Australian Windsurfing

Formula Windsurfing Olympic Class Bid

The Bid is made by IBSA to ISAF, supported by IFCA and the PWA, founder members of the IWA.


Windsurfing equipment evolves very quickly : each year sees improvements in board and sail design. The Mistral One Design has now been in use since 1993. Sailing on a Mistral One Design has been compared with skiing on wooden skis – it is not representative of the sport, and is therefore neither exciting nor relevant. Formula Windsurfing allows development, and means that windsurfing will never again be locked into the past ; a free market also ensures the best equipment at the lowest prices.

Modern equipment is fully capable of planing in less than 7 knots of wind : meaning that Olympic windsurfing can be exciting and attractive, and provide positive promotion for the sport.

Formula Windsurfing reflects the contemporary sport : more than 57,000 boards were sold over the last two years, less than 2,000 of these were the Mistral One Design : these were provided primarily to National Federations for their Olympic use, they were not recreational sales.

Most importantly, by adopting Formula Windsurfing as the Olympic Class, windsurfing will finally be united with ISAF : by integrating the grassroots of the sport into the day to day business of the MNAs, ISAF will finally represent the sport in essence, as well as statute.


1. Olympic Windsurfing should reflect competition formats on all levels and around the world.
Funboard racing represents a clear majority of competitive windsurfers globally, with competition at all levels - Elite, National, Youth and Women’s.

In 2000, of 44 national windsurfing associations surveyed, 32 were already running Formula Windsurf competition – unprompted development based on its simple successful formula. ALL IFCA National Windsurfing Associations (43 countries) will race Formula Windsurfing rules for 2001 for Course Racing.

Formula Windsurfing has a full program of international standard events scheduled for 2000-2003 including in 2000 : a World Championship, 4 Continental championships (Europe, North America, South America, Asia), European Points Series and a Youth and Masters World Championship.

2. Olympic Windsurfing should be modern and attractive for both the participants and the media.
The image of a planing windsurfing board travelling at high speed is attractive to the media: the image of a board being ‘pumped’ along at low speeds is not attractive to the press or media.

The potential appeal of Formula Windsurfing is indicated by the popularity of the PWA, which attracts crowds of over 20,000 at its biggest events, enjoys its own 26 part TV series in 45 counties. Funboard is the almost exclusive focus of the windsurf press : the windsurfing media support for Formula Windsurfing is practically unanimous.

Courses and Race Formats have been developed (and continue to be developed) to satisfy the needs of both competitors and media across the entire wind range and a variety of conditions, providing exciting competition for participants.

3. The format and equipment should be usable for competition all around the world.
Formula Windsurfing equipment is currently being raced nationally in 32 countries in all water from flat and sheltered through to heavy seas, and in wind speeds from 6 to 40 knots.

4. The equipment should be actively raced by women
The women who windsurf will use whatever equipment is chosen for 2004. Olympic windsurfing, irrespective of the material used has always achieved 30% participation by women athletes.

If Formula Windsurfing equipment is selected, women will have significantly more support from manufacturers and sponsors and the pool of women who might be interested in Olympic competition will be dramatically increased.

5. The equipment should be production equipment and commercially available around the world and if possible from more than one manufacturer.
By definition, the equipment used for Formula Windsurfing is production equipment commercially available from more than one manufacturer.

Five of the major windsurfing brands supporting the Formula Windsurfing Bid are distributed by ‘Boards and More’, who also distribute Mistral One Design : other manufacturers augment this, meaning that Formula Windsurfing equipment has demonstrably better distribution than One Design.

In ‘98 and ‘99, ISAF's own records show that at least 57,000 new Formula Windsurfing boards were built and distributed : in the same period, the same records show that less than 2000 IMCO one designs were built. Annual Production Board registration fees are more than 5 times the annual ISAF revenue from IMCO.

6. The format and equipment should be capable of being used in a wind range from 6 > 35 knots.
During the 1999 and 2000 racing seasons, National Windsurfing Authorities have constantly been providing feedback on Formula Windsurfing competition. So far in 2000 over 150 FW windsurf races have been held in 32 countries. The formats and courses of Formula Windsurfing more than comply with the 6 – 35 knot wind-speed requirement.

