Despite some expectations of conflicting opinions amongst the KSP committee and the riders, the process of developing the guidelines went rather smoothly with everyone agreeing on almost all points from the outset. Only the topic of riding "switch" has seen some inconsistency and will therefore be observed closely during the first 3 events. In general all riders agreed that no mandatory rule can be made whether or not to ride with or without straps, hooked in or unhooked. Therefore, all riding styles will be allowed within the KSP competitions. It was also identified that, depending on the conditions, riders may need to adjust their style of riding to the spot.
The judging guidelines developed in cooperation with the riders and finalized by the judging committee read as follows:
KSP Judging Guidelines:
Kite Surfers must perform according to the KSP judging key elements to maximize their scoring potential. Judges analyze the following major elements when scoring waves:
- Degree of difficulty
- Innovative and progressive maneuvers
- Combination of major maneuvers
- Variety of maneuvers
- Speed, power and flow
It should be noted that kite surfers must combine the major elements in order to be awarded scores in the excellent range. For example: Simply increasing your degree of difficulty by riding switch, unhooked and strapless will not produce an excellent wave score if it is not combined with other key elements such as commitment, speed, power, flow, combination, variety and innovative/progressive maneuvers. And vise-versa, a kite surfer using foot straps will decrease his degree of difficulty and commitment even if he is fulfilling all other major elements, making it more difficult to produce scores in the excellent range.
Rider: Felix Pivec
Because the judging guidelines alone will not guarantee professional judging, it has been equally crucial to the KSP team to bring highly qualified judges on board. The fact that kite surfing shares so many similarities with surfing led the KSP to incorporate the highly developed qualification of the surf world and make it mandatory for all judges on the KSP tour to have a professional ISA or ASP qualification. However, it was also identified that kitesurfing is unique in some ways and therefore the inclusion of experienced kite surfers as part of the judges' panel would be desirable. The KSP is happy to welcome the following 3 long time kite surfers to the 2011 KSP team:
Brad Price (HI), former PKRA head judge and passionate big wave surfer/kitesurfer will take on the role as the KSP head judge, supporting the tour with passion and drive. As one of the most professional head judges the sport has ever seen, Brad will help lead the judging into the right direction and be an important link between the judging panel and the riders. Brad says: "I am totally stoked to be working with all the dedicated professionals whose tenacity has made this tour a reality. The goal of the judging staff is to get it right from the very first heat and to help make the KSP a huge success and make the KSP events the gold standard for riders and sponsors alike!"
Felix Pivec (AUS), one of the biggest names in kite surfing and a rider that has been pushing the surfing aspect for many years has put his hand up to step back from competing on the KSP tour himself (at least for the 2011 season) and instead dedicate himself to help develop the best possible judging for the discipline and sport. Felix is real asset for the KSP tour and has constantly given feedback and ideas over the past months and remarks: "I'm really honored to be given the opportunity to help guide the sport of kite surfing into the future and push it into a more core direction. We are stopping at 3 world class wave spots this year that give us the possibility to grow the sport in the right way and we should not hold back in doing so."
Jose Luengo (ESP), former KPWT wave world champion and well-known name in the kite surf world does not only enjoy riding as many waves as possible himself, but has in fact worked as a judge on national surf competitions already, collecting as much experience in the field as possible. Jose has this to say: "After many years of competing (5 years on the PKRA, 3 years on the KPWT, various national events as well as surf contests), and after finishing my competition career 3 years ago, I started to educate myself in the judging area as much as I possibly could, waiting for the opportunity to work in professional kite surf events. Now the KSP gives me that opportunity and I am more than happy to be part of it. We have to create a good start and the contest format, as well as the judging, is really important. We have to push the sport to see the best riders in the best conditions and I am very anxious to see the first ever KSP event happen in Mauritius very soon."
A cooperation with ISA (International Surfing Association) judges and coaches in Europe has been established and all 3 above mentioned kite surfers will attend an ISA judging course in the next few months to further educate themselves in the finer points of surf judging. On top of that constant dialogue between the kite surf judges and the ISA judges will be started to help the judges involved to educate each other about the specifics and intricacies of their individual disciplines allowing for an exchange of knowledge between all judges.
Last, but not least, long time ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) judge and passionate strapless kite surfer Dave Oates (USA) is standing by the KSP as a mentor and adviser, offering his help and knowledge wherever possible. Dave advises: "The key is getting the right people together to get the right result from the start. This makes competitors confident about the system and the panel. The critical maneuvers done surfing are the key component strapped or unstrapped and a good judge knows the difference. Understanding the extra component of the kite to the equation is not that difficult after watching good kitesurfing. Key is going to be consistency, reevaluation and fine tuning."
Fortunate and happy to have such a passionate team of judges and advisors, the KSP is very positive to deliver professional judging that sets a new standard for the sport of kite surfing and would like to thank everyone who is helping to make it a reality.
Rider: Jose Luengo
For any further info please visit www.kspworldtour.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org