in the 2008 Olympics under threat!"
" ISAF President, Paul
Henderson asks... Can ISAF continue to reserve 20% of the events
and 25% of the competitors at the Olympic Regatta for Windsurfing and in particular can the women’s windsurfing
event continue to be justified?"
Dear ISAF Committee Member or MNA President,
Following a visit
to the Pan Am Games, Paul Henderson has circulated an e-mail
to his executive committee, which asks… Can ISAF continue to
reserve 20% of the events and 25% of the competitors at the
Olympic Regatta for Windsurfing and in particular can the women’s
windsurfing event continue to be justified?
There can only be one answer to these
questions… in each case an emphatic YES!
Windsurfing is a global sport practiced by large
numbers of men and women;
The characteristics of windsurfing are sufficiently
different from the other sailing events to justify two separate
Windsurfing is one of the most media friendly
events in the Olympic Regatta;
Now, we know there are some sceptics amongst you. That's normal
and healthy. So Let us give you three more good reasons why
you too should say an emphatic YES:
Four more good reasons to support windsurfing in
The women’s windsurfing event is the fastest,
most dynamic and most media friendly of the women’s sailing
Racers from all 5 continents have won Olympic
windsurfing medals in the last two Games. In fact in 1996, medals
went to six nations from 4 continents demonstrating that the
sport is not only global in spread but also that no continent
dominates this event
The IOC requires a minimum of 30% women athletes
at the Olympics. In 2000, 28 nations entered a woman. A ratio
of 66% to the number of men entered. At a world championship
the normal ratio is 50% or higher.
Based on requests made by passengers on spectator
boats at the Sydney Olympic Regatta, windsurfing was one of
the top 3 regularly requested events to watch.
Here is a summary of the benefits
windsurfing brings to the Olympic Regatta
Windsurfing is sufficiently different
from the other sailing events to justify two separate
It broadens the mass appeal
of sailing in the sport's highest profile regatta
Windsurfing is one of the most popular
events in the Olympic Regatta
It has media appeal
Windsurfing is a global and relatively
All nations can compete at
a high level with a real chance of winning a medal
The two windsurfing events are fast,
dynamic and media friendly. They therefore appeal to younger
They keep the 'Olympic Sailing
dream' alive, relevant & attractive to a much wider
section of the population than most other classes
Windsurfing is a truly athletic discipline
whatever the format
It is a true Olympic event
requiring high levels of fitness, tactical ability and
The classes have submitted a proposed
new Appendix B to ISAF after a thorough review
All racing formats can now
be safely considered for inclusion in the 2008 Olympics
Now, you may be wondering what equipment could be selected
for use in China in 2008. Well, that is very much up to the
ISAF Evaluation Team to recommend and we would not wish to interfere
with that process at all.
However, we do know that
At least 7 different boards
are registered for ISAF Evaluation
Austrian Board Project have put
one board forward named
Blip (with a centre
Bic Sport have put forward
A Formula Windsurfing
board (fin only)
A Techno 293 D (with
a centre board)
Boards & More put two boards
A new technology One
Design (an evolution of the current Olympic board)
A Prodigy (with a
Exocet have out forward one board
Flying Fish (with
a centre board)
Starboard have put forward one
An Olympic prototype
(probably with two fins; one fore and one aft)
Neil Pryde and Gaastra have
also registered an interest. It is not clear whether
they are just interested in rig development or whether
they too will put forward boards for evaluation.
We are certain
that at least one of these boards will prove suitable for selection
in November 2004 as the Olympic Equipment for 2008. However, The ISAF Windsurfing Evaluation
Team Chairman will make a report to the 2003 ISAF November Conference,
which we are confident will confirm this.
So to summarize!
The two current windsurfing
events (men and women) in the Olympic regatta are valuable
additions to the Olympic family
The ISAF Evaluation Team are
more than likely to be able to recommend suitable equipment
for use at the Olympic Regatta in 2008
We are sure that you are now convinced that you must help windsurfing
retain its two sets of medals in the 2008 Olympic Regatta. However,
do not take our word for it. Listen to some elite Formula racers
whom you already know and respect. Incidentally, more
than 1000 competitors from 35 countries and 5 continents have
taken part in world, continental and international Formula Windsurfing
events over the last 12 months!
Quotes from top Formula
what style of windsurfing we have in the Olympics, it
is absolutely necessary to have both Men AND Women.
Windsurfing is one of the most exciting and skilled disciplines
in the Games.”
