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Some things you need to know!

It’s been a very different start to the 11/12 season for the KTA as it now moves towards its opening round of the Asian Championship Tour over in the Philippines  –  The KTA powered by Aqua Boracay

The season this time began with training rather than competition which saw both freestyle weekends and race jams being run by the KTA in conjunction with the current men’s Asian Champion Yo Narapichit Pudla. So hopefully we will be seeing some of those sharp new skills on display as we move through the tour.

Competition was of course not far away but we started in a whole new world rather than the one we are used to running with as the KTA and kiteboarding took part for the first time in a major multi-class sailing regatta at the 25th Anniversary of the Kings Cup in Thailand. The focus was on kite racing and for this first appearance kiteboarding featured as an exhibition fleet that put on an impressive series of races when the gusty offshore conditions allowed. Certainly good learning for both sides and good experience as our sport moves towards perhaps more of this sort of event with the potential of the 2016 Olympics in the pipeline. Certainly in terms of the Kings Cup the KTA has already had early talks about the regatta for 2013, so looks like the sailing world have not been scared off by us.

Now though it’s time to get down to business properly with the Asian Tour and Championship events. We have to tell you though it’s been a very tough year indeed to try and secure venues, licences and most of all sponsorship. Quite exhausting really after more than 10 months of wheeling a dealing to bring the events to reality and it does seem that even kiteboarding can’t hide from world economics and all those nightmares, but thankfully we have a great start with round one with Aqua Boracay and are nearing final lockdowns on the other events also.

The KTA however is taking the plunge and covering the slack to ensure you get at least the three stops needed to be able to award the titles. So as you will see when you read the Vietnam location page information this one is all grassroots driven, no major sponsors just a lot of heart and good will to make it happen. Big hats off to then everyone involved and especially to our local organisers for the C2Sky Freestyle Raid that is the KTA Vietnam and round two of the Asian Tour.

So our undertaking is that come what may we will award the Asian Freestyle Championships from the first three rounds of the year. In fact depending on your feedback we might stick to this 3 stop package for the Asian Freestyle title for future years also as it allows riders without sponsors and a pile of cash a real chance to be in the running for the top slots.

We are able to do this because other changes this year from the IKA mean that the Asian Course Race Champions are to be decided via a single championship event rather than through the tour as we have done before. This year the Asian Course Race Championships will be combined with round three of the KTA tour in Thailand, so again we intend to try to help make it work cost wise you as well as us.

This means by the end of the KTA Thailand we will be crowning both the Asian Freestyle and the Asian Course Race Champions for the season. Hopefully though it does not all stop there and if we can confirm our last two planned tour stops before March the KTA Tour Open titles will still be up for grabs and will only be awarded at the final event of the season, whichever that turns out to be.

In summary then as they say –

Asian Freestyle Champions – Tour Competition rounds 1 to 3 – (Asian nationals)

Asian Course Race Champions – Championship Event – (Asian nationals)

Asian Course Race Open Champions – Championship Event – (Any national)

KTA Freestyle Tour Champions – Tour Competition all rounds count – (Any national)

KTA Course Race Tour Champions – Tour Competition all rounds count – (Any national)

KTA Asian Old Skool Champions – Championship Event – (Any national)

So there is a lot to play for and be assured we are doing our best to make it all work. Other changes though you should be aware of is in the categories of which countries are now in which regions. So this does affect some of you as Asian country members under ISAF rules are not the same as the geographical ones we have been using. You can check on the ISAF website – www.sailing.org

More to come as the year progresses, but for now let’s kick off the 2012 part of our season with one mega event in Boracay – see you there!