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SESS I: Sporting Variations

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Panelists: Joachim Gossow – IWGA, Reindert Lenselink – IFSC, Simon Ward – iFLY, Patrice Girardin – ISC/FFP, Andrey Karr – TT/surfer; Moderator: Roland Hilfiker

Wavegardens *** Recording; International Surfing Association *** Recording

A comparison is made between skydiving/indoor skydiving and surfing/pool surfing. But the statements by Andrey Karr, the only panelist who is – all at once – a surfer, a skydiver and a tunnel entrepreneur, question whether the correlation between the two sports and their variations is indeed appropriate.

"Different beasts, different games ... and different numbers" would summarize Andrey's views on the matter best. While some of his points could and should be argued against, the fact that neither skydiving nor indoor skydiving can count on solid data on its global participation (in all its variations and at all levels) does not help. The current benchmark of 35 million surfers worldwide seems to be taken at face value by most, including the media, even though it is wholly unclear how the "surfer" is defined. The participation in surfing has shown phenomenal growth since 2002 (10 million). As the figures seem to originate with the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association, one can only assume that the ownership of surfboards is somehow tied to it too.

Simon Ward, the CEO of iFLY, is particularly interested to find out more about the developments that take place in in sport climbing. Here he sees a traditional sport coming from the outdoors totally repurposing itself – including the organization – and designing new events.

Reindert Lenselink, the Honorary Member of the International Federation of Sport Climbing, does not disappoint the summiteers with his presentation of the success story that culminates in the boulder, lead and speed events contested during the Tokyo Olympics. "If you make the sport all for yourself, it will always be nice," Reindert says of designing these event, "but you have to make it nice for the other people to watch too."

"Indoor sports can bring safety to it all," is another one of the gems in Reindert's discourse. This particular consideration has allowed for climbing to break into the exclusive circle of scholastic sports in many countries.

Patrice de Girardin of the French Parachuting Federation reports on the campaign to have Indoor Skydiving included in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, with the support of FAI.

Joachim Gossow, the CEO of the International World Games Association, adds his insights into multi-sport games and the way that sports are presented there.

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