Sunday, May 27, 2012

US Sailing All In for Kite Racing · Koster Can Drive

US Sailing Board Member and Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee, Dean Brenner, issued a press release on May 23rd to explain their recent decision to support kite racing for the 2016 Olympic Games. Brenner summarized: "While the Board of US Sailing makes final decisions on all recommendations to our ISAF delegation, much of the thinking on Olympic events and equipment originates in the Olympic Sailing Committee, which I lead. The OSC believes, and I continue to support this 100%, that kites will be good for the sport of sailing, worldwide." Brenner put forward 5 simple reasons for the decision. In response to these reasons, 3 open letters have surfaced: one from Nevin Sayre, former pro windsurfer, accomplished kiter and all around waterman; one from Bruce Kendall, two time Olympic windsurfing medal winner for New Zealand; and the last from Platt Johnson, windsurfer since 1973, kiter since 2006 and former windsurf retailer.

Dean Brenner: Reason 1. Kiteboarding is an exciting and rapidly growing area of the sport.

Nevin Sayre (left):   No argument, kiteboarding is an exciting and rapidly growing area of the sport. However, US Sailing and ISAF voted for what is currently practiced by a very small percentage of kiteboarders - kiteboard course racing. That’s like noticing all these skiers at the mountain and then choosing telemark racing as the Olympic discipline. Kite board racing uses very different equipment and skills than what you see at the beach. No doubt kiteboard racing is cutting edge and could one day evolve into an Olympic sport, but we’re just not there yet. That’s the point. There are estimates that at most 200-300 persons world-wide have been on a kite course board. This includes but a handful of juniors.

But let’s look at the facts: 80 women from 37 countries competed in the RS:X World Championships. 12 women from 10 countries competed in the Kite Course Racing World Championships. Only two women were able to complete all the races at the Kite Course Worlds. Does this qualify as Olympic-ready for 2016?

There is currently no known active Youth Kite Course Racing. Compare that to 400 kids (age 16 and younger) who are expected at the Techno Windsurfing World Championships this summer.

Bruce Kendall (left):  Kite racing is currently a small & undeveloped sport compared to windsurfing was back to the mid 1970's. It is still too early to judge if kite racing is a narrow niche sport with a low ceiling of participants & if the numbers would naturally continue to increase without the Olympic ticket. Currently the majority of Kite retailers have not stocked kite-racing boards as the evolution of design has been too fast & superseded designs have to be sold at below cost. Most of the Kite board brands have not invested in building kite racing board molds & are waiting for the evolution to slow down as it has been too hard to sell racing boards to retailers. The major Kite board manufacturers have not been making many racing boards for some time due to the above reasons. As a consequence, Kite racing boards are not widely available & kite racing has not been enjoying the same growth the rest of the Kite boarding market has.

Platt Johnson:  Of course but where are your statistics? In Newport kitesurfing leveled off four years ago with no additional growth since then. My local beach in Florida has the same 20 or so kiters as ever. The current Kitesurfing World Cup in Holland ( had 14 entries for men. After four years as an ISAF class this is pitiful. Claims of huge production numbers are not relevant as they are only recreational gear and mostly for replacement. I find I need to replace mine each year.

Dean Brenner: Reason 2. The infrastructure required will be minimal.

Nevin Sayre:  According to Dean/US Sailing’s justification, 'The infrastructure required will be minimal.' Agreed, infrastructure required for staging events is an important consideration. I wonder if US Sailing is aware that kitesurfing, due to safety concerns, is prohibited from many premier ISAF sailing venues:

In Sydney Harbour, site of the 2000 Olympics, kitesurfing is banned.
In Singapore, site of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, kitesurfing in banned.
In Cyprus, site of the 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds, kitesurfing is banned.
In Lake Garda, Italy, site of the EUROSAF Olympic Regatta, kitesurfing is banned.

But even if kitesurfing is allowed at a specific venue, other significant logistics are involved. While race management on the water may be similar to other classes, to safely launch a kite you need very specific conditions. A minimum of 100 ft of open space is required, free of any obstacles that could impale the kiteboarder, or put bystanders at risk. There is no way you can launch and tack out of many yacht harbors (Kiel?).

