Olympic Success For The RS:X - Boards Windsurfing

Windsurfing Magazine



Olympic Success For The RS:X




The Neil Pryde RS:X met all expectations to deliver an exciting and visually spectacular regatta at the 2008 Olympic Games.


I am a New Zealander and I have lived in Hong Kong for more than 45 years. The RS:X gold medals going to China and New Zealand gives me a tremendous feeling of pride and personal satisfaction from the NEILPRYDE involvement in Olympic Sailing, the pinnacle of the sport” said Mr. Neil Pryde following the medal race.


 “Looking ahead to 2012, it is clear that the RS:X performed in Olympic competition exactly as it was intended to do and it has fulfilled the requirements of the ISAF brief for Olympic Windsurfing equipment. The hard fought competition and tight scoring amongst the top competitors is a testament to the nature of One Design Racing and we look forward to again supporting the Olympic Windsurfing Regatta in Great Britain.”



The design brief laid down by ISAF in 2004 called for a windsurfer capable of performing in 3-30 knots and the RS:X lived up to this challenge as the conditions in Qingdao, proved to be varied and testing.


With strong currents and the wind dropping down to just 5 knots in Race Five and getting up to 22 knots in Race Seven the RS:X took to the course alongside the other yachting classes as required and each race proceeded as scheduled. Strong currents further complicated the racing with 6 knot winds often flowing against the wind direction, so reducing the “True” wind speed to 4 knots. Overall, the conditions were varied and some experienced Olympic sailors believe the Qingdao regatta to be the windiest since Korea in 1988. The RS:X was able to deliver racing to the ISAF schedule, so guaranteeing live racing coverage and a TV suitable format. This is essential in today’s media environment.


As is the Olympic tradition the board livery was updated for the event and coupled with the brightly coloured sails the RS:X created a visual spectacle at the regatta. Each sail was adorned with the sailors name, flag and country designation making the event easy for spectators to follow and enjoy as country flags were visible at the windward mark from as far away as the start line.


With just 6 points separating the top three in both the men’s and women’s divisions the competition was close creating excitement and anticipation right till the end, but ultimately the top sailors came through with both the 2008 RS:X World Champions in the medals. Tom Ashley of New Zealand added Olympic Gold to the World Championship he won in Auckland in January ’08, a truly remarkable double that was richly deserved given the sheer consistency of his performances. Silver was taken by seasoned French sailor Julien Bontemps and the bronze medal by the precocious youngster from Israel, Shahar Zubari, who was seen front looping his allocated RS:X Olympic equipment in pure “end over end” fashion during the windy practice day, pre the regatta.


The Women’s Gold medal was won by local favourite Jian Yin of China in a performance that will be truly be life changing as it represents China’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing. Yin’s board will now be kept on permanent display at the Qingdao Maritime Museum and will be known as the “Gold windsurfer”. Alessandra Sensini from Italy also created history by becoming the first woman to win four Olympic Sailing medals by placing second. Third was Britain’s Bryony Shaw.


As one of just two Classes where all the equipment is supplied by the manufacturer, the RS:X sailors arrived in Qingdao relatively empty handed, but now not only do the winners get to take home their medals but they also get to take home their complete RS:X sets. As an ex-Olympic sailor and avid yachtsman Mr Pryde understands how attached a sailor can be to a winning boat and offered Tom Ashley of New Zealand and Jian Yin of China their RS:X sails and boards to keep as a memento of this historic occasion.



Neil Pryde is proud to be the manufacturer for the RS:X and the 49er Classes and congratulates all the medal winners in these prestigious and extremely successful Olympic events.



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