The ISAF Council voted on May 5, 2012 to replace windsurfing with kiteboard racing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
US Sailing’s support for kiteboarding played an important role in the narrow 19-17 decision at ISAF in favor of kiteboarding. We believe that this decision was misguided, and respectfully appeal to US Sailing to examine the facts and reconsider its position. If a formal request can be assembled and submitted by August 1, 2012, the ISAF Council will revisit the issue at its Annual Meeting in Dún Laoghaire in November 2012.
Windsurfing is a unique discipline of sailing that is both physically and tactically demanding. It has a storied history at the Olympics and it should remain part of the sport of sailing on the biggest stage in the world. Olympic class windsurfers are some of the fittest athletes at the games. Like the laser class, the Olympic windsurfing class attracts participation from countries all over the world, including many emerging nations. It abides by one-design principles. It’s affordable, accessible, and safe to do at almost any wind speed. It attracts youth sailors everywhere and is colorful and exciting to watch.
The decision to replace windsurfing with kiteboard racing failed to properly evaluate the weaknesses of the new discipline of kiteboard racing at this point in its development. There are key areas of concern. Ever since the decision was made at ISAF’s Mid-Year meeting in Italy a few weeks ago, we’ve seen massive petitions and heated exchanges in the press and on online forums. The emotion among the windsurfing community is understandable, and the fact that its participants are passionate is very healthy for the sport. But the purpose of this website is to stay away from emotional arguments, stick to the facts and provide an objective analysis.
Our position is aligned with the recommendations of the Events Committee at ISAF: kiteboard racing is a welcome addition to the ISAF World Cup, because the World Cup can provide a learning platform for everyone. Event logistics, equipment, safety guidelines, racing formats can be tested out, while long-term youth development programs can be set up to accompany young athletes on the path to Olympic glory without the rush and dangerous compromises associated with trying to meet the time-table of the Rio Olympics. ISAF can then use those developments to decide in 2014 whether to include the discipline at the 2020 Olympic Sailing competition. But in the decision between windsurfing and kiteboard racing for the Rio Olympics in 2016, the clear choice is windsurfing.
We invite you to click on the pages and posts on this website to learn more about this, and are looking forward to reviewing the facts with you. Your friends at US Windsurfing.