Richard Branson is preparing to buy the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA).
The Virgin mogul, a passionate and avid kiteboarder, has bought the rights of the PKRA World Tour, in an unusual joint-venture agreement with BEST Kiteboarding and the Spanish entrepreneur behind clothing company Zara.
According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, the deal is sealed, and a new umbrella company will start controlling the PKRA World Tour at the end of August, when the Tarifa Pro Kite Tour 2014 runs in Spain.
Richard Branson is absolutely into kiteboarding. The 64-year-old businessman discovered the sport in the 21st century, but he rapidly helped boosting its growth with a series of spectacular events and moves.
He rode with naked models; he set Guinness World Records; he crossed the English Channel; he organized kite events in his Necker Island, and he lobbied for kiteboarding in the Olympic Games. Now, he’s taking one of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the world to the center stage of action sports.
The Professional Kiteboard Riders Association manages and runs the official world kiteboarding tour, as sanctioned by the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA), but it was not the first structure to control it. The Kiteboard Pro World Tour (KPWT) was the inaugural world tour circuit, but it was replaced in 2009 by the PKRA.
Richard Branson faces many challenges. Improving the competitive feel of the events, solidifying the kiteboarding classes, improving media coverage, broadcasting events online and increasing the prize money at each venue, are only a few goals that lie ahead.
It is rumored that the PKRA will add Big Air Contest to the circuit with a huge prize purse, with the Aim of taking kiteboarding to the masses. No one can argue that Red Bull has pulled off the hugely successful King Of the Air in Cape Town for the past 2 years. This event, along with the help of Ruben Lenten has been groundbreaking in creating a new generation of ‘Extreme Kiteboarders’.
It’s really exciting to see how the sport will evolve over the next 2 years, The kiteboarding revolution is out there. It’s time to fly.