On top of that, kitesurfers require the ability to change kite sizes if wind conditions change between races. The ISAF Kite Equipment Report glosses over basic logistics and says huge floating platforms could be built to launch from, or competitors can launch from support boats, or be shuttled to launch from outside beaches. That’s minimal infrastructure????? There are very few venues without surrounding hazards where you can safely launch 140 kites to make a 9:00 AM start time in gusty, stormy conditions.
Bruce Kendall:  This is a non-argument to replace windsurfing, but is an argument to replace some of the other Olympic Sailing Classes. Infrastructure for windsurfing is less than required for kite racing as the boards are the same size & Kite rigging and launching areas require more space than to rig & launch windsurfers. Windsurfing certainly requires less infrastructure than all other sailing classes. The infrastructure in terms of developing kite surfing compared to windsurfing may in fact be more in some locations where a higher ratio of support boats to sailors may be required.

Platt Johnson:  Not in my experience - Kiting needs more infrastructure as kites take up more space. Kites will want multiple kites ashore rigged and ready to go. Boats for each kite will be required for safety and launching. I calculate you can put 17 windsurfers into the line area of one kiter. More support boats will be required.

Dean Brenner (left): Reason 3. The potential exists to bring in new countries to the sport of Olympic Sailing, and at Council, there was support from every continent and region: Europe, Caribbean, South America, North America, Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Mid-East.

Nevin Sayre:  Dean’s third reason, 'The potential exists to bring new countries to the sport of Olympic Sailing' is valid. And windsurfing has done exactly that with 54 countries competing in the Olympic Qualifying events, and more MNAs competing in Men’s RS:X at the ISAF World Championships than any other class, including Laser. Does US Sailing/ISAF want to trade this success for a class that is not yet developed?

Bruce Kendall:  Potential also exists also for windsurfing to continue to bring new countries more than other Olympic sailing classes. This is proven with RSX's track record of the growing number of nations trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Windsurfing at the last RSX class world champs in Cadiz in 2012.

The only thing that has stopped Olympic windsurfing's continued advance is ISAF changing the class every 8 years. The laser class is larger than the RSX, but how long has it been intact? Many new countries just as before, will not be able to compete in Kite racing due to a lack of ability to:
1. Keep pace with design evolution
2. Lack of ability to competitive equipment
3. Compete against established nations with good programs.

Platt Johnson (left):  No more so than windsurfing while windsurfing already has established programs which will be hurt by your decision. In addition many areas have banned kiting so there is no growth possible there. New York just banned kitesurfing at ALL of it's public beaches. Additionally the RSX is a One Design. Kiting is an open class. The cost will be astronomical and the equipment disposable. This is not emerging country friendly.

Dean Brenner: Reason 4. Kites can be sailed close to shore, increasing spectator possibilities.

Nevin Sayre: 'Kites can be sailed close to shore, increasing spectator possibilities.' Yes, just as easily as windsurfing. The only difference is, if the wind is on shore, all those ISAF spectators would have to be pushed back from the shoreline to avoid decapitation.

Bruce Kendall:  The length of the size of the fin is almost the same as the RSX so in fact there is no difference about being close to the shore. It is only ISAF that have restricted the RSX class's ability to compete close to the beach. In off shore gusty conditions windsurfing can in fact compete closer to the beach than Kites. Little has been said about the limitations of kite racing due to unsuitable weather, launching & landing conditions.

Platt Johnson:  Onshore Winds: the spectators will need to be backed up out of harms way. Offshore Winds: the breeze will be fluky and unfair to the competitors. They certainly are no closer to shore than windsurfing. When kites are racing they will still have tons of gear on shore that the spectators will need to be kept well clear of. Where will all of these support boats go?

Dean Brenner: Reason 5. There have been major advancements in safety, and the evaluation and technical reports said exactly that. Those interested in this debate, really should read that report, linked here.

Nevin Sayre:  Dean goes on to rely on the ISAF Equipment Evaluation Report which barely addresses the critical concerns of safety. While it’s true that kites have improved in safety, and expert kiters will take their own risks, what about the safety of juniors pursing the Olympic dream? You can’t just hook a hot shot Opti sailor up to a kite and push him/her off the dock. There is zero pathway for kiting currently within US Sailing.

In his position as Olympic Sailing Chairman, Dean Brenner may not be concerned with further down the pyramid, but safety in the Olympic pipeline should be of paramount importance to US Sailing. Again I ask, what is US Sailing’s plan to safely incorporate kitesurfing into Junior Sailing Programs, the Olympic Youth Development Team, Youth Worlds Team, the Junior Olympic events, and all the pathways that leads to the Olympics? What is US Sailing’s plan to bring kitesurfing under its umbrella when insurance companies have deemed kitesurfing unsafe?

