Paris 2024: Endorsing foiling windsurfer

Published on October 9th, 2019

Windsurfing has continuously been an event in the Olympic Sailing Program since Los Angeles 1984, but changes in equipment has seen the use of the Windglider, Division ll, Lechner, Mistral, and RS:X, with the later introduced for the Beijing 2008.

The RS:X will again be the equipment for the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfing event for Tokyo 2020, but a recommendation from the Paris 2024 Windsurfer Evaluation Working Party is calling for change again.

It was the decision at the World Sailing Mid-Year Meeting in May 2019 to review alternatives to the RS:X for Paris 2024, which led to the gathering of 20 internationally renowned windsurfers to participate in the sea trials of five options, held September 29-October 3, on Lake Garda, Italy.

Following comprehensive on-water testing and evaluation against the approved criteria, the Working Party answered the “to foil or not to foil” debate by recommending the selection of the Starboard iFoil as the equipment for the windsurfer events in 2024.

While this recommendation does not necessarily mean that Tokyo 2020 will be the last hurrah for the RS:X, it does not bode well for its future. In a preliminary report, which will be formalized and submitted to the World Sailing’s Equipment Committee ahead of the 2019 Annual Conference in Bermuda, it is stated:

The Working Party is of the view that the iFoil best meets the criteria and will showcase windsurfing to its full potential in the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Working Party evaluated 2 non-foiling equipment options, the RS:X and the Glide, and 3 foiling options. The foiling options ranged from the one-design iFoil (which includes the option to replace the foil with a fin), to a one- design board with registered series production rig and foil from Windfoil 1, and the full registered series production proposal of Formula Foil Limited.

The Working Party considered that suitable foiling equipment options were presented, and that foiling windsurfing offered the most suitable equipment and event option for 2024.

The Working Party is of the view that the foiling equipment and the windsurfing community is ready now for selection of foiling equipment for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Working Party was satisfied that the iFoil offered:
• An affordable package option for all Member Nations.
• Competition in different formats from 5 knots to 35 knots.
• Easy transport to competitions and training venues.
• Proven quality products and supply chain management.
• Support for emerging nations.
• Equipment that will reward skill and tactical knowledge.
• Youth appeal and complement to the existing pathways.
• Supports a unique signature event that will attract media coverage with the possibility of dynamic formats and short competition timelines.
• Impressive sustainability program in place today and a future commitment to our oceans.

To review the complete Working Party recommendation, click here.

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