The board of World Sailing has recently announced their recommendation to retain the RS:X class as the Olympic platform for the 2024 Olympic games. This is, of course, a huge disappointment for many, as windfoiling seemed like a normal evolution of the windsurfing regatta class.
Dorian van Rijsselberghe (Olympic Gold Medalist) is acting as a spokesperson for the windsurfing community and has written a letter to the World Sailing Council, encouraging them to have a second look at this evaluation and take into account the views of the windsurfing/windfoiling community.
The council should give their answer in the coming days. An exciting time for the future of windsurfing, as the Olympics would be a great arena to recruit new people into the windfoiling sport.
If on the contrary the RS:X class would be retained, this may be the last nail on the windsurfing coffin…
Picture credit: Livesaildie.com
Some more background information:
The board of World Sailing was appointed last year to re-evaluate the windsurfing platform for the 2024 Olympics in Paris due to the recent evolution of foil windsurfing. While most people were expecting windsurf foiling to become the major change in the future Olympic games, the board surprised everybody by choosing to retain the RS:X class.
This is fortunately only a recommendation and not the final decision, which will be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in November 2019. IOC wants the Olympics to be youthful, entertaining and also attract people outside of our sport. IOC would probably rather go the windfoiling route for those reasons. However, World Sailing is a trustworthy source for IOC and their recommendation will for sure have a strong weight in the final decision.
Everything about the RS:X class is outdated, and many seniors RS:X riders have already quitted Olympic sailing and moved to windfoiling which is booming. World sailing is obviously not aware of how windfoiling is, for the first time, gathering PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) riders and RS:X competitors together on a common platform (as currently seen during the PWA event in Japan with many RS:X riders participating in the foiling competition).
We really hope that the council will reconsider the board’s decision, and give windfoiling a fair chance.
Here are some extracts from Dorian’s letter to World sailing’s council (you can also read the full letter here):
• “…in up to 12 /13 knots, the RS:X remains the worst performing Olympic windsurfing class of all time. The Windglider (up to 10 knots), the Lechner, and the Mistral One Design would all still outperform an RS:X today in said conditions.”
• «In April 2018, multiple RS:X Olympic medalist Nick Dempsey together with myself and Antonio Cozzolino, produced a video showcasing foil windsurfing. In the first week, that video was seen by 20.000 people. Between Facebook and Youtube, the video amassed a whopping 80.000 views.
That in itself tells the whole story. As a sport we are always asking: how can we get more engagement? Who can we get more interest in our sport?
The answers are clear. Selecting the right classes. “
• “We as a sport have a unique opportunity to redefine our direction, to unite, to inspire, to engage and excite. These opportunities are rare and need to be seized. For once, perhaps the first time in history, the Olympic windsurfing class can be at the cutting edge of the sport, not 4 years, 8 years or in this case 20 years behind it.
Do the right thing.
Think of the future.
Think of the children.”
POST UPDATE! (May 19th 2019)
we are so happy to announce that the decision taken by World Sailing's board has not been accepted by World Sailing's council and that new equipment will be selected through sea trials.
This gives a new chance for foiling to be the Olympic class.
Very good news indeed! Windsurfing is not dead !