- 13 July 2012 | Windsurfing
Neil Pryde believes that the replacement of windsurfing for kiteboarding in the Olympic Games was "a politically engineered decision".
The man who boosted windsurfing into the Olympic movement says the future of the entire sailing classes is in danger, if ISAF doesn't change the direction of the winds.
"Windsurfing offers a very inexpensive opportunity for sailors who come out of the Optimist to enter an exciting area of sailing, which is still one person and one boat", Pryde told Go Yachting.
Neil Pryde has been providing windsurfing equipment for the Olympics since Barcelona 1992, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. The brand has provided free equipment for the Olympic Games held in China, as well as to the youth world championships.
"The Olympic commitment is really a labour of love, more than a real business, to be very frank". With one foot in each camp - Neil Pryde also owns leading kiteboard brand Cabrinha - the founder of the wind sports company is not worried.
"Windsurfing was sacrificed to maintain the traditional yachting classes in the Olympics. That is not a very good way to make important decisions, particularly when windsurfing has done so much to bring developing countries into international yachting".
"I am not against kitesurfing - it is my most important business - but I don't think it yet belongs in the Olympics. It's premature".
"It's a tragic decision for developing countries that have started international sailing through windsurfing. China, the biggest Olympic country, came to sailing through windsurfing and this is a slap in the face".
"It was a politically engineered decision". Neil Pryde believes sailing may be out of the Olympic Games, if the future leaders of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) come from continents like Africa and Asia, with different views and ideas.