Dorian van Rijsselberghe: he wants foil windsurfing in the Olympic Games | Photo: RS:X

In an unexpected turn of events, the World Sailing Council rejected the Board of Directors' recommendation to select RS:X as the official windsurfing class for Paris 2024.

Last week, the Board made the recommendation to retain the RS:X as the equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The entity stated that the equipment proposed by NeilPryde fitted the equipment criteria set by the Council.

However, on May 19, and at mid-year meeting held in London, 23 members of the Council rejected the proposal, and only 19 voted favorably.

As a result, the Board of Directors will now have to make a new recommendation to the Council.

Dorian van Rijsselberghe, who won gold medals at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, was happy with the Council's decision.

The Dutch windsurfer supports the inclusion of foil windsurfing in the Olympics and believes that World Sailing needs to hold sea trials before making the final decision.

Dorian van Rijsselberghe: A Public Voice Against RS:X

In an open letter to World Sailing, Van Rijsselberghe criticizes the lack of specialist windsurfing experts in the working party that is evaluating the bids.

The Olympic gold medalist also condemns the fact that RS:X equipment is only manufactured by NeilPryde, which, in his opinion, allows for the existence of a monopoly.

Foiling: NeilPryde also produces foiling equipment | Photo: NeilPryde

But there's more.

"People leave the class because it is too expensive for what it is, not durable enough and far too physically demanding - heavy both on and off the water," notes Van Rijsselberghe.

"Rhe only reason that the youth numbers are actually doing as well as they are is thanks to the saving grace of the BIC Techno - a fun, affordable entry into elite racing which attracts more than 450 competitors to its World Championships."

Dorian van Rijsselberghe states that the "jump from elite youth level to elite senior level (...) takes six to eight years."

Foiling is the Future

On the opposite side of the spectrum, foiling fleets have been growing fast.

"We're always asking: how can we can more engagement? Who can we get more interest in our sport? The answers are clear. Selecting the right classes."

Van Rijsselberghe concludes his open letter urging World Sailing to "do the right thing, and think of the future, and think of the children."

Neither the RS:X class or NeilPryde have yet commented on the decision to drop RS:X from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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