified event structure for 2017, with a focus on supporting the key GKA Grand Slam events for 2017 across the key disciplines, as outlined.
The GKA Board and the GKA representative for competition issues will come together for internal discussion on the 26th April 2016 on that matter.
(*When referencing managing event bodies, we will refer to the KRU as the KRE - a limited company set up to run events by the KRU. It should also be noted that the 'KRU' is specifically only made up of freestyle riders, and therefore a separate organisation for wave riders would need to exist to represent their interests.)
GKA GRAND SLAM SCHEDULE REMAINS UNCHANGED
The GKA's concept of having key events count towards the GKA Rider of the Year awards, regardless of which managing body runs the event, continues to offer stable value to the ongoing successful development of professional riders in the sport.
FREESTYLE GRAND SLAM EVENTS
RED BULL KING OF THE AIR, SOUTH AFRICA (Men only)
30th January - 14th February 2016
15th - 22nd April 2016
TRIPLE S INVITATIONAL, CAPE HATTERAS, USA
4th - 10th June 2016
18th - 25th June 2016
31st July - 6th August 2016
(to be confirmed)
26th August - 4th September 2016
GKA WAVE AND STRAPLESS FREESTYLE GRAND SLAM EVENTS
DAKHLA – WAVE / STRAPLESS FREESTYLE
13th - 17th June 2016 (postponed)
TARIFA – STRAPLESS FREESTYLE (Men only)
29th June - 3rd July (confirmed)
MAURITIUS – WAVE / STRAPLESS FREESTYLE
17th - 30th October (to be confirmed)
CAPE TOWN – WAVE / STRAPLESS FREESTYLE
26th November - 9th December (to be confirmed)
*The GKA will award Grand Slam titles to Men in Freestyle (including results from the King of the Air), Wave and Strapless Freestyle. Women's Grand Slam titles will be awarded in Freestyle and Wave.
More updates soon. For more news, please follow the GKA