Olympic Windsurfing: Not Dead Yet?

Don’t write off Olympic windsurfing just yet. A firestorm of opposition to the International Sailing Federation’s decision to dump the event in favor of kiteboarding at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro makes it highly likely that there will be another vote.
Author:
Publish date:
Windsurfing_Olympics

Don’t write off Olympic windsurfing just yet. A firestorm of opposition to the International Sailing Federation’s decision to dump the event in favor of kiteboarding at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro makes it highly likely that there will be another vote at ISAF’s next meeting in November.

Procedural details remained murky at press time. But US Windsurfing president Karen Marriott says she’ll press US Sailing’s delegates to vote to overturn ISAF’s original decision—which would require a 75 percent majority vote. 

 According to Marriott, “There is a strong international effort to keep windsurfing in the Olympics, so at this point I’d say the decision is far from final.” 

Since the ISAF council voted 19-17 in favor of the change last May, more than 26,000 people have signed an online petition opposing it, and Spain’s ISAF delegate has said he accidently voted against—instead of for—windsurfing as he’d intended. It’s an odd battle, for there is substantial crossover between the two sports, with many sailors, like Farrah Hall, who represented the United States in the RS:X windsurfing class at the 2012 Olympic regatta, doing both. 

“Most Olympic windsurfers, including me, would like to welcome kites into the Olympics, but not at the expense of our own sport,” Hall says. A much better approach, she says, would be to “introduce kiting before the 2016 [quadrennial], allow it to become organized globally and add it to the 2020 roster of Olympic events.”

Meanwhile, US Sailing is standing firm. Olympic Sailing Committee chairman Dean Brenner (a former Soling sailor who saw his own class lose its Olympic status in 2000) says kiteboarding deserves a shot at the Olympics because it is an “exciting and rapidly growing” type of sailing that has the potential to bring a number of new countries to the sport of Olympic sailing. 

“The decisions on Olympic events and equipment are never easy,” Brenner said. “But I stand behind ISAF’s decision 100 percent. Kiteboarding will be good for the sport of sailing, in the USA and worldwide.”

Photo courtesy of Perth 2011/Ocean Images

Related

MHS-GMR_3549

New Multihulls 2018

Farrier F-22 New Zealander Ian Farrier ushered in a new genre of sailing with his folding-ama trailerable trimarans, the best-known of which are the Corsair designs. Farrier’s last project before he passed away last year was this sweet little tri. Available in three versions, ...read more

shutterstock_373701682

Cruising: Island Comeback

The U.S. Virgins Islands have surged back from the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes, with new infrastructure plans that will benefit charterers and cruisers alike. After hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through the Leeward Islands in September 2017, it was impossible to ...read more

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Thanks a bunch  This scene is very calm and seamanlike. No frantic rope throwing or shouting. As he passes the line to the gent on the dock, the crew on the boat says, quietly and clearly, “Would you ...read more

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more