The RS:X – The Present and Future of the Windsurfing and RS:X Class in the Olympic Games

Dear Members and Friends,

In relation to the decision of World Sailing (WS), regarding the selection process for Events and Equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games[1] and “rumors” of possible scenarios with new Events and Equipment as appeared on some specialist sport media, the RS:X Class Executive takes this opportunity to renew the wishes for a fantastic new year in 2018, to our members and friends, and to clarify the ongoing discussion as follows:
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A)   OLYMPIC WINDSURFING AND RS:X

  1. The RS:X Class is committed to the next Olympic games in Japan in August 2020 and working hard for the best outcome for sailing at the Games.
  2. The RS:X Class was selected by World Sailing in 2005, as the Equipment to be used as the Olympic Windsurfer and was specifically designed for this purpose. The selection process was transparent and open to competition.
  3. The RS:X has supported World Sailing through three different Olympic Games as well as showcasing its versatility by providing a pathway for Youth sailors at over 10 different Youth World Championships.
  4. We are now busy with the preparation of the regattas for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. In September 2017, the Olympic venue was tested during the RS:X Worlds and had great participation and a spectacular regatta.
  5. The priority of the Class for the next triennium is to show the importance of Windsurfing as sailing discipline and to prove, once again, the capacity and honor to have the Olympic Status, in line with the spirit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

B)   EVOLUTION

  1. The RS:X Class is aware that the sport of sailing and in particular our Windsurfing discipline, is constantly evolving, as per ongoing discussion with WS and IOC, and that there are new technologies and elements of sailing that provide a broader technical challenge as well as offering a more spectacular showcase.
  2. The RS:X Class, whilst enjoying its development, is prepared to continue to lead the Olympic Classes forward towards 2024.
  3. In order to achieve this, the RS:X Class is looking to merge with the RS:X Convertible Class to bring foiling windsurfing under its wing, in order to test this new technology, as in other sailing events (America’s Cup, catamarans, and others).
  4. This will allow dual events with both conventional windsurfing and foiling windsurfing events running side by side, which will deliver exceptional footage and images as well as providing sailors with opportunities to learn new skills. Already taking place in Miami (end of January 2018) this will be implemented, as test events only, for consideration by all.

C)   WINDSURFING AND OLYMPIC STATUS

  1. Windsurfing is one of the “entry doors” to Sailing for young athletes. Many of them are female athletes, with a correct implementation of the gender equality principle as per IOC and WS.
  2. Windsurfing had its 50 year anniversary as a Sailing discipline. It is fun, fast, spectacular, and easy to manage with regard to logistics and cost, compared to similar sports.
  3. Windsurfing has a global diffusion and new emerging nations are participating in our events, in view of Japan 2020, with great investment in terms of training male and female sailors, equipment and organization by the National Sailing Federations.
  4. The RS:X Class will look to take these steps in order to grow the sport of sailing. Currently the RS:X is the second most diverse Olympic Class behind the Laser with more than 70 different nations actively competing. By supplementing a foiling option into the RS:X Class, it will mean less cost to transition from one piece of equipment to another which will provide stability for the smaller nations looking to compete.
  5. The RS:X Class would also like to acknowledge the support of the Windsurfing World, composed by many amateurs sailors, other classes, many represented by International Windsurfing Association (IWA) and in particular the Techno Class Association, providing a good example of the “entry door” to sailing consideration. With over 400 male and female athletes, and boards competing at their World Championships, in the last few years, this class provides an excellent first step on every junior sailor’s pathway to Olympic windsurfing.
  6. The skills that Windsurfing teaches its sailors, both the physical aspects of windsurfing as well as the tactical elements of sailing in general, breed strong and independent sailors who flourish further as they reach the RS:X at youth events.

FINAL

  1. Finally, the RS:X Class acknowledges that with WS is looking to showcase the breadth of the sport and that there will be a demand for Kiteboarding to be included as an Olympic discipline for 2024.
  2. The RS:X Class agrees  and supports the principle that the whole sport of sailing should be showcased, similar to both windsurfing and kiteboarding living alongside each other at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games where both sports will be looking to support World Sailing in delivering a fantastic event with the perfect backdrop of Buenos Aires.
  3. The RS:X will reiterate the arguments and points already made in November 2012 at the WS AGM in Dublin (Ireland) where WS members had confirmed the Olympic Status of Windsurfing and the selected class.
  4. The Class will actively participate in the above process for Events and Equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as outlined by WS.

We are certain that through a transparent and democratic procedure, with dialogue and confrontation, among competent bodies and experts of the sport of Sailing we will allow WS to produce the correct decision according to the IOC recommendation, the Olympic Spirit, and in the interest of the WS MNAs and its athletes.

Carlo Dalla Vedova
President
The International RS:X Class Association

 

[1] December 13, 2017 www.sailing.org
Photo: Sailing Energy

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