Based on the last response from the IKA and after consulting advice from our legal council the PKRA has decided to decline any further involvement from this mediation process. Therefore the PKRA will not be seeking IKA or ISAF sanctioning for our events nor will the PKRA continue to seek Special Event Status from ISAF. The PKRA’s decision is based on the following reasons.
First, I would like to acknowledge the IKA’s mission and applaud them for their vision, however, from the beginning the IKA has taken a very strong and firm approach towards the PKRA to align ourselves or succumb to unidentified ultimatums. After understudying the IKA’s origins and how the organization evolved it became apparent to the PKRA that the IKA’s mission was not necessarily to unite our sport of kiteboarding but control it and force their beliefs and structure upon everyone in the sport.
As the PKRA and IKA tried to come to a common agreement in January through many conference calls and meetings those efforts were all but eroded by comments overheard at the Dusseldorf meeting which brought to light the IKA’s long term plan of phasing out the professional tours. Furthermore, the IKA’s silence and delay point blame at the PKRA for a failed alignment. Even during the mediation process the IKA was not willing to ensure the future of the PKRA as part of the IKA by agreeing to a longer term contract. If a 10 year contract is seen as excessive than we feel a one year contract is the same given how we have arrived to this point in time.
An important point to the PKRA, and what has made the PKRA tour so successful, is that the athletes have a chance to share their opinions and have a vote on the rules, format and judging criteria of the different disciplines that make up the tour. It’s true, that the freestyle rules of the IKA share close similarities to that of ours, however, the same does not hold true to wave and racing disciplines. As we have stated previously the rules that are presented need to have appropriate time for the athletes to review, comment and approve them for 2009.
Most recently the IKA has made announcements which only continue to undermine what was discussed in January. Those include the new virtual ranking system which ignores our discussion on how the points were to be calculated based on the amount of prize money for each event and discipline. Currently the top 13 athletes are from the KPWT even though, it’s undisputed, the PKRA has more events and prize money in addition the PKRA athletes are recognized as the best kiteboarders in the world.
Furthermore, the announcement of the St. Francis Yacht Club hosting the 2009 Course Racing World Championship is in direct contradiction to our previous discussions, but most importantly, to the professional tours efforts (KPWT & PKRA) to create a series of professional events that lead up to a world title ranking and final event. The St Francis event is not only a one off event but also carries no prize money. How can the KPWT or the PKRA expect to have their event organizers offer prize money for events which hold no value towards a world championship title? This type of action will kill professional racing and undermine our relationship with event organizers.
In closing, the PKRA has spent countless hours and thousands of dollars trying to reach an agreement with the IKA by flying to Dusseldorf to attend the IKA’s first meeting, hiring attorney’s to draft agreements, review sanctioning agreements and to give the PKRA legal advice during this mediation process. Unfortunately, I cannot look across the mediation table and see the same effort put forth by the IKA.
To comment on the statements by the IKA regarding our use of the term “World” from this point forward, our legal council has concluded that since the PKRA is not a member of ISAF we are not bound by ISAF’s constitution or statues. Therefore, the PKRA will continue to name our events, as it has done over the past eight years, as part of the Kiteboarding World Tour.
If it was the IKA’s intention to phase out the professional tours or to try and financially cripple the professional tours into submission it is yet to be seen if they will succeed with the KPWT. As far as the PKRA is concerned we have come to a point where we have decided to step away and refocus on our business of representing the professional athletes and to look out for their best interests in the sport of professional kiteboarding.
I would like to personally thank Jason and ISAF in their time and efforts spent to try and mediate the issues between the IKA and PKRA. It is unfortunate that we were not able to come to a resolution, however, if the policies or management of the IKA change over time the PKRA would consider coming back to the table and working on something in the future as equivalent partners. We wish the IKA the best of luck in their endeavors.
PKRA – Managing Executive Board Member