WITHOUT THE HINDRANCE OF OLYMPIC INVOLVEMENT
American Johnny Heineken has been caught in the middle. His world,
kiteboard course racing, has been under intense scrutiny. The Olympic board
event had teetered for much of the year – windsurfing or kiteboarding. Both
sides were passionate, and weren’t afraid at disparaging the other.
At 24 years of age, Johnny helped develop the kiteboard event, and has won
the past two world championships. Now that ISAF has decided for windsurfing
to be the equipment used at the 2016 Olympics, Scuttlebutt checked in with
Johnny for an update.
* How disappointed are you about the Olympic decision?
JOHNNY HEINEKEN: I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. I’m
definitely disappointed in that this was the one shot I had to be involved
with a sport at the highest level. It’s not often you’re at the top of a
game that all is suddenly adopted into the pinnacle of sporting events. We
got more attention over the last six months than ever before. But along
with that has come added stress, increased gear regulations, silly formats,
and involvement of people who have never raced kites let alone seen us
I am very relieved to no long have to defend the sport I love from ignorant
criticism. In my opinion, kiting is the most fun and free form of sailing
in the world, and one aspect of this is that we can now beat almost every
other craft around a windward-leeward. All this will remain true, maybe
even more so without the hindrance of Olympic involvement.
* Is there a kiting vibe that would have gotten lost as an Olympic event?
JOHNNY HEINEKEN: Definitely. We have a great feel right now. I love going
sailing, even after a hectic summer of traveling and racing. I plan to keep
having fun with this as long as I can–that’s the most important thing for