Skip to main content

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:
  • Updated:
    Original:

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

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more

bermuda

How to Spectate on the Newport Bermuda

The biannual Newport Bermuda Race starts on Friday with the first warning signal at 1 pm. Whether you’re tracking a loved one’s progress or just spectating an event that draws pros and weekend warriors alike, there are plenty of ways to stay up to watch. The starting line will ...read more

03-Hyeres-220429_SOF2022_SAILINGENERGY_1933_3184-copy

US Sailing Strikes Gold in Hyères

After being skunked or nearly skunked at multiple Olympiads, could the US Sailing Team (USST) now under the direction of Olympic veteran Paul Cayard, be finally turning it around? If its performance at the 53rd French Olympic Week regatta in Hyères, France, where the team posted ...read more

P1480042

New York City’s Newest Fleet

120 children enrolled in Brooklyn Boatworks’ STEM and life skills-focused program launched their hand-built optimist prams on June 14 from Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The launch is the culmination of years of student work, with boats in process before the pandemic caused the ...read more

AdobeStock_197518370

Charter: Off the Beaten Path

So, you like to charter in the Caribbean with its warm waters, swaying palm trees, steady trade winds and strong rum drinks. What’s not to love? It can be easy, though, to get stuck in a rut when chartering year after year in the same place. Sure, the British Virgin Islands are ...read more

08-211020_11HR_MALAMAOFFSHORE_AMO_01212

A Big Week for 11th Hour Racing Team

Earlier this week, 11th Hour Racing Team’s new IMOCA 60 Mālama finally arrived at an American dock for the first time, signifying the start of some exciting summer programming for America’s ocean racing home team. On Monday, the team will kick off a week full of oceanic ...read more