Kitesurfing replaces Windsurfing at the Olympics 2016
We were pretty surprised yesterday, to read the news, that the vote for the Olympics 2016 was already made. We recently did an interview with Bruno de Wannemaeker (FCA president and ISAF member), where he said, that the vote will be made after the Olympics in London. The ISAF Council voted that Kiteboarding will replace Windsurfing for the men´s and women´s board events at the Olympics 2016 in Rio.
Since 1984 Windsurfing has been established as an Olympic discipline for men, who saw 7 Olympic games already and will see the 8th Olympic participation with the discipline windsurfing in London 2012. Since 1992 the ladies as well compete at the Olympic games and had 5 events already.
At the Olympic games 10 medals are given away for the sailing class. In March there were 2 independent meetings, a presentation of the kite gear for the Olympics 2016 in Brazil plus a test event. But there was also meeting in Cadiz for the windsurfers, where renewed RS:X gear was represented.
Read below our interview with Bruno de Wannemaeker, which we did, before the decision was made.
C7: What will happen, if the RS:X Class will not be choosen for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil as a sailing discipline?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: Very simple answer. As all old Olympic classes it will probably die. I know nobody, who surfs on a RS:X just for the fun of it.
C7: What´s your personal opinion about the Olympic windsurfing class? Should it stay olympic?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: The IFCA class wants me to say that windsurfing should stay. Out of my view windsurfing should proof that´s necessary to stay. The current Olympic windsurfing does not represent the grass root windsurfing.
C7: What has been changed at the equipment?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: At the beginning there was the plan to develop a new RS:X board, which is by 4 kilos lighter. But that would mean, if a new board would be chosen, that everybody including all the clubs would need new boards. It would be a very expensive project. So in the end all decided not to change the board at all.
“After consulting ISAF and NeilPryde and taking due account of the world economic situation, the class has decided to withdraw the lightweight hull from the process and focus on granular testing fins and sails only. The goal is to boost current performance whilst keeping the cost of any changes to a minimum and allowing those changes to be dealt with by amending the class rules. Our idea would be to phase in any agreed changes so that used equipment from the Olympic fleet could continue to be used by the youth fleets for international youth championships for an agreed number of years.” Rory Ramsden, RS:X Class COO, posted in a press release earlier the year.
C7: What are the problems of the Olympic Windsurfing Class RS:X out of your view?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: Out of my view big events , like Olympic events, should take place at windy spots, at windy beaches. The windsurfers should not start out of harbours, they should start from windy beaches. The ISAF should push for windier venues and should look after the interests the sport windsurfing has. Probably they also should shorten the races from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. A 30 minute long race has a similar physical exertion as a 10.000 meter run, far above the anaerobic threshold. Back at the beach the sailors need two physiotherapists to recover their forearms as quick as possible. They need one for the left and one for the right arm due to the fact that the break in between the the first ad the second race is really short.
C7: What´s the advantage of kitesurfing against windsurfing?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: Kitesurfing follows a box rule, not a one design rule. Everybody is allowed to bring the own gear. This fact makes it a bit easier for the Kitesurfers to have an attractive plan for entering the Olympics in 2016, also transport and acquiring of a kite is easier, read cheaper…
C7: Is there a chance to keep on going with the RS:X windsurfing disciplines at the Olympics 2016 in Brazil?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: Yes it is, but also Kitesurfing deserves it to be there at the Olympics out of my view. The vote will be done after the 2012 Olympics in London in November. Both disciplines should be there. At the moment Kiteboarding has more chances in media in terms of racing. Olympic Windsurfing needs to be somehow more spectacular.
C7: Why not both disciplines, windsurfing and kitesurfing at Brazil 2016?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: In total there are 10 medals for sailing disciplines. I don´t think this rule will be changed. We would need 12 medals, if windsurfing and kitesurfing would be Olympic disciplines for ladies and men. The idea to have 12 medals exists, but it´s fairly unrealistic to get two more medals from the IOC (International Olympic Comitee) to run both disciplines at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. But we should keep on asking IOC with correct arguments.
C7: What is the “PRO Argument” for windsurfing compared to kitesurfing?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: Does Kitesurfing really fit in the sailing world? That´s the question. Winsurfing and sailing has a special charm. The ISAF definitely is looking for something new, but it must fit in their concept!
C7: What´s the best format for young kids nowadays, who want to start racing on the windsurfing gear? Which class would you recommend?
Bruno de Wannemaeker: Tecno 293 is still the best out of my view. In 2014 we plan to include different disciplines at the youth olympics. We will have one day racing long distance, one day with Slalom and one day with classic light wind freestyle. Only the top 4 will make it into the finals. (Techno 293 is a one design class for youth racing up to the age of 17).
Have a look on the Techno 293 website here
C7: What´s your opinion on a post like following?
On 13th of February Fernando wrote following comment to an recent published article about Olympic Windsurfing on continentseven.com:
“Come on guys! Olympic Games are for athletes and as much as I admire Albeau or Bjorn, they are no athletes! They are 40 year old fat alchohol drinkers that are outstanding windsurfers, but no more than that. RS:X Sailors when they jump on a Formula, they win everything. Just by that you can recon that they are in another level.To be one brand the only able to sell olympic equipment is very bad, but not like road bikes os skis, an open class on windsurfing in the olympic would never work. It would cost a fortune to have high level equipment.”
Bruno de Wannemaeker: I would say that perhaps some of the older PWA racers fit the profile described above, but I also see former PWA racers such as Phil Mc Gain and Lars Pederson completing iron man triathlons. So not all of these guys are out of shape. I’m sure if guys like Steve Allen, Ross Williams, Arnon Dagan, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel would put their minds on it, they would kick ass!!
Thanks for the interview!
© continentseven.com 2012