Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Kite boarding in Turkey–part 1

I'm at a PKRA World Cup event (again) this time in Kumkov Burc Beach. It is on the European side of Turkey on the edge of the Black Sea, very near the entrance of the Bosporus. Today was the first day and we had fantastic wind to do the kite boarding. Three upwind downwind races in quick succession and now the freestyle riders are doing their jumps and loops. I’m here as an IJ to chair the Protest committee. So far no work today – no protests.

I talked to the riders and others about the sport and about the rules. And helped with the finish. The biggest problem at the finish in these circumstances is to recognize the number on the riders. They are issued with a pullover with a big black number, but the finish is outside the surf and about a 100 meters from the beach. Even with binoculars it is sometimes impossible to see. The number is on their backs and if the wind angle is towards shore, like here, they face the beach with their back away from you.

PKRA Word Cup 2012 Turkey Day 1 - start1

I racked my brain how to improve this, but have not found he answer. Everything I suggested was shot down as to disturbing to the kite performance – like putting a sail number on the kite. The material is similar to spinnaker cloth and any stickers would drastically impact the bending. Streamers between the lines just would interfere with looping and might vibrate the lines, as do any other flags or stuff on the lines.

For now we just look at the kite – colour and make – and write those down. When the riders return to the beach we run around sorting out numbers and pray and hope we get it right. Preliminary results have been published and no requests for redress as of yet. There are several similar kites in make and colour, so that is a relief for the finish committee….

If any of you have suggestions how to improve the identification, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.



  1. Maybe some kind of electronics? A tag which can be read by the finish line?

  2. Bruno De Wannemaeker28 June 2012 at 10:18

    Hi Jos, Looks like a RM problem to me. The RC should put a finishing boat on the finishline and position it in this way (upwind) of the finishline to have a good view on the back of the kiter and his number. Bruno

    1. Yes Bruno, of course it is a Race Management problem. I do not disagree with your solution and we are attempting to get a boat out there - not easy in this surf.
      But that does not negate the basic problem of recognizing who is who. At least in a sailboat race everybody can read the sail number (most of the time).

  3. We have used a voice recorder for years to record the conversation on the RC boat which provides a running timeline, both for backup and for extracting the finish times if one is not written down. How about using a video camera to record the finish? Then a replay, even using competitors if needed to help IDeach other

    1. Yes, the finish is recorded on camera here. We can rewind and have a look. The problem though is that the picture usually focuses on the rider and not on the kite. In certain angles you need to see the kite to identify the rider.
      But you are right, it is at least something to fall back on when else fails.
      Perhaps we just need to issue colored streamers, two to each of the riders. That way we can already identify 45 different combinations in one glance.

  4. I was race officer on the last 3 Belgian CH Kite course racing
    We use a short finish line and ask the kiters to jell the number thats on there back , we are with 3 to write the number of the rider

    Perhaps it could help us that the number is also on the Kite in High Performance Permanent Marker like on the spinnaker of the Dinghy's

    Kind regards

  5. It is pretty easy... the standard courses have the finish in leeward of the committee boat so the riders come with their back straight past you and it is as easy as it can be...

    the PKRA is using beach finishes for spectator entertainment and thus have no one in windward of the finish line. It would be easy to solve to put the finish committee not on the beach but on a boat to windward...

    IKA is doing that with fleets of up to 100 - no problem.

    1. I understand.
      But than you loose the spectators. They are unable to see who's who


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