In May 2012, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) made the decision to replace the windsurfing events at the Olympics with kiteboard racing. This decision came as a big surprise to windsurfers: their sport has been a pillar of the Olympic Sailing Programme since 1984, and modern sailing at the Olympics owes a lot to windsurfing. But the ISAF decision came as a big surprise to us kiters as well: windsurfers supported our rise within ISAF over the years, and we wouldn't have come so far so fast if it hadn't been for our windsurfing brothers.
ISAF's decision has put our sport in the spotlight, and we should rejoice, but it feels like we stabbed windsurfing in the back. We killed the dreams, and investments, of thousands of aspiring Olympians who, on Techno or RS:X, have been preparing for years for their own place in the spotlight. This makes victory very, very sour.
We shouldn't have to accept this. Let's take the moral high ground. The IKA (International Kiteboarding Association) represents our interests at ISAF. Let's ask the IKA to decline those spots on the Olympic Sailing Programme as long as Windsurfing isn't reinstated. If ISAF and the IOC are so desperate to add youth and media appeal to the Olympic Regatta, let them find a solution.
What's the worst thing that can happen? We're kicked out of the Olympics, and so is Windsurfing. But we'll be able to hold our heads high. And who knows, freed from the constraints that ISAF places on our sports, we might team up with our other friends on the beach (surfers, freestylers, paddlers, etc.) and carve our own path into the Olympics!
Let's stand up for each other. That's what brothers do.
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