7. The equipment shall be of high quality, durable and affordable.
Formula Windsurfing equipment is fully "race developed" and utilises the latest build technology and materials. Rig and hull prices are similar to that of the "low tech" IMCO one design.

Manufacturers have agreed to support the class of Formula Windsurfing and a free market environment will ensure that equipment is high quality and that prices are kept low.

Breakages amongst other brands are generally far lower than for Mistral One Design.

8. Olympic windsurfing should be capable of being competed in by people in as wide a physique range as possible.
Placing strict limitations on equipment favours sailors of a certain size and weight.

The current fleet range for Olympic competitors is 61-74kg for the men and 52-65kg for the women. The current PWA race fleet range in body weight from 65-115 kg for the men and 50-85kg for the women.

Formula Windsurfing, allowing sailors to choose their own equipment – within limitations – enables a wider physical range of sailors to share a real opportunity of winning.

9. The format and equipment should reduce the need to pump, whilst at the same time being at least as physically demanding as it is now.
Formula Windsurfing relies upon physical effort to sail the equipment but does not rely upon physical effort to propel the board kinetically. No Formula Windsurfing race has ever relied upon pumping as the principal means of propulsion. In normal conditions (7 knots+) even 95 kilo sailors can plane.

Consequently Formula Windsurfing has no need for rules about the maximum number of races per day as racers are not exhausted and dehydrated from pumping round the course.

The Lightwind Elimination format guarantees that major events produce valid Champions!

10. Equal opportunity for all nations to compete at the highest level.
Should Formula Windsurfing equipment be selected for use at the 2004 Games, all boards will be provided free of charge by the manufacturers. Various packages are already on offer and these will increase if Formula Windsurfing is selected.

Improved distribution, greater existing availability, a free market, a greater ‘gene’ pool for competitors and far broader weight tolerances all provide nations with greater opportunity to compete.

11. Competitors in Olympic windsurfing on all levels should not be exposed to excessive health risks.
Formula Windsurfing does not rely on pumping and has no more health risks than any other style of sailing that has no reliance on pumping for propulsion.

12. The restrictions on the equipment: 1 board, 3 sails and other equipment restrictions to limit costs.
This is the definition of the Class.
Formula Windsurfing Youth competitors will be restricted to one board, two sails and one fin from next year.

13. Attract the best and best known sailors
The best known sailors compete within the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA), and the PWA has been strongly supportive of the campaign for Formula Windsurfing.

Formula Windsurfing provides an inclusive international class that allows the current Olympic, IFCA, IBSA and PWA sailors to compete on equal terms.

At this years Boot in Dusseldorf, Mistral’s own team riders, on the stand for a press and "Autograph session " were asked by an ISAF delegate : What is the future for Olympic windsurfing? The response was : "None with the current equipment."

14. Part of the programme should lead the sport and another part should reflect the sport.
Formula Windsurfing allows the PWA sailors, the stars of the sport, to compete in the Olympics, providing an aspirational lead for the sport.

It reflects the style of racing and equipment used by the vast majority of competitive and recreational windsurfers world-wide, encouraging development from both ends of the sports continuum.

Most importantly, Formula Windsurfing will lead the sport by allowing investment by National Federations into a majority, rather than a minority aspect of the sport.

15. In addition and finally, unifying the sport of windsurfing
Formula Windsurfing is uniting the sport of windsurfing : it has already united the IBSA, IFCA and the PWA, all of the magazines and all of the industry. The overwhelming majority of windsurfers use Funboards and support Formula.

These classes of windsurfing are forming the International Windsurfers Association : the IWA will produce a single calendar, a single rulebook and a single front for windsurfing.

The final hurdle is to unite Windsurfing and ISAF and only Formula Windsurfing can do this - by integrating the grassroots of the sport into the day to day business of the MNAs, ISAF will finally represent the sport in essence, as well as statute.

Lars Kleppich &
Michael Lancey