ISAF’s own specialists in the Events Committee voted 17-2 in favor of trialing kitesurfing at ISAF events until it is proven Olympic-ready, and keeping RS:X as the Olympic Class for Men’s and Women’s in 2016. We call on U.S. Sailing and ISAF to evaluate the readiness of kitesurf racing for 2016 and the Olympic pipeline, question dubious claims in the ISAF Kite Evaluation Report, balance judgement against the world-wide success of windsurfing as an Olympic discipline, and perform a complete fair analysis before their vote in the November ISAF meeting. 

Bruce Kendall:  The report was widely circulated & before the May 5th meeting.
An official letter was sent by Ben Barger the ISAF Athletes rep asking for more detail & solid evidence to back the claims. It has never been replied to. Evidence to refute some of the statements in the report was already common knowledge. The Safety issues have never been fully answered. Kites are banned in many more places than all other windsurfing & sailing often due to actual historical safety reasons in that area. Kite surfing has possibly had more serious accidents in the last 5 years than the whole of sailing combined. Safety concerns are a factor in any sport & for many parents, safety & liability is a reason some choose not to do a sport. ( Bruce Kendall replied to everything Dean Brenner covered in the press release, not just the 5 simple reasons for the decision. Complete Bruce Kendall Reply )

Platt Johnson:  Sure there have been advancements but just try and convince the insurance companies (or New York) that kiting is safe. All my friends who are long time kiters seem to wear knee braces. There has been no change in the danger that the four or so razor sharp kite lines pose which is the most significant safety issue for kiting. The release on the kite is better but you still need to pull it in a heck of a hurry in order to have it work and then the kite is out of control on 25m - actually make that 40m kite lines. Kiters can still get into serious trouble. In a squall a windsurfer can lay flat. What do you do with a kite besides let it go. Don't be to leeward when a kite flailing lines and a bar comes at you.

I have read enough of the ISAF Technical Report to know a sales job when I see one. There are safety claims that are untrue and claims for the sport overall when only a tiny fraction of 1% of all kites and "hulls" made are for racing. Just one example of many: The report claims a weight band of 55 to 90 kg but this is impossible on a planing hull and will be completely disproved once the sport has enough participants to be fully competitive.


Blanca Manchon joined the chorus of international protest when she lambasted the Spanish Sailing Federation's decision to vote for kite racing at the 2016 Olympics. In her letter to the Federation she asserted: "The behind-the-scenes politics and lobbying by the ISAF managers in favor of kiteboarding on countries that usually cast a blank vote, not having representatives in any of the two disciplines, and the absence in that vote of the Asian countries, a driving force behind windsurf’s Olympic presence..I got shocked and confused to see that my own country, Spain, had voted for the kite, which in turn influenced the Latin American vote to switch from windsurfing to kiteboarding." The Petition passed 25,000 signatures on Friday, May 26 just 20 days after it was started.

David Leggat of the New Zealand Herald laid to rest an often suggested path for dealing with the 2 boardsports. He reported, "There have been suggestions the kites could have been introduced as a demonstration sport for Rio with an eye towards perhaps being brought in for 2020. Problem is the IOC don't do demos any more. So you're either in or you're not." From the same article he offered this insight: "One point: there has been no animosity between the two board disciplines. The kiteboarders have no need for it as they're in the box seat; the windsurfers insist their beef is with the ISAF." Kiter, Robbie Douglas, current world speed sailing record holder, reinforced this sentiment with his Facebook poster: "Unite Here (which) means let's go sailing.....kitesurfer or windsurfer! I could care less about ISAF, the politics and sailing in 6 knots in Rio."

Current Wave Sailing World Champion, Philip Koster has a drivers license...He wrote: "Yes !!!!!!!!!!! I have my driver license !! big thanks to : Fahrschule Fahrzination in Hamburg . I had a lot of fun and a lot of nights of learning, 2 weeks without windsurfing ............ and I promise not to drive like I am windsurfing. The second photo shows that modern sports champions don't always make the Wheaties box...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

MRS · ISAF · Windsurfer · Learners guide

The Maui Race Series is composed of 5 separate one day slalom events. Race Director, Rick Vetromile, has been a part of every series since the first races in 1985. This will be the 28th consecutive year for the longest running slalom series in the U.S.
  • North Sails Slalom ~ June 2
  • DaKine Classic ~ June 16
  • Hot Sails Maui Grand Prix ~ June 30
  • Quicksilver Cup ~ July 14
  • Neil Pryde Hawaii State Championship ~ July 28
Connect with the racing at Karen and Jeff Bennett's Maui Race Series Website .  If you want to race, you must fill out, in advance, the  Maui Race Series Entry Form. Mail to Hi-Tech along with your payment by check or money order (US funds) or just drop it by Hi-Tech. The rules governing the Maui Race Series are laid out in this four-page pamphlet: Maui Race Series Rules. Look to Harry Wiewel's Maui Race Series Facebook for more reporting and information.

