Aaron Hadlow is prequalified for the tour along with the rest of the top 14 male riders. Photo: Toby Bromwich

Aaron Hadlow is prequalified for the new tour along with the rest of the top 14 male riders. Photo: Toby Bromwich

The PKRA as we know it changed last year when long time organiser Mauricio Toscano sold the tour to a new group spearheaded by Virgin, another nod to Richard Branson’s growing interest in the sport. Since then it has been all quiet on the Western Front with very little information coming from the event and lots of the riders literally having no clue about what was happening. We’ve been asking and digging as much as we could but all in all the lid was firmly shut and everyone was very much in the dark, until now!

Christophe Tack will be back to defend his title... Photo: Toby Bromwich

Christophe Tack will be back to defend his title… Photo: Toby Bromwich

The PKRA have just released the following press release about the 2015 World Tour, and there are some big changes. Gone is the Double Elimination that has been favoured for years which allowed riders knocked out of the event to have another crack at getting to the final. Big Air is in, although it is somewhat ambiguous as to when that will be happening and at what events. Waves and Slalom make the grade too and there is now an “Overall World Title” up for grabs which will recognise not just the best freestyler but the best all round kiter across all the disciplines. Perhaps the biggest omission that we could see is that racing in either Formula Kite or Foil disciplines isn’t going to be part of the tour at all.

Youri Zoon going big, something all the riders will have to do as part of the Big Air event if they want to win the overall World Title! Photo: Toby Bromwich

Youri Zoon going big, something all the riders will have to do as part of the Big Air event if they want to win the Overall World Title! Photo: Toby Bromwich

There are also lots of unconfirmed events and only 4 of the events out of a possible 12 actually have dates attached to them… It will also be a slimmed down field with just 24 men and 12 women able to compete in each event. Riders who want to compete will either have to rank in the top 14 for men or top 7 for women in the previous year or attend pre season and mid season qualifying events to be in with a chance to compete on the world stage. There are certainly some big changes, and with so much going on behind closed doors it is hard to see how this will eventually unfold.

The ever competitive Gisela Pulido will no doubt be keen to push for another trophy! Photo: Toby Bromwich

The ever competitive Gisela Pulido will no doubt be keen to push for another trophy! Photo: Toby Bromwich

Prequalified Men for 2015:

  1. Christophe Tack – BEL
  2. Liam Whaley – ESP
  3. Aaron Hadlow – GBR
  4. Youri Zoon – NLD
  5. Alexandre Neto – BRA
  6. Marc Jacobs – NZL
  7. Reno Romeu – BRA
  8. Eudazio DaSilva – BRA
  9. Stefan Spiessberger – AUT
  10. David Tonijuan Colomer – ESP
  11. Robinson Hilario – DOM
  12. Felix Antonio Martinez – DOM
  13. Michael Schitzhofer – AUT
  14. Sergei Borisov – RUS

Prequalified Women for 2015:

  1. Karolina Winkowska – POL
  2. Gisela Pulido – ESP
  3. Bruna Kajiya – BRA
  4. Annelous Lammerts – NLD
  5. Manuela Jungo – CHE
  6. Kristiin Oja – EST
  7. Helena Brochocka – POL

Individual qualifiers will be held for the big air and wave events that are scheduled, the top 8 men and top 4 women from last years wave event will get a pre qualification in that discipline. At the moment there is no stipulation where the wave and big air events will happen, but with Cape Town getting a nod for an event in December (TBC) that looks like a likely location for big air and waves and with Fuerteventura and Dakhla on the cards those spots could also offer the wind and waves needed. It also looks like strapless freestyle and jumps will feature as part of the wave competition, this is a definite break from the norm of the wave events of the past and should suit riders like Matchu and Mitu who train really hard for those freestyle moves.

