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Kitesurfing - a part of the sailing future

The relationship between windsurfing and kitesurfing has been considered before ib NZ, and it's a topic of interest in other countries. Here's the reaction in some of them.

Kitesurfing is developing rapidly in many regions in the world. As a
traditional sailor myself, this includes also some windsurfing, I firmly
believe, that kitesurfing is a new exiting sailing discipline and
therefore a "part of the family", which not least attracts young people in
the age group 18 to 15 to our sport.

There is absolutely no difference between the current situation with
Kitesurfing, and the situation with windsurfing in the 1970'ies and
beginning of the 1980'ies. At that time windsurfing was something many of
the traditional sailors found was not "sailing". Of course it was - and
still is. ISAF took care of this new exiting discipline and national
sailing associations all over the world followed the lead. Today nearly
nobody would dare to say, that windsurfing is not sailing, and it has been
on the Olympic programme since 1988.
Kitesurfing will in the coming years attract thousands and thousands of
young people all over the world and they will engage in this demanding and
exiting discipline. Many of these young people would some years ago have
chosen windsurfing, but many others are coming from other sports such as
waterskiing, paragliding etc. New disciplines attract new people, and
helps keeping a sport alive, healthy and attractive for future
generations.

I wish to stress that I am not specifically talking about speed sailing,
but more in general terms.

Naturally Kitesurfing is to become a part of the global sailing world - we
are using the same wind and the same water. We have to develop security
rules, teaching standards, competition rules, equipment standards, educate
race officials and sometimes also fight with other groups in the society
about the access to water where we are able to perform our sport along the
shores all over the world.

In Denmark we have during the last half year kept contact with the
kitesurfers, and last week we had a very fruitful discussion about the
future of Kitesurfing in Denmark. The Danish Sailing Association welcomes
those young sailors into the sport of sailing. During the next half year
we expect to help them setting up a "national class Association" and will
help kitesurfing clubs to get established. Thereafter we will discus
education, security etc. in order to help them to develop and be part of
the "official sports community" in Denmark. We have already been involved
in some cases where authorities were under pressure to forbid kitesurfing.
Luckily enough we have been able to secure the access to the water at an
ideal spot, and the kitesurfers can carry on their acrobatic sailing
activity.

The Danish Sailing Association have contacted other European Sailing
Associations and requested them to send us information about how
kitesurfing is organised in their country. In a few days we already got
very positive response, like:

From Spain:
the kite is affiliated to our Federation as a National Class
within our Federation there is a Committee where they are
represented
I think that the European Tour you mentioned should be developed
under EUROSAF & MNA

From Turkey:
our approach to kitesurfing is very similar to yours in general
terms
we have made a decision to recognize kitesurfing as a class for
the first time in 2005 and aim to keep it under the TSF umbrella
we also believe that ISAF will recognize kitesurfing in the very
near future.

We are aware about the same moves in other countries like Germany and
Norway - just look at this website and see one example of what is
happening http://www.kite-surf.tv with 6 countries involved in a tour. In
Denmark 2005 will be the 3rd year with a national kitesurfing tour
http://www.kitetour.dk (sorry many cannot read it!)

For the moment the kitesurfers are "free birds" and not "mainstream
sailors"; We should not try to change them, but invite them into the
sailing world and work alongside in order to promote sailing and attract
more young people into our wonderful sport. In 30 years they might be a
part of the mainstream sailors, and something new has hopefully happened
in our sport.

Of course there is a better way - together!

Respectfully
Dan Ibsen, secretary general
Danish Sailing Association

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