As windsurfing celebrates its 50th anniversary since the birth of the first patented Windsurfer design, the sport continues to lead the way with regards to both participation, adrenalin and athleticism at all levels of the sport as it evolves to suit new formats and demands.
From its humble beginnings as a popular beach sport, windsurfing has grown and developed to cover a wide range of both disciplines and equipment. This means that windsurfing is able to offer a true lifetime of sailing in the sport from a dedicated pathway for racing from 8 years old through to equipment and formats that keep people active and sailing until late on in life.
Through all of this, the Techno and RS:X Class associations have been pivotal in leading in promoting the sport of sailing around the world as a fun and energetic activity. With such accessible entry level in the Techno Class, events have reached the dizzy heights of over 300 competitors at class World Championships. From there, sailors with Olympic ambitions are passed onto the RS:X class where their skills are refined and their fitness is honed.
The RS:X Class has been World Sailings Olympic windsurfing class since 2005 and has appeared in the 2008, 2012, 2016 Olympic games and will make its fourth appearance in Tokyo in 2020. Specifically designed for, and approved by World Sailing, the RS:X is able to be raced in all conditions and its versatility has seen it adapt to new formats as the sport itself has evolved. Its appeal is growing in countries around the world as the equipment is universally available and is shipping friendly.
Life after Olympic sailing continues as some of the top Olympians turning their hands to some of the exciting new developments. Sailors such as three time Olympic medallist Nick Dempsey and Germanys Toni Wilhelm continue to compete on foiling windsurfers where sailors are able to fly around the course in winds from as low as 6 knots.
The future of windsurfing has never been stronger!
Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class
Photo: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail
Video: ICARUS Sports