Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some of my favorite Facebook feeds

FaceBook sites I follow for windsurfing
  • Windsurfing News from Portugal
  • Fanatic International
  • Robby Naish
  • Windsurf Australia
  • John Ingebritsen - South Florida wave sailor always talking up wind and conservatism.
  • and
  • Southern Rhode Island Sail and Surf

For America's Cup
  • Tom Ehman

For Sailing and pics
  • Tucker Edmundson

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Update about "ISAF: Keep Windsurfing as Olympic Discipline"

Subject: Update about "ISAF: Keep Windsurfing as Olympic Discipline"
(email from Change.Org - republished here)

As you may may know the RS:X Class lodged a claim for judicial review
in the High Court in London on August 1st 2012.
It basically seeks to establish whether ISAF have followed all the
necessary protocol and procedures in reaching their decision. This
is what the judge in the court is going to be asked to determine. it’s
not to say that it’s a good decision or a bad decision, it’s whether
the decision was taken correctly.
The law says that claims for judicial review have to be made within
3 months of the date of the decision prompting the action. The ISAF
made the decision to select kite on May 5th. The time limit therefore
ran out on August 5th.
Questions seeking clarification of the minutes of the ISAF Mid Year
meeting were asked at the beginning of June. ISAF's official response
came on July 17th. Further correspondence then took place to which we
received the last response on July 31st. It was therefore not out our choice to
make such a claim during the Olympic Games nor do we relish making it.
The legal advice which we have received after close study of the ISAF
constitution, regulations and minutes is that there is a sound basis on which
to proceed and that is therefore what we have done. We emphasise that we
are not questioning whether ISAF have made a good decision or a bad decision,
we simply seek to establish whether the decision was taken correctly.
That being said, we are working to find a solution by making personal contact
with ISAF at the highest level. We have no wish other than to ensure that
Olympic windsurfing be given a fair and equal chance
The costs involved could be substantial so we have set up a fighting fund
to help cover existing or future legal costs but the future of windsurfing
in the Olympics is at stake together with the hopes and dreams of 1000s of
young athletes all over the world. Those are priceless.
Note: This is supervised by our accountants Prince Croft Willis of Poole.
To help you help us we have set up two ways in which you can take action
to support Olympic Windsurfing. 
1. If you just want to make a donation of 5, 10 or even 20 dollars,
we have created a Paypal Donation Page which is linked directly to the
RS:X Bank account. Go to now
2. OR if you prefer, you can show your support by buying T-Shirts,
sweats, water bottles and much, much more in the Vote Windsurfing
online shop at
Rest assured that your donation will be focused solely on covering
existing or future legal costs and please note that offer
a full money back guarantee if you are not entirely satisfied with your
Finally, a big thank you to all 29,915 of you who have signed the petition.
It is an overwhelming demonstration of the strength of support for Olympic
windsurfing out there in the world.
And thank you for doing your utmost to ensure windsurfing will be in Rio 2016

Monday, August 13, 2012

No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games

Here is a lively series of posts on the recent lack of success of the current Olympic team.

My take is that we finally got to see the results of Dean Brenner's policy of only funding the winners. It is no mystery that he has barely funded the windsurfer representatives and that US Sailing has put little effort into developing the youth windsurfing or Olympic windsurfing programs. Even if you could argue there was some de-minimus support it does not nearly come up to the support of windsurfing given by China, Israel or  Holland.

If I had to propose a policy it would be to evenly spread around 50% of the funding amongst all of the athletes on a per capita basis and then award the balance of the funding on results. If you wanted something more complicated you could use this for example.

  • 1st year after the Olympiad 70% of funding spread per capita 30% to top performers.
  • 2nd year after the Olympiad 60% of funding spread per capita 40% to top performers.
  • 3rd year after the Olympiad 50% of funding spread per capita 50% to top performers.
  • The year of the Olympiad 40% of funding spread per capita 60% to top performers.
I am sure you could tweak this a but and make it more complicated but clearly the idea of only supporting the winners has been a failure. Why not try something with more of a long term focus - something more long term.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Asia wants windsurfing reinstated

Asia wants windsurfing reinstated
SINGAPORE - Windsurfing's shock omission from the 2016 Olympic Games may not be cast in stone yet.

At an Asian Sailing Federation (ASAF) meeting here last Saturday, member nations reached a unanimous decision to call for a re-vote by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) at its next meeting in Ireland this November to re-instate windsurfing as a medal event for the Rio Games.

"We're now finding out the process to present a strong case for windsurfing to ISAF," said SingaporeSailing CEO Tan Wearn Haw.

"There has been talk the International Olympic Committee may drop sailing from the Olympics because it is not the most spectator-friendly sport, so for ISAF to drop one of sailing's more popular disciplines is surprising."

Thirty-four delegates representing 17 member nations attended Saturday's meeting at ONE15 Marina.

In a shock decision at the ISAF mid-year meeting in Italy, windsurfing was axed from the 2016 Olympics and replaced with kiteboarding.

