The Windsurfer wants to replace RS:X in the Olympic Games

February 20, 2019 | Windsurfing
Windsurfer Class: sailing windy waters since 1973 | Photo: Windsurfer Class

The International Windsurfer Class Association (IWCA) has announced a candidacy for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Windsurfer wants to replace RS:X as the official Olympic windsurfing class and has already formally presented the project to World Sailing.

But let's go back to the roots of sailboarding in the Olympic movement.

Windsurfing was appointed an Olympic class in 1981. At the time, the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU), the predecessor of World Sailing, had two sailboards to choose from: the original Windsurfer One Design or the Windglider.

The Windsurfer was manufactured in several continents under the license of Hoyle Schweitzer. The Windglider was developed and produced by Fred Ostermann, in Germany only.

Less than one year before Los Angeles 1984, the sailing and Olympic authorities announced that they were picking the Windglider for the Summer Olympics.

The choice was based on the fact that the Windsurfer was made from polyethylene and its form could change by exposing it to the sun.

Windsurfer Class: simple, spectacular and inexpensive | Photo: Windsurfer Class

The decision was highly controversial, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was forced to include the Windsurfer as a demonstration sport and ended up running slalom, freestyle and long distance competitions.

With its colorful 5.7 square meter sail and spectator-friendly disciplines, the Windsurfer was also an opportunity to revamp the image of the Olympic sailing event.

The Windsurfer's Time Is Now

Today, the Windsurfer maintains its original shape, form and overall characteristics.

With a new name - Windsurfer LT (Light) - the board has been slightly redesigned and stiffened and is no longer made from polyethylene.

The IWCA believes that the versatility of the Windsurfer fits perfectly in the recent equipment recommendations announced by World Sailing.

"The characteristics of the longer one design boards have always been identified among those closest to the needs of the Olympic sailing classes," notes the IWCA.

So, the IWCA considers the time is now.

The Windsurfer could very well be the ideal equipment for course racing, slalom, freestyle and even marathon sailboarding competitions in the next generation of Olympic Games.

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