Wingfoil: Welcome to the future

Published on October 18th, 2022

The problem with selecting events and equipment for the Olympic Games is that if you focus too hard on emerging design developments, the odds are good that in the time between confirming the sailing program and the competition, those design developments would have further emerged.

When the Nacra 17 was designed for the new Mixed Multihull event being introduced at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the boat was flawed in so many ways. It was modified for Tokyo 2020, and further changed for Paris 2024. Along the way it has sent more than a few sailors to the hospital.

There was also to be a kiting event at Rio 2016, but a late revision in the program saved another catastrophe. The equipment was not ready, and as much as the genre delivered the edgy excitement sought by the International Olympic Committee, the cake needed baking.

Fast forward to now, the Men’s and Women’s Kiteboard event will finally be revealed at Paris 2024, but there is a chance that something else has emerged further… wingfoiling.

Using the foiling board, the hand-held kite is the latest development in board sports. No more kite strings, no more kite tangles, no more massive beach needed for launching. Rather than a kite flying far overhead, the camera captures the rider wrestling with their rig.

World Sailing, charged with selecting the Sailing Program for the Olympics, recognizes they have a problem, and have left the door open for Wingfoil to replace Kitefoil at Los Angeles 2028.

As a step toward that possibility, World Sailing has changed the Sailing Program for the 2023 World Beach Games, swapping kiteboarding on the program with wingfoiling. To be held in Bali, it was decided the venue and weather conditions required the change in order to ensure a successful competition.

Sailing is one of 14 sports at the 2023 World Beach Games, and Wingfoil will be the only event for the sport. Welcome to the future!

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