For last year's race results go to the Hi-Tech Windsurf Events Page. Video from last year:

The monster controversy over the ISAF decision to send kiting to the 2016 Olympics at the expense of windsurfing continues to boil over. We continue to learn more about the unintentional mistakes and misunderstandings surrounding the 19 - 17 vote that sank windsurfing for the Rio Games. If Spain had voted correctly, as they claimed they didn't, the vote would have been tied in which case the RS:X Class would be racing in Brazil. Others are beginning to confess that their votes were also misunderstood. The impression surfacing is that some on the Council were surprised and unprepared for the big decision and made mistakes in casting their votes. Those mistakes had big consequences for windsurfing.

Will the revelations of mistaken votes have an impact? It might help in the lobbying campaign to convince the Council to consider a revote of the decision at the upcoming Annual Meeting. The inner workings of the ISAF are slowly coming to light. Personally, I was surprised to learn how big the U.S. influence was with 3 votes cast for kiting. And the popular press continues to uncover new details of the story. Reuters reported: "The delegates were probably confused or didn't understand the motion fully because of language difficulties, or some may have been napping at the presentations and then cast their votes without realising the implications," said Yehuda Maayan. Mr. Neil Pryde, in an article from the South China Morning Post, gave an in depth interview where he said: "The ISAF is represented by all member countries and most come from the yacht brigade. What they have done is to safeguard their narrow interests and sacrificed windsurfing. What they don't realise is the whole sport of sailing is in danger of being kicked out of the Olympics."

Scuttlebutt, who reprinted the Neil Pryde article, followed it up with their article about Johnny Heineken, 2011 Kite Course Racing World Champion. Heineken said: "The challenge now is for kiteboarding to maintain our equipment regulations about as they are now. If we end up with an RS:X situation (current Olympic windsurfer), it will be over. So, I think we have two main things to address right now: Keep the box rule and open (production) kite rule. We cannot go one design...We also have to address how to integrate the ISAF Sailing World Cup events and our current kite racing schedule..."

David Leggat has now written several articles for the New Zealand Herald about the ISAF kerfuffle. In Wednesday's article he adds: "Venezuela are unhappy that one of the ISAF vice-presidents, Theresa Lara, a Venezuelan, voted for kiteboarding. The Venezuelan federation has written of its 'total and absolute disagreement' with Lara's vote. It claims talks were held before the key meeting and voting for kiteboarding 'was never an option under any circumstances'." Friday's report by Leggat revealed that Fiona Kidd of Canada has apologized for her pro kite vote and is willing to change her vote in favor of the RS:X at the Annual Meeting in Ireland. Marina Alabau reported: "Singapore has had the same problem as Spain and Venezuela. The Singapore Federation wishes to vote for Windsurfing but their Vice- President of ISAF voted for Kite. Now there are 3 Countries with discrepancies, why is ISAF not saying anything?"

Nevin Sayre, in a scathing open letter to U.S. Sailing, questioned their 3 vote support of kiting, the wisdom of going all in on a as yet unproven racing class, the lack of any youth development plan and the very safety of the sport. In fact Sayre said, "There is no way I would allow my kids to kitesurf."

One week later, the windsurfing FUBAR story of the decade continues to unfold with new revelations about the vote and what, if anything, has been settled for the new ISAF Kite Racing Class. Who knows which country will recant their vote next week.

Meanwhile back at the Petition that's asking to return windsurfing to the of Noon EST May 20, there are 23,943 signatures.

Brian McDowell's 29th issue. Read the May 2012 Issue Now

The Learners guide to windsurfing has reconnected with the original first 8 Boards articles in the Jem Hall Wannabe a Wavesailor series. Thanks to Ezzy Sails for reposting these to their server. Link up with them and 30 other articles from the series on the page, Wannabe a Wavesailor. Find 2 more new wave sailing technique videos by Jem on the Waves Page. And, on the same page, link up with the "Wave Sailing 101" 3 part series from Windsurfer international by Kevin Pritchard.

