The Gamification of Boardsports

The Gamification of Boardsports

Original article published 27 May, 2021

​​[5 minute read]


Wikipedia describes boardsports as follows...

"Boardsports are sports that are played with some sort of board as the primary equipment. These sports take place on a variety of terrain, from paved flat-ground and snow-covered hills to water and air. Most boardsports are considered action sports or extreme sports, and thus often appeal to youth."

Some seasoned, salty longboarders might take offence at that last bit, but it's safe to say surfing, as with most boardsports, is a lot of fun and brings people together. These factors are deeply rooted in the ethos of our featured interviewee's tech startup that began with kitesurfing but aims to cast a wider net of boardsports, including surfing.

We interviewed Gaby Hernandez, based in Valencia, Spain, the co-founder and COO/CMO of sportech startup KANARA Sportech, the creators of KANARA Kitesurfing.


What is KANARA and how does it work?

KANARA is a rider app that analyses and gamifies your water sports sessions. Currently available for Android and iOS, our app syncs with the rider’s preferred sports tracker (currently Garmin and Suunto), analysing performance and enabling you to keep track of your progress. Riders earn more points the more they ride. Use your points to take part in customisable, player-versus-player style challenges with other riders or redeem them for discounts and rewards connected to the platform.

When we founded KANARA, we wanted to make a platform that was truly for the community and we wanted to reward riders for practicing their passion. Gamification enables us to do this by creating new ways to encourage, motivate and inspire riders and members of the community.

Whilst we are an ambitious sport-tech startup; we take our inspiration and commitment to fostering a greater sense of community, fun and promote the preservation of our 'playgrounds'.


Do you have any intentions to get into other water sports (like surfing)?

Heck yeah. We started with kitesurfing as a personal passion, particularly as Ale [co-founder] is a kiter. We have worked with user feedback from amateur and pro riders to refine the app and develop the new metrics, features and filters that we will integrate into the platform over the next couple of months.

We have begun initial research and development and encourage the surf community to get in touch if they want to be involved [see further below for contact details]. The app is currently available for use in kitesurf, windsurf, wing foil, SUP and similar water sports. These are all surf-related sports, but riders rely on different metrics to track their practice. We want to create the best experience suitable for each rider and their elected sport and style with the best data.


KANARA doesn’t just reward riders with points and prizes, but also supports community and NFP groups. Will this theme continue with your future platform developments?

​Yes. Kitesurfing and all water sports are closely linked to the environment and the local communities that live where they are practiced. When we created KANARA we chose sportsmanship and stewardship as our pillars.

From day one we anticipated the platform being used to promote and support positive action and initiatives within the water sports community. Through the app, users can redeem the points they earned riding, to obtain lifestyle products and services from our partners. When redeemed, users don’t just get the benefit of a discount, but also know that a minimum of 3% of their purchase is being reserved for sustainable initiatives. We also use our platform to share content that is not just rider and sport related, but also to highlight positive action within the community.

We work with our community and partners to create one-of-kind, immersive real-world event and competition experiences, promote products and services connected to the industry, and raise awareness about individuals and organisations doing good deeds in sports and for sustainability. Get in touch with us at to learn more about how we can help.


What have you seen recently that excites you, or inspires you, with regards to tech and innovation?

That’s a tough question. I think what is most exciting is the creativity involved. In developing our platform, we have taken inspiration and experience from very different sources including (but not limited to) sailors, data science, ecology and video games.


Do you have a Call to Action for anyone reading this?

Ideally, we want to maximise organic reach and engagement with the board sports and nautical sports community with the view of getting more users, feedback, and other likeminded followers. Download the app* and try it out; give us feedback or get in touch to see how you can get involved to build the ultimate rider platform. Check out the KANARA Community Challenge and see if you'd like to get involved.

*Download the app via Apple iTunes or Google Play.


Gracias Gaby, buena suerte for KANARA and its future - which we're sure will be awesome.

Further Reading:

KANARA (Media Article #1)

KANARA ABC (Media Article #2)

Background and Inspiration

Rider Feedback (All members of the water sports community or related can input here)

KANARA Community Challenge

KANARA Sport (Gateway into other water sports)

Social Media + Links:

Instagram / Facebook / Youtube / LinkedIn

Advertising + Collaborators Who May Be Interested:

KANARA works with brands, organisations and individuals to promote products, services and initiatives that would be of interest to the water sports community. Get in touch to learn more.​

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