Keahi De Aboitiz is pre qualified for the tour as he won the only wave event of the season last year in Dakhla. Photo: Toby Bromwich

Keahi De Aboitiz is pre qualified for the tour as he won the only wave event of the season last year in Dakhla. Photo: Toby Bromwich

Prequalified Men for 2015 Wave:

  1. Keahi De Aboitiz – AUS
  2. Pedro Henrique – BRA
  3. Mitu Monteiro – CPV
  4. Filppe Ferreira – BRA
  5. Marciel “Matchu” Lopes Almeida – CPV
  6. Jose Silva – CPV
  7. Sebastian Riberio – NLD
  8. Kevin Langeree – NLD

Prequalified Women for 2015 Wave:

  1. Moona Whyte – USA
  2. Kirsty Jones – GBR
  3. Jalou Langeree – NLD
  4. Milla Ferreira – BRA
Matchu Lopes Almeid will no doubt be shredding, the new format allowing for strapless jumps and tricks should suit him... Photo: Toby Bromwich

Matchu Lopes Almeida will no doubt be shredding, the new format allowing for strapless jumps and tricks should suit him… Photo: Toby Bromwich

There is no mention of sponsorship or a total prize fund as yet and with so many riders in the dark about what is happening the PKRA are going to need to come clean very quickly about what is planned if they want to pull this tour off and keep the riders happy. This time last year the first event had already been and gone so it’s very late in the day to be releasing the details, especially as so much of it seems unconfirmed.

One little nugget of information we are going to share, the images from the press release contain the acronym VKWC, we’re going to take a guess that will stand for the Virgin Kite World Championships… You heard it here first!

Slalom racing is in, but Course Racing isn't... Photo: Toby Bromwich

Slalom racing is in, but Course Racing isn’t… Photo: Toby Bromwich

We’ll be doing our best to get you more information as it happens but in the meantime the full press release is below…

New 2015 Rules Preview & Provisional Tour Calendar

We are approaching our first 2015 tour stop and while we are working to publish the complete new tour rules, we want to give you a preview of the major changes in the 2015 rules. Also please find an overview about the current 2015 tour calendar below.

Freestyle

Qualification:

There will be one Qualifier stop (WQF) before the first stop for the coming year and another one halfway during the season.

Pre-qualified riders: top 14 men and top 7 women (from previous year Freestyle ranking for the first Freestyle event and from the current Freestyle ranking before mid-year WQF).

Elimination ladder:

A new dingle ladder of 24 men and 12 women will be used during the 2015 world tour:

Freestyle-Men-Dingle_elimination_VKWC_2015_ok-1

Freestyle-Women-Dingle_elimination_VKWC_2015_ok-2

Wildcards:

There will be local event organizer’s wildcards given at each event: 2 men and 1 woman.
A new Injury wildcard is already in place for the 2015 season. To be entitled to Injury wildcard, a competitor must be ranked in the Freestyle world rankings top 14 for men and top 7 for women at the time of their injury and have evidence that the competitor missed at least 50% of the current year events or combined two year events.

Prize money:

Freestyle Prize money distribution will be as follows:

image00

New competition area:

In order to improve the quality of the judging and to drive the media attention to a more predictable area, for 2015 we will introduce a reduced competition area and new interference rules and penalties to make sure only one competitor jumps at a time and to bring the action closer to the judges. In some scenarios with 3 competitors per heat we may use an offset mark to be rounded before any jump attempt inside the competition area.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 20.32.32

Interferences:

Interference may be called if:

  1. a kiteboard changes course to obstruct another kiteboard.
  2. a kiteboard enters the competition area when another kiteboard is already inside.
  3. a kiteboard that has crossed or jumped inside the competition area changes direction and enters the competition area again when another kiteboard is approaching the competition area.
  4. there is deliberate unsportsmanlike action with the competitors in the heat.

Interference Penalty:

  • The Head Judge will call an interference penalty only if the majority of the judges will call the interference.
  • An interference penalty will be called using colored flags or discs corresponding to the Competitor’s competition vest colors in the water.
  • If an interference is called on a Competitor, then the Competitor’s final score will be penalized with a loss of 50% of his best scoring trick.
  • If a Competitor incurs a second interference penalty during the heat, they must immediately leave the competition area and won’t be scored from this point losing 100% of his best scoring trick.

Scoring System:

A new Freestyle scoring system is introduced for the 2015 season following all the feedback from the various parties involved and the discussions with the media partners.