My shameless plug: The Learners guide is the most comprehensive collection of instructional material anywhere. It will help all who want to learn more about windsurfing.

My shameless plea: Share the website by linking it on your windsurfing interest group.

Just in case: If you use Microsoft products and have trouble seeing all the content on the Learners guide, a Goggle Sites website, try using Goggle's Chrome Browser. To be able to edit the website, I had to download Chrome (and if you need to fix a similar issue, be careful not to accept anything from them you don't want). Seems the 2 internet titans have issues with compatibilty and we peeps are caught in the middle of this squabble.

Need to say something? Comment here  or if you Facebook,  Message here.

Here's an interesting  jibing tutorial (recognize the first voice?) and a unique method for learning the forward loop:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The ISAF Board Sport Kerfuffle

 The change game is afoot. There is a rising voice of protest against the ISAF decision, narrowly passed by a 19 to 17 margin, to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing at the 2016 Olympics. The RS:X Class is scheduled for the moth ball fleet, perhaps to be brought back 8 years later, but maybe never again as an Olympic sport. This November, after the 2012 London Games, the ISAF Council will convene again for their Annual Meeting. Rory Ramsden, RS:X Class Secretary, reported: "We need 75% (27 of the 36 Council Members) to vote in favour of accepting a submission to change the decision, then a majority once that has happened." This would require that 10 members of the 19 pro kite side of the votes cast in May would have to vote for reconsideration of the issue. 

The New Zealand Herald reported: "The Spanish Sailing Federation (REFV) yesterday (May 11) admitted its delegate voted incorrectly for kiteboarding at the expense of windsurfing at the International Sailing Federation meeting in Italy last weekend due to confusion at the process used...Without the Spanish blunder the count would have sat deadlocked at 18-all. REFV president Gerard Pombo accepted responsibility and apologised."

James Douglass observed: "Anyway, what seems to have happened is that lobbyists for Olympic kiteboarding miraculously convinced sailing's governing bodies to overlook their usual one-design constraints and wind minimums to consider the current form of kiteboard racing for an Olympic slot. Then, when compared against the RS:X windsurfing class, which is still crippled by the one-design rules and the air-rowing dynamic, kiteboarding looked a lot more spectacular and had the leg up for Olympic selection."

Ever since the decision, a vociferous mob of opinion has been boiling over about this once every 4 year regatta. Make no mistake, having your sport in the Olympics is a big time opportunity for peer legitimacy, promotion and development. It's muy bueno for the sport and the business of that sport. When little Susie shows an interest and maybe even an aptitude for the sport, Mom and Dad are more likely to plunk down the big bucks for her if they think...maybe one day she could go to the Olympics.

They want to use the petition to show the strength of support for windsurfing. If you agree: Sign the Petition. The quotes below are just a few and hopefully touch on most of the far ranging thoughts now circulating in and around the issue. I apologize for snipping these from their larger context and have linked the original source as best I could. Every link in this article leads to more commentary and or reporting. There is a mountainous volume of material to read.

Michael Raper "This decision by ISAF is bittersweet; many of us believe there were many other sailing classes that could have been dropped instead of windsurfing. RSX windsurfing is a dynamic and exciting sport, with a strong base of young aspiring sailors, especially in developing countries that have invested so heavily. The windsurfing culture has been built up over the years and we hope this decision does not dampen any spirits."  Cabrinha Kites

Jim DeSilva "As shortsighted as dropping the cats was last go round, this decision to drop windsurfing is even more egregious. Considering the extremely large numbers of people windsurfing across the globe, that windsurfing is an inexpensive form of sailing competition, and that windsurfing is one of the most exciting forms of competition, the decision to drop it from the games is very curious. Including kiting may be a good move...but why drop windsurfing when you have such a large amount of programs worldwide supporting training, racing and youth development into the Olympics? There are exponentially more people windsurfing racing than kite racing, you cannot even compare the numbers..." Scuttlebutt (Page down to the Guest Commentary)

Barbara Kendall  "I need to know from the people that are out there racing kites - what sort of facilities are required for staging a kiting event. How much space is required for launching? will kiters be able to be incorporated inside the Olympic Marina in Rio or will another site be needed for the kites? I need to know the risks involved in racing in offshore - 6 knots? if the wind dies whether kiters can get bac...k to the shore without being rescued? can these new board float a human so they can paddle? These are the reputational risks involved. Also the risks involved for federations now who will be responsible for water safety of kites. For those that remember windsurfers were banned from many beaches! So please let me know the REAL risks from those that are competing in course race kiting. For those that don't know I am an IOC member so I am representing the IOC so I need to know facts. Keep Windsurfing Olympic FB

