Rod Davis: Where angels fear to tread - Kites vs Windsurfers

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) Gold Medalist in the Mens Windsurfing makes a spectacular return to shore - Men’s Windsurfing - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition

Double Olympic medalist and coach, Rod Davis, enters the Windsurfer and Kiteboard debate

Several months ago, the International Sailing Federation, the sailing’s world governing body, decided to take Kite boarding to the 2016 Olympic Games.

The collateral damage of that decision is: Windsurfing is out.

Talk about the crap hitting the fan! Some saw it as a forward progressive thinking, most were stunned by the disbelief of it all.

Quickly the windsurfing fraternity started a counter-revolution, mounting what might be described as a rebellion. They wanted heads to roll. The ISAF representatives and any country that voted for the kite boards should be the first with their necks on the chopping block.

Too bad the board lobbyists did not muster their troops before the vote, when the first warning shots were fired.

Six months previously a call to arms was issued by ISAF: The question of windsurfers or kite boards as an Olympic class will be decided at the May meetings.

Day One of the inaugural Kiteboard Class. 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta. Photo by Kiteboard Tour Asia.
Guy Nowell
I don’t have a side in this war. No vested interest it sailing either one in a competitive way, I am not a coach to, nor do I profit from either windsurfing or kiteboarding. That makes me unusual as most of what you hear and read, with all its passion and theatre, is dealing to self interest.

I am surprised as anyone that the kiteboard got voted in over the windsurfer but upon further reflection I am not convinced that is a bad thing.

The kiteboarder's mantra is that their form of sailing is the fastest growing in the world. Windsurfers counter with 'but there is no established racing as we know it'. Point and counter point, like a debate, but a debate that has a lot at stake for each side.

Take a step back for moment and answer one question. 'Is kite boarding the future?' If your answer is yes, then it should be brought into the highest level of the sport - as soon as possible. No mucking around, let’s get on with it.

If windsurfers are the future that will expand the Olympic spirit and sailing within that, 'Great' let’s go back to them.

The point is 'don’t be afraid of change just because it is change.' Embrace it.

Everything else will become details that will, and have been, handled in the past.

Like when the revolutionary, new fangled event of stand-up-sailing-surf-board was inserted into the hallowed ranks of the classes sailed at the 84 Olympic Games.