However, Israel sailing chief Yehuda Maayan claimed the shock result came after a Spanish delegate made a wrong vote during the meeting, possibly due to confusion and the language barrier.

Singaporean Audrey Yong's bronze at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games helped promote interest in the sport here.

Timothy Khoo, president of Windsurfing Association Singapore - an affiliate of SingaporeSailing - said: "The decision to drop windsurfing was a devastating blow and there are concerns interest could dwindle as it is no longer an Olympic sport.

"It is a wake-up call for windsurfing to keep re-inventing ourselves to stay relevant." TAN YO-HINN

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A kiteboarder talks about ISAF report

A Kiteboarder’s Look at the Technical Report

We picked this up while preparing a report for US Sailing.It is a brilliant disection of the many problems in the ISAF report regarding the safety of kiting.The fact that it is from an experienced kiter is important.

By Ian Collenette
Founder, DVNT Kiteboarding, Orewa Beach, New Zealand
(source: Kiteforum)

Experience has taught me and my kiteboarding friends not to underplay the safety side of kiteboarding when representing it to kiteboarders, non-kiting public and potential new kiteboarders. We have found that honesty and transparency in learning from our experiences (close calls/accidents etc.) has kept us safer. These are quotes from the reports given to non-kiting voters, and for those thinking of getting into kiteboarding to read and learn from.

Kiteboarding Evaluation report – IKA/ISAF
“Safety issues are slightly different for kiteboarding” They are not slightly different, they are vastly different because you are dealing with a kitesport. Kites are unique in that they can generate relative huge apparent wind power compared to sailing (this means kite movement through air/wind window that translates to FAR higher apparent wind speed) to jump 100kg 60ft in the air! An accidental 15cm movement of a kitebar due to rider or equipment error (deathloop, bridle tangle, wing tip tangle/pulley jam/line half hitch on bar) can result in rider being thrown 40ft+. Kite lines have nearly drowned me and my friends (for sure less likely in racing than waves) and have caught up a kiter under a rescue boat that drowned recently (not wave riding). There are many more examples of why kitesport safety is so vastly different from sailing safety but I realize that long posts put people off reading whatsoever…

Kiteboarding Technical report – IKA/ISAF
“There have been safety issues in the past which have been overcome since approx eight years.” This statement generalizes about all safety issues and therefore simply is not true. eg Deathloops (uncontrolled spinning kites pulling you due to bridle tangle, wing tip tangle, 1/2 inside out kite, line half hitch on bar, depower system tangle) which may result in collisions with buildings / other riders/spectators / objects at sea or at the launch area. Nothing can overcome the danger of 2 tangled kites in some situations – this area is not known well (I am aware of the kite racing clubs that do have some experience) – kiting will bring kiteboard racers closer together than they ever have been in history (traditionally that have learned to stay as far apart from each other as possible). Fortunately in racing in higher winds the riders tend to get spread out more – but to say there is no safety factor in limiting entrants of kiterace compared to a sailing race is ridiculous!
“There is no difference to standard sailing regattas in respect of numbers of boats, marks etc, no additional resources or facilities are needed.” Yes there is – Launching and landing safety buffer zone from all things that are not flat beach – people, buildings, objects – anything you could have a collision with if pulled forward for example 60ft in 1 second due to possible user, equipment malfunction, or change in weather conditions. Most kiteracers around the world do not have access to boats and quite frankly couldn’t be bothered to go to the trouble of boat launching. Sure Olympic rsx sailors have their support boats but how is that making kiteboarding accessible. Sailing boats can launch in unsteady (gusty wind launch areas are dangerous for kiteboard launching), offshore (usually too much wind shadow) and very light winds (kite falls out of sky – approx 10 knots required for water relaunch) – Kiteboarders cannot safely or reliably do this. Can you imagine sailing clubs needing one boat per kiter! Traditional sailing clubs and kiteboarding usually do not mix well from a safety point of view simply due to safe launching and landing buffer zone, due to having inexperienced kiters (sailors) around kites (eg trying to help a kiteboarder and instead getting them hurt grabbing wrong side of kite / kite lines / wrong safety line / trying to grab kite detached from rider).
“kiteboards are always planing.” No they are not – I have been in lulls on raceboard not planing! Instead of pumping – we sine wave the kite to generate apparent wind and get planing again – for sure they plane more than windsurfers though – difference is that most kites cannot relaunch from the water in under approx 10 knots if wind lulls and kite falls from sky. This point was not mentioned in report, an ambiguous statement that said kites can be lauched in 4 knots I think it was, little did anyone know this referred to launching from a boat or land with human assistance, and not an unassisted water relaunch. Report makes no mention of rider having face split in 2 during freestyle competition (Vincent Tiger) as it was not considered serious (3 months recovery) – The report does not refer specifically to kiteboard racing safety records, of which incidentally there has been very little relative activity in racing worldwide to be able to analyze it properly – simply because kiteboard racing has been very niche with very few participants worldwide.
Report says kites flag out when releasing safety system (“kite will have no more power whatsoever”) That is simply not the case for many riders riding various kite brands in current IKA/ISAF kiteboard racing. They are not safely flagged out onto one line, some use a suicide leash and rely on the high depower of the kite design! This makes the statement “kite will have no more power whatsoever” untrue.
“Although kiteboarding accidents still happen, they are rare.” No they are not, they are far more common than sailing accidents and far more likely to result in severe injuries or death. Sure people get hit hard by gybing masts in sailing but nothing of the scale of kite accidents. Analogies to other sports are ridiculous (cars motorcross skiing..?!?!), kiteboarding is unique in that it deals with both the erratic nature of the weather AND the fact that a kite can throw a 100kg human 60ft through the air from an accidental or deliberate mechanical movement of just 15cm on the bar/due to tip wrap/bridle tangle/bar line half hitch/ kites tangled together. Saw someone launch kite recently and due to bridle tip wrap tangle flew 30ft onto their head as kite deathlooped at launch – a bit late for a safety system. They were out cold for 10 mins and injured.
“It is no more dangerous than any other sport.” That is just the most utterly stupid statement and totally untrue. Kiteboarding while safer than is used to be due to advancement in equipment design will always have the inherent additional risks of the huge relative power kites can generate both at ground level and more importantly upwards! Particularly at launch and landing. These dangers are increased by the erratic nature of the weather.
I love kiteboarding including racing and high winds (25 knots+ even lol), but when I read reports representing my sport to others, that may bring it into disrepute, clearly written by inexperienced kiteboarders, I have to put my time into getting the facts straight. (I don’t consider myself anything special but have been kiting 12 years, was in my country’s Olympic youth sailing squad, NZ national kiteboarding title holder and various other achievements in kiteboarding). Reports like these do not benefit kiteboarders (exception maybe kiteboarders in the business of course – Olympics = sell more kit), potential kiteboarders or voters by painting a fairytale picture of kiteboarding that is designed to spin, not tell the real truth. The truth educates and therefore benefits kiteboarders, voters and potential new kiteboarders. It also enables people to make informed decisions.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kiteboarding is wrong choice for Olympics says expert

