In recent months, much has been said and written about windsurfing for the Tokyo Olympics after 2020. Does windsurfing remain Olympic? Will wind foils replace the RS:X? We found a document: “Invitation to tender re-evaluation of windsurfing equipment” that provides more clarity on Olympic windsurfing. This document is an “invitation” to all manufacturers to come up with proposals for the new Olympic windsurfing format. It’s a tough and legal document, but read below our interpretation of the document and the things that stand out to us anyway.
Windsurfing remains Olympic after 2020!
To start with the most good news. In any case, it has been decided that windsurfing will remain an Olympic Sport after 2020. For both men and women. Good news for Dorian, Kiran, Lilian and all the other athletes with Olympic ambitions!
Material format is completely open
In the communication from World Sailing, the quote “The RS: X will be the equipment for the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer events” suggests that the current material remains unchanged. However, in the same letter, the footnote: “RS:X is subject to separate equipment re-evaluation” makes it clear that the World Sailing organization sees the RS:X as a class and not as a specific board and/or rigging. In other words, after 2020 we will continue to race in a class called RS:X, but on what material, it remains to be determined. So there’s still a chance that the wind-making will be 🙂
The Dutch for wind foiling
Those who follow our Dutch top players know that they are pro wind foils. That is also the official statement of the Netherlands -> Let’s go wind foiling. Watch the cool promo video below;
Race format also under re-evaluation
The “Invition to tender” also states that the Olympic format to be sailing is still open. In other words, the material being developed must be suitable for both long-distance, slalom and traditional up and downwind track. During the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018, slalom was already experimented with as a racing format.
The fact that the racing format for the games is not yet known after 2020 is of course a big challenge for the manufacturers. They have to come up with a concept that is well performed in all disciplines! A slalom board clearly compares on an upwind course against, for example, a wind foil and visa versa. It would be better to determine the race format first and then get started with the material. Good so be it.
Principles of new windsurfing material
The tender letter states a number of principles that the material to be developed must meet. In the Equipment Criterea document you can find all the requirements. Below are some demands that stand out to us;
- The material should be accessible and attractive to young athletes with a clear path to the Olympic stage (this is what we interpret as a broad international competition class and with clear flow to the Olympics). Neil Pryde has already clearly taken a shot in front of the RS Convertible Class. This is a class where with one set there can be both windfoiled and slalomed above 25 knots of wind.
- The material must be suitable for both men (65 kg to 85 kg) and women (55 kg to 70 kg) with minimal variation in rigging.
- The new set should not become more expensive than the current RS:X. In our opinion, there is some space there. A complete RS:X set costs at least € 5,500 for the ladies. For gentlemen, this is even more. If you buy a complete set of RS One Convertible (including foil and fin) you will be ready for € 4,350. More than € 1,000 euros less than an RS:X set.
- The material must be suitable for use in a wide range (wind and waves). An lower and upper limit is not mentioned. For the wind foil concept, the challenge remains what to do until grab it bit 6 knots wind. We don’t see it happen that in competition under 6 knots a whole race can be flown!
- The material should not get heavier than it is now. The current RS:X board weighs 15.5 kg so that too is not difficult to achieve
- It is preferred to maintain the current sailing sizes (8.5 m2 for women and 9.5 m2 for men)
The first point in particular is interesting. Now there is hardly anyone in the Netherlands who steps on an Olympic shelf for pleasure. If there is an attractive format, this can give the Dutch (competition) windsurfing a big boost. A choice for wind foiling as an Olympic format can enhance this effect in our opinion. Let the RS Convertible Class come the Netherlands!
The above document was published in mid-December 2018. Unfortunately, we have to wait until November 2019 before we see white smoke. See below the detailed timetable.
|– Publication of Invitations to Tender||15th December 2019|
|– Pray closing date||1st February* 2019|
|– Documentation review report and initial evaluation to Board||8th February 2019|
|– Publication of shortlisted candidates||15th February 2019|
|– Shortlisted candidates yard visits||March 2019|
|– Shortlisted improved bid deadlines||1st April 2019|
|– Yard reports and final evaluation to the Board||1st May 2019|
|– Final Board recommendation to Council published||10th May 2019|
|– Council decision on equipment for the re-evaluated events||May 2019|
|– If Council decision is to evolve or select new equipment: equipment trials||During 2019|
|– Equipment recommendation and Council decision||No later Nov 2019|
UPDATE May 2019
Two-time Olympic champion Dorian van Rijselberghe has written an open letter to council expressing his dissatisfaction with the decision and the procedure followed to use the RSX unchanged after the 2024 Olympics. He also makes a convincing plea to review the decision and still give the wind foiling a serious chance.
His argument has certainly had a result. During the vote on 19 May, it was decided to re-evaluate the material. In other words, new formats, w.o. wind foiling will now be included as contenders in the procedure and will have a fair chance.
In the meantime, the PR machine continues. De Volkskrant has picked up this news and studio sport has also paid attention to wind foiling as a possible new successor to the RS:X.
Changes and updates
If there are any changes to the procedure or updates, we will update the above blog. Questions or comments? Feel free to let us know.