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TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 10 main 1 1200x800 - The 2024 Olympics

The 2024 Olympics

Historically, when a free sport elects to become ‘Olympicized’ for some die-hard roots participants, we’re entering dodgy ground. Take snowboarding as an example… Off the bat, the pathway to get kiting to the Olympics has been a tumultuous one politically. For the common or garden kiter, it’s a long way from what you’ll experience on the beach with its hyper-expensive and technical foil kites, but there’s no denial that hydrofoil racing has helped finance and turbocharge foil development. This has already trickled down to what we use for freeriding on a day-to-day basis. Colin is trying to convince us to take notice, and it’s undoubtedly an area of the sport that is perhaps an unsung hero currently. But will it ever become more relatable to the mass market…?

WORDS: Colin Colin Carroll

1. When kiting debuts in Marseille at the 2024 games, it’ll be the fastest watercraft ever to be in the Olympics. By quite a way. It’s likely to get a lot of press attention because of this, and due to the fact that the chances of a massive pile-up at turn one are high.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 2 - The 2024 Olympics

2. Connor vs. Guy 

There are some big rivalries brewing in this side of the sport. Britain’s hopefuls are Connor Bainbridge, of pure sailing background, and Guy Bridge, of pure kiting background. It’s sailing nerd vs. pirate. And only one of them can go to the games to represent King and country.

Connor is a massive bloke. The perfect build to hold down big kites in big winds. And properly professional. He’s got the whole British Sailing team around him, from coaches to physios to psychologists to nutritionists. Rumor has it that he purchased 47 kites last year, in order to test them all and pick out the quickest for his quiver. He’s like a finely-tuned, turbo-charged bulldozer, coming at you to the downwind mark. Late last year he snapped a ligament in his knee. It should have been all-over. But he’s somehow come back in 2023 stronger. The man is a machine.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 3 - The 2024 Olympics

Guy’s surname reeks of kiteboarding success. No family has a more tightly packed trophy cabinet than the Bridges. His total time flying a kite is probably more than anyone else in the fleet. And when he’s doing it, it’s like watching a sleep-deprived Russian figure skater. Not because he cheats, but because you can see that he’s doing it because this is his life. This is all he has known. Because he’s really talented. Not because he wants it. However, this figure skater is beautiful to watch. His riding is effortless. It’s beautiful to such a great extent that you forgive him for not ever setting foot in a gym, not ever following a diet plan, not ever listening to a sailing coach trying to tell you how to kite. He does it his way. You’d be mistaken for thinking that his younger brother is the bad boy.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 4 - The 2024 Olympics

3. Daniela Moroz

6x World Champion. 4x Rolex sailor of the year. She needs no introduction, yet she does because you don’t follow kite foil racing – yet. Basically, she’s always been the best. Like in F1 when it’s wet, Daniela goes full beast mode when the conditions are sketchy. She adapts faster and better than anyone. She takes a bigger kite than everyone, and smashes you on the downwind leg. You think you’ve got it in the bag and then she comes past at twice the speed and you cry. You have to be having your best day on the water every day in order to be in the same ball park. She’s the white female Lewis Hamilton.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 1 - The 2024 Olympics

4. France

They are the home nation, which bring its own prestige and pressure. It also allows for two representatives in each category. So we’re probably looking at four French racers across the fleets. Which will be an issue because as a nation, they are the strongest of them all. The best thing about it is that the French team have a habit of bursting into tears and clawing at each other. In the launching area.

5. Speaking of launching areas. In racing, it is chaos. It’s like Liam Whaley’s awkward kite change in GKA 2022 finals, every day. There’s panic, tangles, people getting dragged. £4k foiling getting airborne. It’s fantastic and I sincerely hope they never change the regulations.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 5 - The 2024 Olympics

6. You know when you’re too powered on your 9m? The racers will be on an 11m. And a foil. That is razor sharp and can cut you just by looking at it. In 10 knots, they are going 30 knots+.

7. $$$… This is the most professional discipline of our sport, all made possible by the fact that the world’s most prestigious sailing federations are pouring money into the athletes and the teams in order to bag some medals at the games. If you’re in the top five for a big sailing nation, like GBR or France, you’ll be on a salary that is one tier down from Andy Murray or Mo Farah.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 6 - The 2024 Olympics
TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 7 - The 2024 Olympics

8. It’s high drama. Sparing the boring details, a normal regatta is a qualifying round, a round where all the best go against each other (Gold Fleet), and then: the finals. This is where the top eight are put on a different course on the last day, which includes what is basically a very wet chicane. Right in front of the spectators and the cameras, the racers go through a venturi effect into a final corner before nailing it to the finish line. The odds of a tangle or a collision are really high. And it is easy to follow and amazing to watch. It’s proper KOTA-level excitement.

TheKiteMag 52 Colin Colin Carroll 2024 Olympics 8 - The 2024 Olympics

9. It’s less sailing-gloves-and-tiller-extensions and more who-doesn’t-shit-themselves-wins. I used to think it was all stuffy and boring. But when you watch the racing you quickly realize that the level of risk they take, and the pressure they are under can be greater than freestyle and Big Air combined.

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