In summary, the new system is based on individual tricks (similar to the previous one), but breaks down the current and re-worked judging criteria into three main scoring criteria or categories, each one being judged by two or one judges.

Karolina Winkowska will be keen to defend her World Title, will she be up for the Overall? Photo: Toby Bromwich

Karolina Winkowska will be keen to defend her World Title, will she be up for the Overall? Photo: Toby Bromwich

Freestyle Judging Criteria

Technical Difficulty – The technical difficulty of a trick completed during the heat.

Power – The power during the execution of the tricks. Power will be considered as a combination of:

  • Speed into the trick to pop, not using the kite to get the initial pop.
  • Height and amplitude of the trick.

Height – Height of the trick completed during the heat. This aspect will exponentially come into consideration as the wind conditions increase, but only when the height is achieved along risk factor and technical difficulty.

Variety – The variety of tricks completed during the heat is considered in the maximum number of different tricks to be counted for the final score per trick category.

Risk factor – Is directly linked to the Power involved in the execution of the tricks, but also to the commitment of the competitor, technical and physical challenge during the execution, duration of the critical moment, amount and quality (lines direction) of the air in the trick, and energy on the execution.

Smoothness – Smoothness and fluidity during the execution and landing of tricks completed during the heat.

Innovation – Tricks that have never been landed in competition before.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Technical (40%): technical difficulty and execution – Reflects the technical difficulty of the executed trick.
  • Intensity (40%): power and height – Reflects how big and powerful the trick is performed.
  • Performance (20%): smoothness, innovation and risk factor – Reflects the performance in terms of fluidity, originality and energy for each trick.

In Dakhla 2015 there will be a panel of 5 judges – each judge contributing 20% to the final score per trick:

  • Technical (40%): 2 judges.
  • Intensity (40%): 2 judges.
  • Performance (20%): 1 judge.
Once again the judges will have their work cut out for them, although with only one rider performing a trick at a time it should make it easier... Photo: Toby Bromwich

Once again the judges will have their work cut out for them, although with only one rider performing a trick at a time it should make it easier… Photo: Toby Bromwich

Crashes have been re-defined and clarified.

A crash will be considered when:

  1. a competitor is capsized, losing control of the board or bar when landing a trick.
  2. a competitor grabs the bar leash to regain control of the bar.
  3. a competitor lands a trick but did not control the kite throughout the execution of the trick resulting in the release of the bar and/or the crashing of the kite into water after landing the trick.
  4. a competitor sinks and is completely stopped when landing a trick.
  5. a competitor lands on their back and the board is completely out of the water.

Judges may give credit to a landed trick that is not a crash when:

  1. a competitor butt-checks when landing the trick but keeps riding and control the kite.
  2. a competitor grabs the chicken loop to regain control of the bar.

Big Air

We will bring this new exciting discipline to our most windy venues for the 2015 season.

There will be Qualifiers at every Big Air event scheduled during the 2015 season.

2015 Big Air ladder: 24 men and 12 women.

Pre-qualified riders: top 14 men and top 7 women from the current 2015 Big Air ranking.

Local event organizer’s wildcard: 2 men and 1 woman.

Big-Air-Men-Dingle_elimination_VKWC_2015_ok-5

Big-Air-Women-Dingle_elimination_VKWC_2015_ok-6

Big Air Prize Money distribution will be as follows:

image01

Big Air Judging Criteria

Judging Guidelines:

Height: is the main judging factor (up to 75% – 80% of the score).

Risk Factor: Is directly linked to the amplitude and technical difficulty of the jump, but also to the commitment of the competitor, technical and physical challenge during the execution, duration of the critical moment, amount and quality (lines direction) of the air in the trick, and energy on the execution.

Riders like Ruben Lenten might be tempted back to the world tour to compete in the new Big Air discipline... Photo: Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool

Riders like Ruben Lenten might be tempted back to the world tour to compete in the new Big Air discipline… Photo: Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool

Wave

There will be Qualifiers at every wave event scheduled during the 2015 season.

2015 Wave ladder: 24 men and 12 women.

Pre-qualified riders: top 8 men and top 4 women (from 2014 PKRA Wave ranking for the first 2015 Wave event and from the current 2015 Wave ranking for the remaining 2015 events).

