According to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) the sport known as kiteboarding will replace windsurfing after the 2012 London summer games. This announcement has come as a surprise to those planning to compete in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. The vote took place during the 2012 ISAF mid-year meeting in Stresa, Italy. During this meeting the ISAF Council also confirmed the equipment to be used in the Mixed Multihull and Women’s Skiff comptetitions.
An evaluation group was formed in November 2011 to look at the kiteboarding formats with the water board events for the Rio summer games in 2016 defined as ‘windsurfing and/or kiteboarding’. Not only did the group recommend kiteboarding to be included in the ISAF event family, but they went a step further and selected kiteboarding to be the event in the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
The president of the ISAF, Göran Petersson, made the following statement:
“These announcements mark a new era for sailing and we welcome the new classes into the ISAF family. The equipment selections have fulfilled the criteria set out by the Evaluation Panel and we look forward to seeing the boats not only at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the ISAF Sailing World Cup and ISAF Sailing World Championships.”
“Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games.”
In the Rio 2016 Summer Games there will be both a men’s and women’s kiteboarding event, with another eight sailing events including two-person mixed multihull and a number of Dinghy events. All ten events will be featured in the 2012 – 2013 Sailing World Cup with begins in Melbourne, Australia and concludes in Santander, Spain in 2014 for the ISAF Sailing World Championships.
There are detractors to the decision, however, including Peter Conde, Yachting Australia’s high performance director. As he told Reuters:
“Obviously we’ve got quite a few young sailors in particular who have been campaigning and building a campaign particularly with 2016 in mind and I guess we’ve been investing via national windsurfing programs. Clearly those sailors are pretty devastated. At least at first (glance) it looks like their dreams have been dashed by this decision.
“I guess it remains to be seen as to whether many of those athletes might want to take a fresh look and embrace kiteboarding as a new discipline. I guess we’d be encouraging them to look at it.”
There has been a vow from a number of windsurfing federations to campaign the ISAF for the reinstatement of the sport, including Beijing bronze medalist Bryony Shaw.