Rio 2016: The campaign to put windsurfing back in the Olympics

Tom Ashley leading the pack upwind at at the World Championships - Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Ocean Images

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

I may have been raw, sore and shell shocked when I got home from the ISAF Mid Year Meeting in Streza, Italy but a quick check on the web told me that I was not the only one.


As I write, the petition inviting ISAF to review their decision is past 13800 subscribers and the Facebook Group set up by others has 16,000 followers and climbing (Review the petition below).

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Keep Windsurfing as a Olympic Discipline

Greetings,

I just signed the following petition addressed to: ISAF.

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Keep Windsurfing as a Olympic Discipline

So many dreams crushed, jobs destroyed and years of training put to waste.. A sport that is growing more than ever whilst being a true Olympic discipline, requiring physical fitness, tactics and discipline, crushed by a council that has probably never windsurfed before, let alone raced. Have they thought of the industry? The people who spend thousands upon thousands on the kit they chose to impose as a one design class?

Sign the petition and appeal against the controversial (let alone awful) decision made by ISAF to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing at the Olympics..

Whilst the logic behind competitive kitesurfing is leaving a lot of people confused, there is no reason why we cannot have both Windsurfing and Kitesurfing as Olympic classes. If they want to cut disciplines, at least let it be even and justified throughout the sports.


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Sincerely,

[Your name]

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The campaign to put windsurfing back in the Olympics will not be easy. Nor will it be a sprint. It is more likely to be a marathon but when the going gets tough, the tough get going. The RS:X Class fully realize that this is not a matter just for them. It is a matter for the whole sport of windsurfing.

The initiatives to set up a petition did not come from within the RS:X Class nor did the Facebook Group. They came as a result of the spontaneous combustion of anger and frustration felt by windsurfers round the world. People from more than 100 countries are involved in some way or another.

So what happens now...well, we have to make a strategy and execute it whilst crowd sourcing volunteers to carry some of the load.

In the short term, it could look like this...

1. Identify and pull together all of our assets
2. Organise a meeting of stakeholders
3. Create a 'Vote Windsurfing Campaign Team' drawn from all corners of windsurfing
4. Make a multi-layered strategy and action plan
5. Lobby, Lobby, Lobby
6. Send a Lobby team to the ISAF November meeting with a clear strategy

We feel very strongly that everyone with something to lose has to be engaged in the process. Those with time to spare, expertise to share or resources to offer should contact votewindsurfing@gmail.com in the meantime there is plenty to do.

If you have a smartphone or video camera and know a young racer - do this...

Use a smartphone, make a short video with each young racer... ask two questions?

1. Why do you love windsurfing
2. What impact has the ISAF decision had on your hopes and dreams?

If you know a parent of a young racer with Olympic dreams - do this:

Ask how they feel about putting their kids into what some might view as an extreme sport that many feel has the potential to impact the rest of their lives in a bad way.

Don't over complicate what you're video clips. Keep them simple. We can edit, convert, encode and upload on to a dedicated Youtube.com channel and Facebook. Just send your raw footage.

It's a simple thing to do. Anyone can get involved. But it is a powerful way to send a message to those responsible for this travesty.

Then we would ask you to share, tweet, and blog your hearts out.

Send your video clip to votewindsurfing@gmail.com together with any ideas that you think will help.

If we all pick up a stone, we can move Mount Everest!

Go here to sign the Petition

Information about the decision can be found here

Join the facebook group