SQUAMISH (NEWS1130) – For some, training is already underway for the next Olympics. Kiteboarders from across the country are gathered in Squamish this weekend, vying to represent Canada in Rio in four years time.

The Canadian Kiteboarding National Championships has attracted 35 competitors. The competition is the first in a series of meets to establish who will represent Canada in 2016.

Kiteboarding will be making its Olympic debut at the Rio Games.

Mark Leng, Race Director with the Squamish Windsports Society, is cautiously optimistic about our prospects in 2016.

“We’ve got a fairly deep fleet of Canadian racers that have been racing out of Squamish for over five years now. When Canadians go to international events, they commonly place in the top 15,” Leng points out.

The sport requires athletes, who ride boards while manoeuvring giant kites, to race each other on a water course. The kiteboarders are known for their stamina and ability to strategize.

“There is an endurance element to it, but there is also an awful lot of thinking that goes on around how you ensure you stay between the finish line and the person behind you. So there is some tactical strategy to it,” Leng explains.

Kiteboarding has really taken off in Squamish thanks to the strong winds through Howe Sound.