Steve Bodner "Obviously - a very happy crowd here in San Francisco with the kite racers ready to take the Olympic spotlight. I for one couldn't be more happy for them (and I've been racing windsurfers competitively since the early 90's- getting on the bus late but nonetheless enjoying the ride.) It's their time to shine so why not embrace it vs fighting it.28 years of Windsurfing as an Olympic sport 1984-2012 is not a bad run."  USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign

Rich Jeffries, ISAF Committee Member "The Chairman of the Events Committee and The Executive of ISAF positioned the issue to consider Kites by asking the sailing world: should we have board and/or kites in the Olympics? Since the ISAF knew that the International Olympic Committee would not grant sailing an additional medal or allow us to have more than the 380 athletes one had to go for one to be added. Should it have been windsurfers? No, but that is the way the ISAF set the stage. Much like catamarans have fought back and are now back in the 2016 Games in Rio, the windsurfers need to stand up and be counted. The RS:X class (the Olympic windsurfer) has started a petition drive. Scuttlebutt (Page down to Guest Commentary)

Ben Remocker "The root cause of all this controversy is the structure of ISAF. The system is set up to produce exactly the type of decisions that it does. Decisions – that are important, dramatic, and of high consequence – are made by the volunteer politicians of ISAF. For all the committees, papers, studies, and rhetoric, the sport is lead by decision making of the ISAF council, who preside and vote on each major decision at conferences twice per year." Port Tack Blog

Bryony Shaw "Old man politics playing with people’s lives! Wreck less in chopping and changing sailing disciplines with no consideration to dedicated athletes. My focus on London now seems heightened! New discipline for challenge" Dorset Echo

Nikola Girke "Kiteboarding should be a demonstration sport alongside windsurfing but not in lieu of windsurfing. Windsurfing has such a following, a great youth program worldwide … terrible mistake." CTV Olympics

Mike Gebhardt "‎3 kites to race...Rista fin set is 600 to 750 US dollar. Top riders do not change fins, use one set in 5 knots and 30 knots. Super double secret refers to the world record Speedsailor Rob Douglas I coach on a speed sailing project: We use kites...; we ride speed boards, they look like a waterski and are 10 inches wide, it is not a kite course racing board. still super double secret. You guys are sadly misinformed. You might want to read the reports written for ISAf by kiters for kitesurfing. Not for windsurf. No mention of windsurf. Was our job not to mention windsurf. it was out job to show ISAF we race in 5 to 25 knots. We did not recommend kite against windsurf, not one kiter. I helped run ISAF Kite evaluation. It was not a contest between windsurf and kite. It was only to show how and what kinds of racing we can do on kite. We rode in 5 knots in front of ISAF Prez Goran Peterson for 2 hours, He knows sailing. He now knows kiting. He was super impressed. Sorry, it's the truth.. In this same wind RSX not planing. Truth. Pumping. This had nothing to do with windsurfing. Kite report was about kite. Never mentioned windsurfing. Was pro/olympic windsurfer before most of you were born..did 5 Olympics, won 2 windsurf Olympic medals. I choose RSX board/ran trials for windsurf for ISAF. Many happy, few unhappy about that I picked and recommended RSX. It was best choice at the time.  Evolution needed. Might be time for windsurf to evolve again. I still windsurf and love windsurfing. Love kiting more. Sad windsurf out. kite lobby did not ask to vote kite against windsurf ever. You guys need to speak to Rory, if your pissed...all the best.....keep the sport you love." ISAF Atheletes Comission...Facebook

Ben Barger, Chairmen of the ISAF Atheletes' Commission "Many positives have been accomplished in this selection, with strong movement towards gender equality introducing an Olympic dream for many women worldwide. Tremendous progress. Also more one design, cheaper, faster and more diverse equipment will showcase a wider variety of types of sailing than ever before. Kiteboarding will now also have its time in the Olympic spotlight. But will it save the sport of sailing as so many counsel members debated yesterday?

The medal race didn't save the sport. Nor did (GPS) tracking. Nor has changing any equipment in the past. Only saving we need is from the indifference of ourselves. While I competed as a windsurfer I always felt as a second class citizen to sailing, most federation's don't even think it's sailing. Those same sailors voted to replace windsurfing with kiting. It was disturbing for me to watch. But also sadly understandable. Kiting is more popular in recreation.