Local event organizer’s wildcard: 2 men and 1 woman.

Wave-Men-Dingle_elimination_VKWC_2015_ok-3

Wave-Women-Dingle_elimination_VKWC_2015_ok-4

Wave prize money distribution will be as follows:

image02

We are excited to introduce a new scoring format for the wave discipline introducing jumps.

Wave Judging Criteria

Surfing: Competitors must perform to the judging key elements to maximize their scoring potential. Judges analyze the following major elements when scoring a Ride:
• Commitment and degree of difficulty.
• Innovative and progressive manoeuvres.
• Combination of major manoeuvres.
• Variety of manoeuvres.
• Speed, power and flow.

Mitu Monteiro will now doubt be keen to compete again! Photo: Toby Bromwich

Mitu Monteiro will now doubt be keen to compete again! Photo: Toby Bromwich

Riding strapless, switch, unhooked or displaying any combination thereof is considered more technically difficult.

It’s important to note that the emphasis of certain elements is contingent upon the location and the conditions on the day, as well as changes of conditions during the day.

The following scale may be used to describe a Ride that is scored: 0–1.9 = Poor; 2.0–3.9 = Fair; 4.0–5.9 = Average; 6.0–7.9 = Good; 8.0–10.0 = Excellent.

Competitors must combine the major key elements in order to be awarded scores in the excellent range.

Jumping: Competitors must perform to the judging key elements to maximize their scoring potential. Judges analyze the following major elements when scoring a Jump:

  • Technical difficulty.
  • Risk factor – Commitment of the competitor, technical and physical challenge and duration of the critical moment.
  • Height – Height of the landed jump. This aspect will exponentially come into consideration as the wind conditions increase, but only when the height is achieved along risk factor and technical difficulty.
  • Smoothness – Smoothness and fluidity during the execution and landing of jumps.
  • Innovation – Jumps that have never been landed in competition before.

Jumping strapless and not grabbing the board is considered more technically difficult.

The aerial freestylers, like Matchu, will no doubt be looking forward to this new style of competition... Photo: Damiano Levati/Red Bull Content Pool

The aerial freestylers, like Matchu, will no doubt be looking forward to this new style of competition… Photo: Damiano Levati/Red Bull Content Pool

Scoring

Rides and Jumps are scored from 0.1 to 10.0 (ten), broken into one-tenth increments (e.g 6.4).

The number of waves ridden and jumps to be counted from each competitor towards the final result shall be decided by the Head Judge in consultation with the Riders Representative and posted in the ONB.

The total points of the best jumping score will be multiplied by a certain factor. The resulting number should be totaled to determine the winner.

The jump multiplying factor* shall be decided by the Head Judge and posted on the ONB.

Tied competitors’ heat scores shall be listed in order of best to worst individual wave scores and at the first point where there is a difference the tie shall be broken in favor of the competitor with the best individual wave score. If the tie still remains, it shall be decided in favor of the competitor with the higher single jump score.

* The jump multiplying factor would be any one-tenth decimal from 0 to 1 depending on the given conditions.
Please note that jumping, spinning and tweaking it on the wave while riding a wave is part of the surfing score.

Overall Title

Last but not least, we want to introduce the prestigious Overall title of the 2015 Tour.

Points will be given according to the end of year ranking results per discipline.

Disciplines that will count towards the 2015 Overall title are:

  • Freestyle
  • Wave
  • Big Air
  • Slalom

The best 3 end of year ranking results per discipline will count towards the Overall Ranking.

In order to be entitled for the Overall Title, a competitor has to finish within the top 5 position from the end of year ranking for at least one of the disciplines.

Prize money will be distributed only to the winners at the end of the competition year:

image04

This looks like a good start, but we'll need to see confirmation of dates soon...

This looks like a good start, but we’ll need to see confirmation of dates soon…

Update: 18/3/2014 – The new site has just been launched and we were right all along! Welcome to the Virgin Kitesurfing World Championships!

http://www.vkwc.com/

Sun 1st Mar, 2015 @ 6:03 pm

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