Nearly 1/3 of Kite Race Days get Cancelled

When big events are organized, it is important that races be run on schedule.

A day without racing is lackluster for competitors and spectators, but also for sponsors supporting the event and the media covering it. Timing an event with a beach or city festival (Kiel Week, the Gold Games, etc.) or some other parallel event (a SUP race, a rock concert, a boat show, etc.) can help diffuse the pressure, but there’s no substitute for actual races.

Kiteboard racing is a planing Class, and despite claims that competitors with modern equipment can plane in very low wind (4-5 kts, according to the Kiteboarding Format Trials Technical Report, p.5), they cannot necessarily go around a course or relaunch unassisted on the water in those conditions, and races are often postponed. In an attempt to quantify that problem, we examined how many scheduled racing days had to be cancelled at top international events for both Kiteboard Racing and RS:X windsurfing in the past season. We focused on the following events:

  • for kiteboard racing: the World, Asian, European and Youth World Championships, as well as international events (PKRA, KTA and KTE) that featured at least 20 competitors;
  • for RS:X windsurfing: the World, Asian, European and Youth World Championships, as well as World Cup events (ISAF)

That’s 11 events each. The results are as follows:

  • 31% of all kite racing days had to be cancelled, nearly 3 times the rate for the RS:X;
  • 12 kite race days had to be cancelled due to low wind, vs. 3 for the RS:X;

Weather is fickle of course, and it can be unfair to compare events that didn’t take place in the same locations and on the same dates. But at the very least, this analysis puts into question the claim that kite racing involves “no race management or event organization issues” (Kiteboarding Format Trials Technical Report, p.1).

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