An overview by Dr. Jörgen Vogt (Secretary General of the Global Kitesports Association)
Above: New World Tour structure: Click to enlarge
The structure of professional kitesport competition is much easier than most people think.
In the following I’d like to explain which World Tours are existing, who is responsible for which tour and what athletes, event-organizers and any interested person should know:
World Sailing (WS) is the international federation for the sport of sailing in all its forms – including kiteboarding on the water. World Sailing is the international federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the organisation of kiteboarding at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and for potential showcase kiteboarding events at the 2020 Olympic Games. In particular, World Sailing regulates kiteboarding through a tripartite partnership with the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA).
Following that trilateral agreement:
IKA is responsible for all race-events (all disciplines which have a starting line and a finishing line). Under the jurisdiction of IKA are Formula Kite with regulated hydrofoiling equipment, the Gold Cup (any foiling equipment) and the Youth Olympic Games (Boarder Cross format on TwinTip:Racing equipment). All event-organisers who want to run a World and/or continental level event in the discipline Race, Speed and/or Slalom have to contact the IKA. Riders who want to participate at a Race and/or Slalom event or at the Youth Olympic Games have to contact the IKA.
GKA is responsible for all expression performance disciplines. Such disciplines are in particular wave, strapless-freestyle, big-air, freestyle/wake-style and park.
The GKA runs two World Tours by itself. The GKA Kite-Surf World Tour (wave & strapless-freestyle) and the GKA Kiteboarding World Tour: AIR Games (big-air and all kind of hooked and unhooked tricks). Event-organizers and athletes who are interested in running or participating a World Cup Event in one of those two disciplines are welcome to contact the GKA.
The rights to run the World Tour in the discipline Freestyle and Wakestyle was handed over by the GKA to Kite Riders United (KRU). Event-organizers who like to run a Freestyle World Cup have to contact the KRU. Athletes of the discipline freestyle/wake-style are welcome to compete at the KRU Freestyle World Tour (also known last year as WKL World Tour).
The discipline Park (slider/obstacles) does not have an official World Tour status jet and is organized by Kite Park League (KPL). Anyone who is interested in that discipline should contact the KPL here.
In a nutshell: Professional kitesports follows the diversity and specialisation of kitesport by running four different World Tours:
- Kite-Surf World Tour (GKA)
- Kiteboarding World Tour (GKA) (Big air and all-round twin-tip tricks)
- Freestyle World Tour (KRU/WKL) (Freestyle / wakestyle)
- Race / Speed / Slalom / Boardercross (IKA)