Some new kites and racing coming?
Looks like a new design specifically built for One-Design kiteboard racing. It only 3 struts. So no Switchblade. The sad thing with One-Design is that it stays locked in for years as they need a consistent platform and get it authorized by the Olympic organization. You will end up with outdated equipment very fast. Same was with the disconnect on One-Design windsurfing class. Nobody in the right mind would have touched the One Design just for fun riding. It was dated very fast and presented an odd disconnect from the real world sport. It will be pressed in the mold of just another sailing class that does not represent the sport very well in the long run. Standardized equipment = death of product development. We shall see, maybe I see this too dark with past experience with One-Design in windsurfing.
Good point about the potential to limit design development. That said, hasn't kite design relatively plateaued? Sure there's been incremental improvements, tweeks, polish, but is there a big difference, apples to apples for a particular kite design discipline, from your let's say 2010 Cab Switchblade to the latest. To put it another way, is that relatviely older kite design still servicable? I know there are many that can comment on the days of old, the old C designs, before safety systems, etc. I heard all the "horror" stories, and I'm referreing to a more stable period in kite design technology.
That's not to say there won't be ground breaking designs just around the corner. I know many one design classes in sailboat racing include an adjustment period to allow for the adapting of new technology into their current strict one design criteria - ie. the transition from wood spars to aluminium.
I think one of the design limitiation that hurt the One Design in windsurfing was the advent of the twisting leach. This gave sails a a greater top end range, albeit potentially less power on the bottom. If I remember correctly the one design lost some of its appeal over time for this reason. It didn't adapt to the new trend quickly enough. Given the relatively short lifespan of kites vs windsurfing sails or more hearty sailboat gear, most will opt for new kite gear after a few seasons anyhow. This gives plenty of opportunity to make incremental changes to keep up with the current trends for one design kite gear.
From Wikipedia: The Mistral One Design Class (MOD) was chosen by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the governing body of sailing, as the windsurfing equipment (man and woman) for use at the Olympic Regatta in Savannah 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004
My comment: The One Design thing was already out of touch in 96, by 2004 it was a dinosaur. World Cup slalom racing was moving to shorter, faster boards very quickly. They also sailed in much higher winds. The Olympic format requires equipment that will work in low winds too. I remember watching an Olympic WS event in about 10-15mph, oh boy, yawn! Actually found footage of the finals in Athens: https://youtu.be/UzDZAkix5YM
Now compair what a world cup race looked like in 2004: https://youtu.be/6w4iNsISHiM and https://youtu.be/jHsgtN0wfaA
It was actually fast action sailing. Speed was the fascination on these slalom race boards. The The one design was just plain boring.
I would say, with kiteboarding, 8 years from now we will be somewhere else with kite AND board design. Yes, there is a difference from a 2008 SB to a 2016 SB. Or from a 2008 Waroo to a 2016 TS. The planned Olympic format is just not representing the kiteboarding sport. It is twisted into a standardized boxed in sailing format.
Kiteboarding is still struggling with pro events and various organizations fighting for controll and funding. Sad story. Anyway, hope something good comes from the whole Olympic efforts.
From 2008 to now I feel it's like with cars. Yes they indeniably got better but 2008 cars are still perfectly fine.
My kites are 2009, 2010 and 2011. Of course I'd love to replace my 2010 Crossbow for a 2017 North Evo but that's 2 grands and my Crossbow still works.
I don't like standardization, I think it's a stupid idea but if that's what it takes to get a foot into the Olympics maybe it's not a bad thing until it changes, it can't remain still for too long anyway.
I get ya. It's a little like a friend of mine who's a wine collector. When asked what he thought when he cracked open his $900 bottle. It was wonderful, but not $880 better than a good $20 bottle of wine.
In strict one design sailboat racing, standardization meant the best sailor wins and not the resources poured into your gear. I believe this what is intended for the Olympics in kiting. There's no reason why new tech shouldn't spill over into "one design" Olympic kiteboarding and evolve over time. The same would happen with olympic one designs in sailboat racing. ..I grew up around racing dinghys. As much as I was intigued with development classes, very exciting even back when, it was too costly to be competitive. One design's give everyone a chance to compete.
@windtzu Yes, the intension is to give everyone the same chance. I like that part. Just for whatever reason once a class is accepted it stays locked in for a long time. 470 (dinghy) stayed the same since it was accepted into the Olympics in 1976. We shall see on the future of Olympic kite racing. First it hast to be accepted.