RS:X Convertible: the future of Olympic windsurfing

The founder of the Pryde Group believes windsurfing should be one of the sailing disciplines competing at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Neil Pryde retired from the company he founded in the 1970s, but when it comes to planning the future of Olympic sailing, he is always an active thinker.

In the past 40 years, Pryde was deeply involved in the design and manufacture of sailboarding equipment, even though he never practiced it. Interestingly, he competed as an Olympic sailor on the Flying Dutchman class, at the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico.

In a time when World Sailing is reviewing the Olympic events for Paris 2024, Neil Pryde says windsurfing has ticked all the requirements, especially those involving TV coverage, inclusiveness, geographic coverage, gender balance, and the athletic and tactical side of the sailing disciplines.

"The RS:X Class has been one of the most watched classes in all three Olympics it has participated. It is also the most affordable Olympic event. Windsurfing is actively enjoyed on all continents, and awarded medals female competitors in 1992. RS:X races are also very close," notes Pryde.

The honorary life member of the RS:X windsurfing class is well aware of the foil revolution taking over sailing and believes the new RS:X Convertible class is the perfect sailboarding answer to light, moderate and high wind conditions.

In a letter sent to the RS:X Class, Neil Pryde also addresses the World Sailing concerns regarding the violation of anti-trust laws, especially in cases where a single manufacturer dominates a One Design market.

"The sales volume for the RS:X in a regular year is no more than about 300 units. And of this, around 60 units are supplied free of charge to the Youth Worlds and in every Olympic Year, and a further 80 kits are supplied free," adds Pryde.

If the sport of windsurfing makes it to the Paris 2024, it will celebrate its 40th anniversary as an Olympic sport. Neil Pryde also noted that "kitesurfing is a potential competitor for Olympic status."

Explore the history of windsurfing in the Olympic Games.

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