Solving our inequalities is hopeful advice to my kiter friends that just joined the Olympic program. If we want our sport to work we must celebrate all our events equally and understand them fully. And to this we are improving slowly, but not fast enough. Sharing knowledge, asking questions and giving constructive criticism all while being transparent is the recipe. But without changing leadership we won't ever get good answers to pressing questions. 40 years ago when many counsel members were racing, there were 4 keel boats on the program, now there are none. Huge error was ISAF putting these sports against each other. It's like the IOC making a vote between swimming and gymnastics, its an utter idiotic vote and a blood bath.

Development for windsurfing is a completely different track than traditional sailing. That's thousands of youths now displaced. I truly feel for those federations and athletes that lived their life in the discipline. Its like you woke up and all of a sudden your life career is over.. The windsurfing petition group already has 9000 members in one day and I encourage you to listen to key press releases released from the class on their actions.. I'll be curious to see how ISAF handles this one. They were burned hard for the multi hulls exclusion. Now they've got Keelboat and windsurfing as a newly removed.

Counsel just made a gut decision.. But their enthusiasm was something I've never seen them have for anything before. The King spoke for the first time since he recommended the Europe class, and everyone there believed they did the right thing to add kiteboarding, like myself. BUT removing windsurfing was one of the worst things ISAF has ever done. It clearly shows the weakness in how the organization makes key decisions.

Kiting and windsurfing is less similar than a Finn and Laser. Same with 470 and 49er. Its hard to understand how that unique skill set was so carelessly discarded, it's what made windsurfing such a challenge.

Diversity in the sailing program should be celebrated to the fullest. Equipment and changes should always be phased in with good reviews, tons of feedback and transition plans. Yet I leave Stresa, Italy knowing what I spent my younger years fully devoted to culminating in my racing at the 2008 Olympics is now a lost art. Defunct. It stings to be there first hand and see the Counsel move on without any windsurfing debate. Without any idea what kiting will really do. And now it's the day after. What will the thousands of windsurfer's dreaming of the Olympics do now?

If you were on the Council what would you have said?

But we must stay positive. Nothing I hate more than a sleazy competitor. Let these moments define the windsurfer's struggle. And let's congratulate kiting. And help bring your skills to a new challenge." ISAF Atheletes Commission...Facebook

Monday, May 7, 2012

AWT · ISAF Cancels Windsurfing · Windsport

Day 1  Santa Cruz Goya Windsurfing Festival · AWT reported: "A weak storm front rolls through the Santa Cruz area killing the wind for day 1 of the AWT's Goya Windsurfing Festival... but don't fear, the forecast looks great for the rest of the weekend. Skippers meeting will be at 9 am Friday so everyone will be ready for a big day at Waddell Creek."

Day 1 Photos by : Windsport ~ Windsport Registration ~ AWT

Day 2   Santa Cruz Delivers · Russ Faurot reported: "The AWT scores for the first event of 2012 with killer wind and waves at Waddell Beach. Day two marked the completion of almost a full single elimination bracket (only a couple heats are left in the Amateurs and Masters divisions) with two more days in store to complete the single and run the double elimination." Highlights included:

  • Brawzinho’s Double forwards
  • Levi Siver’s planing Wave 360s
  • Bernd Roediger ripping his way into the final
  • Overall high level of sailing talent
Hot Sails Maui's Chris Freeman recounted: "As the day progressed the wind ramped up and so did the action, wave riding turned to wave riding + jumps and at the very end of the day we were back to waves only on what was a thrilling day of big jumps, slick waves and huge crashes in the cold surf. With just a few rounds to be completed in the single elimination, Saturday will bring the double and chance for all to improve on their current rankings."

Day 2 Photos by : AWT ~ Windsport ~ Pressure Drop ~ Mike Shklovski ~ AD Surf Photos 1 ~ Widgic Studio

Single Elimination results were completed mostly on Friday. There was an impressive field of 24 in the Pro Division including notables Nathan Mershon, Kevin Pritchard, Josh Stone, Francisco Goya, Kai Katchadourian and Tyson Poor. Top 4 results: Levi Siver ~ Marcillio Browne ~ Graham Ezzy ~ Bernd Roediger

The Amateur Division had 35 competitors and finished their Single elimination bracket on Saturday. The top 4 were: Jerry McKay ~ Alex Poore ~ Dave Robinson ~ Chris Freeman

The Womens Division had 8 competitors and the top 4 were: Ingrid Larouche ~ Sam Bittner ~ Leah Doren ~ Fiona Wylde

The Youth Division had 5 participants and was scored differently than everyone else. Combining Friday and Saturday's heats, the top 4 scores were:  Harley Stone ~ Nick Dudet ~ Casey Rehrer ~ Fiona Wylde

The Masters Division with 22 participants concluded their bracket on Saturday. Top 4 were: Reed Nielson ~ Brian Caserio ~ Bruce Dilbeck ~ Seth Levy

Friday's Single Elimination heat by heat bracket history.

