- 09 August 2016 | Kiteboarding
In 1984, French brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux developed the world’s first kite. The dual line wing successfully pulled a rider using two water skis under his feet, and kiteboarding became one of the fastest-growing sports on the planet.
Today, and more than 30 years after the invention, Bruno says that the new organization headquartered in Portugal – IFKO – is the only democratic body ruled by national federations. For him, the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) is a “self-proclaimed” governing body of the sport.
“The problem is that World Sailing and IKA use their power and position to make people believe that they are in charge of all the kite disciplines,” Bruno Legaignoux told KiteNews.fr.
“The first warning was when the International Sailing Federation refused to recognize the outright speed record by kitesurfers. The second strong warning came in 2012 with the announcement and cancellation of Formula Kite in the Olympic Games.”
Bruno Legaignoux believes that kite sport should be “an independent sport like surfing,” and says that the “people who run World Sailing don’t understand our problems and needs; there are in their yachting world, and they yet promote Olympic classes that are 60 years old like the Finn.”
The inventor of the kite wing considers that the status quo doesn’t change because World Sailing has interests in the kiteboarding industry, and because “windsurfing companies own some kite brands.”
Legaignoux goes even further, and suggests “kiteboarders are not sailors” because kites have no masts attached to the hull, kite boards are not boats, and because “kiteboarders fly.” Additionally, Bruno underlines that kites are used not only in the water but also in sand, ground, snow, and ice.
“IFKO tries to explain that they are following all the legal steps at the highest sports level to become the recognized international body managing kitesports. They have legally registered 17 different classes including freestyle, foilboard, landkite, snowkite,” concluded the French kiteboarders.
“SportAccord, the organization that one has to be a full member before becoming an Olympic class, gave them the authorization to start this process. If SportAccord and the IOC were not interested in IFKO, they would just have told them: ‘No thanks, World Sailing already does it.”
Bruno Legaignoux is part of IFKO’s Safety Committee.