Nik Baker (GBR)
is by far the most exciting and colourful side of the
Olympic water sports. There is such a wide spread of people
who practice the sport, male and female that the whole
sport would suffer as would the Olympics. Windsurfing
is not only the fastest wind powered water sport but also
the most agile and exciting to watch. Lets hope we can
all stand together and get this sorted”
”It is very important to keep Windsurfing as an Olympic
discipline, since it is worldwide an important sport to
millions of people. Windsurfing is a well established
sport which will fascinate all future generations and therefore has to stay Olympic”
Pieter Bijl (NED)
”Windsurfing (discipline Racing) on the highest
level in the world requires not only power to win. It
takes many different talents together like: sail trim,
tactics, power, windsurfing skills, mental strength and
the know how of meteorological. Combine all the talents
in to one person (Man or Woman) and that is an Olympic
Because the windsurfer is the
only crewmember on board he has to have all the skills
of the crewmembers on board of one boat in any other sailing
Windsurfing is: Young, fast
Micah Buzianis (USA)
”I am writing to express my opinion on the importance
of Windsurfing in the Olympic Games. I have been racing
professionally for over 14 years, only on short boards
and recently on formula boards. I have never had the opportunity
to race an Olympic class board but I still feel that this
aspect of our sport is a very crucial discipline as a
part of the Olympics and as a part of our sport.
Windsurfing has gained a huge amount of recognition from
being a part of the Olympics and needs to continue to
be a part of this prestigious event. Windsurfing is a
very different part of sailing that requires not only
sailing knowledge but great physical training and talents.
The invention and continual development of Windsurfing
has contributed a lot to the sailing world making advancements
in sail designs and hull design for many different sailing
classes. All the men and women that are fortunate enough
to be able to take part in the games are very well trained
athletes, that not only need to be well trained in Windsurfing
but they need to be well trained physically to cope with
the strenuous demands that Olympic sailing requires.
"...Many of the Olympic classes will be amazed to
hear that a windsurf event could be out of the Games...They
admire the skills and power that the windsurfers have"
the hard training of a marathon runner, the power of a
sprinter and the talent of any other sailor...and
you get a windsurfer at Olympic level!"
If a windsurf event is dropped by ISAF, it will be a big
loss for the whole Olympic Games, not just sailing!"
Jimmy Diaz (ARG)
is a sport which has managed to combine all the aspects
of traditional sailing with the excitement, athleticism,
and speed associated with the more modern extreme sports.
It is a sport, which requires sailing knowledge, tactical
prowess, and a high degree of athleticism. On top
of this it is a sport for the young and old bridging a
gap between generations. Windsurfing in the Olympics
adds very much to the traditional sailing disciplines
as it is a younger, more modern and exciting event.
It is by far the most athletically demanding discipline
in sailing requiring every bit of sailing and tactical
knowledge as the other disciplines. It embodies
more completely the Olympic spirit. Losing windsurfing
in the Olympics would very much lessen the Olympic regatta
as it would take away not only from the excitement in
the Olympics but also from all those sailors (men and
women) striving to be Olympians in a modern, exciting,
and affordable discipline."
Markus Huhtinen (FIN)
“Windsurfing is very
popular and inexpensive form of sailing. It has enthusiastic
participants all over the world. The racing classes may
not be same everywhere, but all those are, nonetheless,
part of the windsurfing world. On the top level the racing
is mentally and physically challenging. It is also very
different from any dinghy sailing class. Thus some type
of windsurfing should remain in the Olympic games.
The physical differences of men and women play
a big part in windsurfing, so separate fleets for both
sexes are necessary. It is very important for the future
of Olympic windsurfing that the form of racing there represents
the current development of the sport. Only this way we
can be sure that the top athletes from all over the world
really compete in the Olympics. This also guarantees the
future interest of great public and media.”
Sam Ireland (CAN)
“Windsurfing competition is both athletic and tactical
with amazing potential for participation of all types
of people around the world. Women, as well as men, should definitely
continue to have a windsurfing Olympic platform. It would be a shame for the sport sailing
and the Olympics to loose the most exciting expression
of competition sailing.”
And here are some telling words from current Olympians, both men
Quotes from Olympians
Birkenfeld (USA) September 2, 2003
Just as the potential
to sail in the Olympics is open to all nations, shouldn’t
that same potential be open to all athletic body types?
At the HEAVY end of our sport,
we’ve heard rumor of the Star-and-Finn-type-athletes who
weigh in at up to 119 kg/262 lbs.
But what about the numbers
at the LIGHT end of our sport?
Let’s look at some numbers from the recent Pre-Olympic event:
The lightest MALE world-ranked WINDSURFER weighs in at
65 kg/143 lbs., which is 29 lbs. heavier than the smallest
FEMALE WINDSURFER. This man is ranked 32nd
in the world.
The lightest FEMALE single-handed world-ranked DINGHY sailor weighs
in at 55 kg/121 lbs., which is 7 pounds heavier than the
smallest FEMALE WINDSURFER.
This woman dinghy sailor is ranked 50th
in the world.
And about that petite female windsurfer? She holds a #2 World Ranking,
AND she won Silver in the 2000 Olympics.
I’m for diversity in
competitors and competition. Someday, when we are all
lucky enough to have children of our own, I wholeheartedly
hope our daughters have the opportunity to compete in
Don’t shut the door
on them just because they turn out to be little girls.
Let’s keep windsurfing in the Olympics and keep it as
two separate male/female events”.