Day 3· Russ Faurot reported: "Wind and waves hit Waddell Beach again for the third day of the AWT: Goya Windsurfing Festival. The single eliminations for the amateur and master divisions where completed and some intense double elimination action was begun. Today’s the final day so we are looking to complete the double eliminations and run an expression session for a Chinook boom. The closing party will be at Davenport Surf and Sail tonight where $5,000 will be awarded to the event winners!"

Chris Freeman added: "Another long day on the water (and on the beach for some). With just a few heats remaining in the Masters and Am fleets this morning it was quickly time for the double elimination rounds to start in all divisions. In the Am division it was Casey who made his way through the double elimination heats and he would eventually face Chris (who made up for yesterdays hiccup and won through his two heats) in the later stages, unfortunately at the end of the day the wind died before the heat could be completed..." The Double Elimination Brackets were started but not finished.

Day 3 Photos by:  AWT 

Saturday's Double Elimination heat by heat bracket history.

Day 4 · Russ Faurot reported: "The Santa Cruz Goya Windsurfing Festival is in the books and will be remembered for years to come as an epic contest. We had amazing wind and waves over two days of competition. What a great way to kick off the 2012 AWT tour. Davenport Surf and Sail hosted an incredible closing party where all the winners and $5,000 prize money was awarded. Thanks to everyone who helped out and supported this great event. See you all at Pistol River next month."

Conditions on Sunday did not allow the continuation of the Double Elimination Brackets, thus forcing  the Single Elimination results to determine the event winners. Sam Bittner reported "Last year's contest drew 75 competitors, and 80 signed up this year."

Sunday Photos by: AWT

* I will add to this report when new material is posted *

714 new photos from Widgic Studio linked on Day 2. 

Team MauiSails event report: MauiSails at the AWT.

Windsport has a 20+ video collection of the individual heats.


The International Sailing Federation voted windsurfing out and kiting in for the 2016 Olympic Games headed to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Saturday, May 5, the Council voted 19 to 17 to end windsurfing's 32 year, 8 Olympiads run, which began in 1984.

As expected, the windsurf community is in a state of shock and disbelief. Ben Remocker reacted: "PR and strategic disaster for ISAF. We now have 470 men, 470 women, 49er men, 49er women, and Nacra 17 mixed that all require the same basic skills and body type, yet we kick out windsurfing, where the campaigns are cheap, athletes are fit, and the easiest medium to spread our sport around the world...Did we just kick out the cheapest and 2nd most popular class?"  Bryan McDonald acknowledged the new reality with a dash of hopeful disbelief. "Congrats to kiting and I'm with Bruno that we need additional medals for windsurfing!! Due to the worldwide popularity of windsurfing and how available it is for emerging countries, I'd be amazed if it was shut out." 

Britain's,  The Independent reported : "I am raw, sore, and shell-shocked by the decision," said Rory Ramsden, secretary of the RSX board association, returning from the meeting in Italy of the world governing body, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The French are said to be 'devastated'.

It would take a two thirds majority at ISAF’s annual general meeting in November to overturn the decision taken on a 19-17 vote by the ISAF council at the end of its mid-term meeting.

What rocked Ramsden was the way in which the tide turned against him at the final, emotionally charged meeting. John Crebbin, representing Ireland, made a strongly supportive speech in favour of kites. He was joined by American representative Charley Cook, Kamen Fillyov of Bulgaria, the chairman of ISAF’s windsurfing and kiteboarding committee, voted in favour of kites, there was unexpectedly strong support from Spain, and even a speech in favour from the former King of Greece..."

In the wake of this decision: disappointment, anger and protest. By midnight on the same day of the decision, Appeal against kite surfing..., a Facebook Group (with an insane amount of commentary) only 12 hours old had 9,618 members; 24 hours later, they had 13,213. The social action platform,, had gathered over 1,000 signatures in less than 12 hours in protest of the ISAF decision; 24 hours later they have 4,456.