Windsurfing is back to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

November 9, 2012 | Windsurfing
JP Tobin: RS:X back in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The Annual General Meeting of the International Sailing Federation approved the decision to keep windsurfing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with 51.3% of the votes, reverting the initial option for kiteboarding.

In one day, the hopes of kiteboarders changed dramatically, as it was feared in the International Kiteboarding Association headquarters. On the 9th November, proposals to re-open the debate did not receive the required 75% of votes from ISAF Council.

The Events and Equipment confirmed the May 2012 decision and Formula Kite would open the way to the "box rule".

Twenty four hours later, as reported by, things could change and they did. In the morning of the 10th November, kiteboarding was in the Olympic Games. Now, it no longer is. Windsurfing is back to the future, en route to Brazilian waters.

This means that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games set for Brazil will have Men's RS:X and Women's RS:X competitions, only. Tension rose during the entire week.

Both the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and International Windsurfing Association (IWA) did not answer any questions before the ISAF decision proving that anxiety took control of the sports' governing bodies.

During the entire year of 2012, it was clear that IKA and IWA could not communicate efficiently with each other. Cooperative actions were never seen and both wind sports wanted radical changes or conservative approaches, depending on the side.

A few hours before the final decisions, the official IKA page on Facebook was pouring sincere feelings. "First objective for us is not to reopen the debate. If this would happen, then there are various options on the table", IKA wrote.

Windsurfing has been part of the Summer Olympics since 1984 for Men and 1992 for Women. The RS:X class by NeilPryde was introduced in the Olympic movement in Beijing 2008, with the One Design board concept.

Dutch windsurfer Stephan van den Berg was the first windsurfer to win a gold medal in the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. At that time, the class was named "Windglider". Scott Steele (USA) took silver and Bruce Kendall (NZL) took bronze.

Kiteboarders have been working for years to get their sport at the Olympic venues. With the support of media-hyped VIP and even windsurfers, kiteboarding grew and conquered ISAF officials.

As the Olympic drama comes to a close, windsurfers, kiteboarders and ISAF do not leave the process with an immaculate image. Will time heal all the wounds?

The sailing events for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games are:

Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Men's One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women's One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men's One Person Dinghy (heavy) – Finn
Men's Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women's Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men's Skiff – 49er
Women's Skiff – 49er FX
Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17