Olympic Evolution- Sam Sills Gives Us His Thoughts - Boards Windsurfing

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Olympic Evolution- Sam Sills Gives Us His Thoughts

As I’m sure you all have seen recently Neilpryde released images from the AGM in israel of their proposal for what RS:X and Olympic windsurfing will look like in the future. To find out a little bit more about this proposal and get an inside view at what this might mean to the current RS:X sailors we asked Sam Sills to give us the low down.

What’s the future of the Olympics? Foiling, media, sponsors? Olympic windsurfing could be heading for a big change. Recently at the RSX Worlds in Israel, Neil Pryde, the current manufacture of the Olympic board held a conference explaining the future of how windsurfing could look in 2024.

Already the youth Olympics is only racing Kitesurfing, foiling catamaran and windsurfer. Headed towards a spectator focused sport where adrenaline and drama are the centre pillars.

Windsurfing is massively under documented; the general idea is to make the sport more appealing to the public, bring in media, bring in sponsorship and grow the audience. One option is to embrace the same concept as the Extreme Racing series or Americas cup DNA with the action close to shore are running a slalom style format.

Prydes proposal

Neil Pryde is proposing to join the flying generation and introduce foiling to the 2024 Olympics, using a slalom format to race from 5 to 30 knots. The equipment is called the RSX Convertible and will be a 120 litre, 6kg, slalom board with a 4 cambered 7.8m sail. The board will be foiling between 5 – 14knots and will have the option to change to a normal fin when the wind increases.

There will be a something called the RS:One Convertible, designed to be an accessible pathway on to the RS:X Convertible. This will be the same idea and equipment but with a cheaper constructionThe plan is to demo this at the RS:X Youth Worlds in Cyprus and join the Redbull Foiling World tour in 2017. Aiming at a wider range of users to include formula racers, club racers and sport freeriders.

My thoughts

I think Neil Pryde are smart for thinking about the future. I like the idea to bring audience, adrenaline and big sponsors. Windsurfing is an incredible sport and deserves to have a higher profile. However… foiling in 5 knots with a 7.8 is a tough challenge, there’s a lot of extra drag from the foil itself and very little power from such a small sail, I’m very interested to follow this development.

In the past windsurfing was simple, cheap, and everybody could do it, participation was huge. I wonder if introducing foiling will risk making the whole game to complicated/expensive and kill the sport even further.

I think the slalom concept is a cool idea, however it’s very different to course racing and I’m sure it will upset a lot of people who love the traditional windward/leeward tactics.

The coming months will tell us more and I’m excited for the future!

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