Kiteboarding set for lift-off at Paris 2024

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Kiteboarding is set to provide a gust of fresh air at Paris 2024.

World Sailing announced that the high-octane, wind-propelled sport has been selected as one of 10 sailing events in France.

The IOC is still to give its formal approval to the 10 events but seeing that it does, here is what fans can expect to see from kiteboarding in 2024.

A hybrid water sport?

As the name suggests athletes are propelled across the water’s surface while holding a 7-18m kite to harness the power of the wind.

 

Sound like fun? It is. But kiteboarders have a lot to concentrate on.

In many ways it is a hybrid water sport. Competitors require the balance of a surfer while travelling at a similar speed seen in windsurfing, on something that closely resembles wakeboard.

If the wind is strong enough riders can reach speeds of up to 40 knots (74 k/h) and have been seen jumping six metres in the air, wowing the crowd with flashy grabs and tricks.

While the exact format at Paris 2020 is still to be confirmed, races often include a short-course marked out by buoys and possibly some obstacles for athletes to navigate past to cross the finish line first.

At Paris 2024

For fans that are planning to visit the Olympics but also want a relaxing holiday by the sea, listen up!

As with the other sailing events at Paris 2024, Marina de Marseille will host kiteboarding on the country’s Mediterranean south coast, IOC approval pending.

The course is usually closer to shore than the one for boat races, meaning the crowd will get a great view of the action.

The competitors’ brightly coloured kites ride high in the sky and provide a clear, and aesthetically-pleasing indication as to who is in the lead.

It is still to be confirmed but the event will likely feature mixed competition with one man one woman selected to represent each nation.

Youth Games Taster

If you simply cannot wait until 2024 to see kiteboarding at an Olympic event, kiteboarding will feature at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games this October.

There will be two heats with 6-8 athletes each. Points from each race are added together and the eight teams with the lowest score progress to the winner-takes-all final.

The competition may also provide the first look at a future Olympic champion, with competitors surely hoping a good performance will pave the way to higher honours at Paris 2024.

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Author: Andrew Binner
Andrew is a former desert-dwelling news reporter and producer at the Olympic Channel.