Windsurfing begins era of foils
According to the VFPS press service, from October 26 to November 4, the annual World Sailing conference will be held in Bermuda, where among many questions it will be decided in which class of the sailing board the Olympic Games-2024 medals will be played.
Recall that the International Sailing Federation (World Sailing) in July of this year announced a competitive selection of sailing boards for windsurfing competitions at the Olympic Games-2024. Twenty professional athletes – 10 men and 10 women from different countries tested five classes of boards (two traditional, without a wing, Glide and the current Olympic class RS: X, as well as three classes of boards on the wing – Starboard iFoil, Wind Foil 1 and Formula Foil limited ) and expressed their opinion of the WS Commission. Among the windsurfer-testers was Russian Maxim Oberemko.
The news that the International Federation Commission gave preference to the Starboard iFoil came during the Russian Championship in RS: X class. The head coach of the national team Natalya Ivanova, taking this opportunity, announced a general meeting of athletes and coaches to understand how windsurfing masters relate to the proposed change in the Olympic class.
Maksim Oberemko, a trainer at the Krestovsky Ostrov sailing school, who attended the meeting, shared his impressions of walking on the foil and explained the advantage of the class offered by the Commission as an Olympic one.
“Even if you just look from the side, the foil is prettier, more spectacular, faster and newer than RS: X,” said Maxim Oberemko. – RS: X was recognized as an Olympic class in 2005. Half of the children who are chasing him now have not even been born! Personally, I lost interest in windsurfing, the desire to go out every day to the water – not like a job, but to drive myself – ten years ago. And five years ago I realized that this Olympic class had outlived itself. And actually, if not for the foyl, I would not have returned.
Foyle racing is more about sailing than RS: X in its purest form. When walking on the foyle, there is less cyclic physical exertion, which interferes with work. Indeed, now in the Olympic class RS: X the component of sailing is disappearing: we plow like horses. How much you “raked out” is all yours. This is already some kind of rowing! This is especially indicative in waters where there is little wind, as in Sochi, for example.
It is clear that athletes who switch from RS: X to IFoil will have to think more, continues Maxim Oberemko. – Foyle fully maneuvers and chases already at seven knots. Yes, if the wind is very weak, it will be impossible to conduct a race. However, this does not happen so often. In addition, competitions on foyles provide another format – in a weak wind of less than seven knots, you can conduct slalom races. And for extreme conditions, for example, a strong or breaking wave – such a board has a fin. But I'm sure that in a year or two no one will use this fin. After all, it all depends on skill. "
The trainer considers the interest of young athletes in modern boards and high speeds as one of the main arguments for using foils: “I think that in a year or two we will have about as many young athletes as we have now. At the moment, young people have no interest in the Olympic class, because it is outdated. RS: X parents do not like – accordingly, they do not bring their children. After all, everyone wants the child to engage in an interesting sport. Foil races are very exciting. For example, I am already 40 years old. In 2017, I bought a foil. And already in March, he could hardly wait for the dawn, so that you could go for a drive. Despite the fact that I had never gone to water at this time of the year in my life in Yevpatoria. And here he was just waiting for the dawn. This was not like ten, even 30 years ago! ”
At the same time, the main problem of the RS: X class is not even its obsolescence, but the impossibility of the manufacturer, NeilPryde, to provide athletes with new boards and accessories for them. According to Mikhail Dubina, head coach of the Russian windsurfing team of Russia, in 2018 NeilPryde reduced its production capacity to a minimum. And sometimes athletes have to wait six months to buy a new mast or sail. Moreover, the quality of products from NeilPryde, to put it mildly, leaves much to be desired. The athletes are not happy with the price of the RS kit: X – about 7 thousand euros.
Starboard iFoil will cost a little cheaper. It is stated that the men's kit will cost 6829 euros, the female – 6729 euros, junior – 4259 euros. But they will have to buy a lot. And if athletes of the national team of the country are provided with boards, others will have to look for funds for a new expensive pleasure.
“I like the idea of racing in foyles,” said Stefania Elfutina, four-time champion of Russia in windsurfing, bronze winner of the 2016 Olympic Games. – But doesn’t it happen that next year five people will compete in the national championship? It is unlikely that in the near future the regions will be able to purchase the necessary number of new boards. Then what kind of windsurfing development can we talk about? ”
“All the same, the materiel must be constantly updated,” says Maxim Oberemko. – In a good way, sails should be changed once every six months, and the boards themselves – once a year. It is clear that not everyone can afford it, someone chases with the old sail for several years, but gradually such a replacement will happen anyway. ”
The champion of Russia 2019 Alexander Askerov supported the idea of switching to new boards. According to one of the leaders of the national team, progress does not stand still – all over the world they have long been chasing foyles. And if we don’t switch to foyles now, we can lag behind athletes from other countries.
In general, the majority of those present supported the transition to a new class of sailing board. Although there were many questions. How Safe Will Foyle Workouts Be? What class of boards will lead to Starboard iFoil? How will the competition be held in light wind conditions?
The head coaches of the main and youth national teams of the country Natalya Ivanova and Anastasia Chernova carefully listened to the athletes and coaches. And they promised that the opinion of experts will be taken into account when forming the position of our country regarding the change of the Olympic windsurfing class.
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