Ho Chi Ho (past ISAF
Youth World Champion) & Chan King Yin (past IMCO Youth
We love the speed,
it is fun. The
equipment can be sailed in light and strong winds.
It is popular in Asia and we have good competitions
which are easy to get to and fun to participate in.
If windsurfing will no longer be an Olympic event
all the years of training for this will be lost as I will
not be able to afford to switch to another sailing class.
Kendall (NZL) – Olympic Gold, Silver and bronze medal
be a disaster to get rid of woman's windsurfing.
I came through the NZ junior yachting
classes and chose windsurfing for the following reasons
and these reasons are why I am doing the sport 15 years
1. Cheapest Yachting class easiest
2. One design so it comes down to the
skill of the sailor
3. High action and speed
4. Very athletic
would be eliminating some of the world’s best athletes
and sailors if this class were eliminated.
Windsurfing for me has been one of the most challenging
and satisfying sports in my life. Because of the success
I have achieved it has encouraged 1000’s of NZ girls to
participate in windsurfing, yachting and other sports
in New Zealand.”
”The current board
is capable of 25 knots. It is the 3rd fastest of the 9
Olympic Classes and is certainly the fastest and most
spectacular women's event, Men and women’s windsurfing
deserve their places in the Olympic Regatta on these facts
Allison Shreeve (AUS)
is not only the most physical of all of the women’s sailing
events, it is also the most exciting.”
Alessandra Sensini (ITA) – Olympic Gold & Bronze medal winner
”The women’s windsurfing
event is the fastest and most media friendly of the women’s
sailing events. Do not drop it!”
Lee Lai Shan (HKG) – Olympic Gold medal winner
& ISAF World Sailor of the Year
was the only sailing sport I could afford to participate
in. I started when I was 12; 21 years later I am still competing
at the highest level and still loving it. It is an incredible dynamic sport, combining
tactics and athletic qualities, very exciting and the
equipment is easy to transport around the world.
It would be such a shame if windsurfing is no longer
available to the youth of tomorrow as an Olympic event
as this is a unique and truly affordable Olympic sailing
Olympic Bronze medal winner & 2002 World Champion
in the Olympics is very important because it demonstrates
another aspect of the sailing sport. At the same time,
it combines the physical & tactical elements of sailing
and links the sport more completely to the Olympic movement
and its ideals by showing a truly athletic discipline.
Mike Gebhardt (USA) – Olympic Silver & bronze
would be a disaster to remove the popular discipline of
Female Windsurfing from the Olympics. It would be a real
detriment to many countries sailing programs whose only
hope of winning medals in Olympic sailing disciplines
is in the simple, inexpensive disciplines of Men’s and
Women’s Olympic Windsurfing. To remove to the purest and
most athletic form of form of Female Sailing out of the
Olympics would be a step in the wrong direction for ISAF.”
Bruce Kendall (NZL) - Olympic Silver & Bronze medal
In my opinion, the Olympic Sailing event should continue
to try to show the full range of craft our sport has to
offer and show our sport to the widest range of people
and nations possible. The Laser Radial has very similar
dynamics to the Europe class! It would be a sad day when
Women can’t compete on boards at an Olympic level.
Tom Ashley (NZL) – 2002 ISAF Youth World Champion
believe that an Olympic windsurfing campaign offers athletes
from many countries and backgrounds the opportunity to
compete on equal terms in quality international fleets.
I also believe that it is essential that women’s windsurfing
continues to be included in the Olympic Games. I decided
to pursue an Olympic Mistral campaign because of the different
dimensions of sailing which windsurfing offers. The racing
is extremely intense, with tactics similar to those of
the 49er and other apparent wind yachts but with added
physical elements not available in other forms of yachting-
we are the only Olympic class in which a number of athletes
frequently sail wearing heart rate monitors.
So what action should
you take now?
The first article in ISAF Regulation # 15.5.6 states the ISAF
Events Committees terms of reference as being “every four years
at the meeting immediately prior to the Olympic Games recommend
to the Council the categories of yacht to compete in the Olympics
to take place in five years time (The IOC terminology for ‘categories’
Therefore the ISAF Events Committee and Council must make this
decision in November 2003.
As the President
of your National Sailing Federation, please write to ISAF in
The inclusion of windsurfing in the 2008
Olympic Games for both men and women
And insist that ISAF makes this decision
in November 2003
Normally, we would not wish to bother you with these sorts
of matters. However, once in a while there comes a time when
we all have to pull together and make sure that something happens.
This is one of those times. The threat to remove at least
one windsurfing set of medals needs to be taken seriously so
please act to defend the future of both men and women’s windsurfing
in the Olympics, especially the women’s event.
However, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not
hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
If you want to make sure that this is job is done
properly make sure that you do it yourself
To your success,
Formula Windsurfing Class
Mistral Junior One Design
Mistral One Design
The Chairmen of the ISAF Windsurfing Classes & The PWA
2003 by the ISAF Windsurfing Classes - All Rights Reserved