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Posted by on Jul 17, 2019 in Equipment, Windsurfing News |

The new Olympic Windsurfing: Goodbye RS:X?

The current Olympic class has replaced its granddad, Mistral One, in the 2008. However, for a while now, Olympic Windsurfing has been considered cumbersome and obsolete. And that’s not a surprise, considering the sheer weight and size of the currently used RS:X boards, with buoyancy of 231 litres and weight of over 19 kg.

People leave the class because it is too expensive for what it is, not durable enough and far too physically demanding – heavy both on and off the water

Dorian van Rijsselberghe for Surfertoday

The weight and size of the boards has even become a source of jokes in the windsurfing community. A popular tale tells about an RS:X sailor who mounted a microwave on board to warm up his meals mid session.

Picture from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games - RS:X racer Dorian van Rijsselberghe passing a buoy.
Dorian van Rijsselberghe in Rio 2016 Olympic Race
|Windsurf.co.uk|

Olympic board on a diet?

However, up until this week, it seemed like RS:X was here to stay. In it’s initial proposal, the Olympic Committee of the World Sailing organisation was to upkeep its support for the RS:X class… But then, they changed their minds.

During the committee’s mid-year meeting on the 19th of May, the majority of members voted against sticking with the RS:X mammoth. The question is then: What board will be used by the Olympic windsurfers in the 2024 Paris Olympic games?

Foiling to make a difference…

Among the many options that have been discussed as a replacement for RS:X, one has been particularly prominent: windfoiling.

Foiling is a relatively young and exciting discipline, that has gained a lot of traction in past years. Naturally, it comes with a lot of pros and cons, especially in the amateur scene. However, because of its fast growth and interest from the community, it might prove to be a viable option. Dorian van Rijsselberghe, the gold Olympic medallist from London 2012 and Rio 2016, has expressed his support for the discipline. In an open letter to World Sailing he has expressed his hope that the Council will do ‘do the right thing, and think of the future, and think of the children.

Dorian van Rijsselberghe on his windfoil - a potential Olympic class.
Dorian van Rijsselberghe on what might become his set-up for 2024 Paris Olympics.
|SurferToday|

Opponents?

Among other mentioned classes that could take the place of RS:X is a modern spin on the iconic Windsurfer class. However, at the moment, it’s impossible to tell what shape will represent the world of windsurfing during the 2024 Olympics.

What we do know, is that moving away from RS:X has caused quite a stir up in the windsurfing world and that it might have the potential to rekindle the public interest in the sport.

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