We took 5 minutes to have a chat with Youri Zoon – 2x World Champion, Pro Kiteboarder, and Board Member of the KRU (Kiteboard Riders United), to try and understand what is going on with the development of the World Kiteboarding Championships, and what went wrong with the WKL.
Hi Youri, Thanks for taking 5 minutes to answer these questions for us. There has been a lot of confusion this season so far… Can you please explain to us what went wrong between the KRU and the WKL please, and why you decided not to re-sign with the WKL for this season?
Unfortunately there was a lot of confusion! At the end of 2017, it was time to sign a new agreement between the KRU and the Owner of the WKL but terms were never reached. This was for a variety of factors, but basically we could not reach an agreement that we thought was fair to riders, the organization, and the future of freestyle kiteboarding.
It is really a shame, as the riders built up the WKL as much as they could, but there was simply no way to continue with them, so the only solution was to start all over again. It’s important to note that most of the crew, organization, judges etc remain the same as we had previously with the WKL, so the standard will remain good, and competition format also.
Why has the KRU started the WKC, and how will it be different from the WKL?
Since we could not work with the WKL anymore we needed to commence a new tour so that’s when we started the WKC, the whole concept of the tour and the new format etc will be the same as before cause this is something that came from the riders.
The big difference however that this time the Riders will own the tour and the world title! This is something very positive for freestyle kiteboarding!
How do you see the future of competitive kiteboarding?
There are lots of different disciplines growing and that is definetely good to see! Personally, I think there is enough space for everybody, also I think we should never call a single discipline kiteboarding…..kiteboarding covers all those disciplines. The future is in working together with the other disciplines in a positive way, which as the WKC we are now able to do.
What are the most important elements of the WKC for freestyle? Judging format, live-stream etc?
Since the WKC is created by the riders we have a great format and judging panel that we can keep changing and making better until we have found the best way possible. We also work closely together with our media team so we can be up to date with them, and so that the whole WKC flows in the best direction that we want for Freestyle.
How much work have the KRU board members had to put in to make the WKC happen?
It has been a lot of work lately since there is a lot of things to clean up as well, but we do this because we feel very passionate about the tour, and we want it to be perfect for the riders who have invested a lot in their training and kiteboard careers, and they deserve a tour that is up to standard.
There seem to be 3 confirmed events for 2018… are you planning more for next year?
Yes that is correct for now – 3 events and a Junior event, for sure we are planning more, but we would rather do 3 good events, that are well organized, than a lot of bad events that are not well organized and could cause us more problems in the long run.
Why is it so important to you to have a consistent and successful World Tour?
For the future of our sport and the youth of today there has to be a tour with the highest Freestyle level Possible. For me I think after this season I will do 1 more year. I’ll be 30 and will have competed for 15 years so it will be a good time to say goodbye but there are young riders that want to compete, and right now I am pushing myself to try to make something nice for them, not for myself since being a board member only costs time, effort and money! But we are doing it for the greater good!
Thanks Youri for taking 5 minutes to answer these questions for us, we look forward to the start of the freestyle season!