Sailing-Kiteboarding wrong choice for Olympics, says expert

Related News

Related Topics

BEIT YANNAY, Israel, June 18 | Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:59am EDT
(Reuters) - Kiteboarding is "10 times more dangerous" that windsurfing and the decision to include the sport in the 2016 Olympics is a big mistake, a leading kitesurfing expert has told Reuters.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced the decision to include men's and women's kiteboarding at the expense of windsurfing last month, describing it as a "fantastic addition" for the 2016 Games.
However, Israel's Amit Inbar, who runs a kitesurfing school, said the ISAF did not appreciate how dangerous the sport was.
"I think they have made a very big mistake because I think the people at ISAF don't really understand the implications of the decision ... and the dangers of the sport," said Inbar.
Inbar, who represented Israel in windsurfering at the Barcelona and Sydney Games, said there was a real possibility of competitors being seriously injured or killed, particularly at race starts, and when battling for position around marker buoys.
"People have died in kitesurfing ... I'm really scared that we are going to see some very bad accidents ... it is 10 times more dangerous than windsurfing," he added.
Inbar said around 130 people had been killed in the sport worldwide and told how he recovered a kitesurfer's finger from the beach after it was severed by a kite cord.
"A kite has a lot of energy and there are many things that can go wrong ... if you put 100 kites on a course, the lines in strong winds can be like knives and at the start there are many chances for lines tangle."
While the decision to raise the profile of kiteboarding was the best thing he could have hoped for in a commercial sense, it would not benefit sailing.
"For me, business wise, it was a magical decision, because for the last 12 years I have been working in and teaching kite surfing, but as a guy who has raced in windsurfing in the Olympics, this was a very poor decision and I really hope it will be changed soon," he said.
Windsurfing supporters have not given up hope of the decision being reversed at the ISAF annual conference in Ireland in November where a final vote will be taken.
Inbar said the decision to include kiteboarding was based on sailing chiefs' hopes of making the Olympics more sexy, but he said it would not be the case.
"Kitesurfing at the Olympics will be the same as windsurfing: sailing around markers, no jumping, nothing sexy, or all the crazy stuff kite surfers do ... at the end of the day it will be exactly the same," he added.
Proponents of kiteboarding said the sport's visual appeal, portability and accessibility were ideal to get athletes from emerging economies involved.
ISAF Vice President Low Teo Ping told Reuters last month he believed there would be a tremendous boost particularly from the non-traditional sailing countries in Asia.
Israel's sailing chief Yehuda Maayan, however, said ISAF's decision to dump windsurfing in favour of kiteboarding came about as a result of an error by the Spanish delegate to the Melbourne meeting where the vote was held last month.
Maayan had told Reuters delegates were probably confused or didn't understand the motion because of language difficulties.
The Spanish Sailing Federation has since admitted its mistake saying its representative voted in favour of kiteboarding in error. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)