Formula kite European championship

Kite foiling explained

From the kit to the racing, here's everything you need to know about the new Olympic discipline... 

Kite foiling, is one of two new sailing disciplines set to debut at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Formula Kite class is both fast and exciting, promising plenty of thrills for spectators.

So what is kite foiling, what kit do you need and how does the racing work? We spoke to some of the British Sailing Team’s highest flying riders to find out more. Here’s everything you need to know…

What is kite foiling?

Kite foiling sees riders ‘fly’ above the water on hydrofoils attached to boards and powered by huge kites. They can reach incredible speeds of up to 45 knots (51 mph).

What kit do you need?

To kite foil all you need is a kite, a board and a foil.

The board, the foil and the kite

Kite foiling boards are just over a metre long and feature both a foil on the underside and foot straps on the top side. The hydrofoils are comprised of a mast and two wings, the front wing provides lift and the back wing (or stabiliser) provides stability.

Riders are powered by large kites attached with a harness and controlled with a hand bar. Each rider will have a selection of four kites of different sizes that can be changed based on the wind strength and conditions.


How does racing work?

Each regatta lasts around one week with riders racing set courses. Three qualifier days are usually followed by two days of silver and gold fleet racing. The top ten riders then go through to the final series.

Racing is fast and exciting, with the average race lasting just 12 minutes.

Formula Kite European Championships

The world’s best riders from the Olympic circuit will be battling it out on the waters off Eastney Beach, Portsmouth for the title of European Champion from the 19-24 September 2023.

The finals weekend (23-24 September) is completely FREE to attend for spectators. Come along and watch the world’s best riders battle it out just metres from the shore at Eastney Beach.

The Event Village will feature music, food and drink stalls, kids activities, opportunities to try watersports and a big screen to view all the action on the water.

The final two days of racing will also be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook so you can watch remotely.