Slalom windsurfing: the "no-rules" rule is excitingly dangerous

August 17, 2015 | Windsurfing
Slalom windsurfing: crashes are part of the game | Photo: Carter/PWA

Can you imagine Formula 1 without rules? Would it be possible? The truth is that the fastest windsurfers on the planet compete on the PWA Slalom World Tour without any guidelines. Let's find out what happens under the "no-rules" law.

At world cup level, professional Slalom windsurfing is relatively straightforward. There are 64 athletes competing in eight heats of eight men each. The fastest four advance into the next round, and so on, until we reach an eight-man final.

You know you've got to be fast, confident and strong. And crashes happen all the time. In the past, sailors used to win and lose a lot of races in the protest room. So, in 2009, the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) decided to make a drastic movement.

"We always had the same people doing the protests, and they wanted to gain advantage with legal arguments, instead of winning by individual skills and good equipment," explains Franck Roguet, judge at PWA World Tour.

"'No rules' implies a different attitude on the course, and you have to have big balls and go for it. Otherwise you'll never make it to the final. If there's a big crash, there's nothing we can do. It's part of the racing. Sometimes it's a bit unfair, but that's the way it goes".

Pro windsurfer Maciek Rutkowski decided to make a small documentary in which the "no-rule" rule is carefully dissected. In the end, only dangerous sailing will be penalized, but payback time will be inevitable. Sooner or later, it will come to you. No rules, great botch.

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