We would like to inform you of the final decisions made regarding the format and equipment rule changes for 2023 and 2024.
This entire process has not been straightforward and there have been a huge number of considerations. Trying to balance the huge range of very different and fiercely strong opinions presented to us, even including occasional threats and ultimatums, made it feel like an impossible task to find the right compromise. At every step we wanted to keep in mind and thoroughly consider the best interests of the sport, the value to organizers and media, and racing value for sailors, whilst aligning with the current market while and not jeopardising the exciting future ahead. Perhaps for the first time in the history of our sport all those things didn’t necessarily align so naturally, and we were put in this very uncomfortable position to try to decide what is for the best.
But we are all individually aware that we stood, and were elected, to do just that, so we all felt the need to tackle this responsibility seriously and thoroughly, spending huge amounts of time on calls, emails and messages. We’d much rather work on how to get new events, how to bring better media, how to collaborate with other windsurfing organizations, how to bring more youth into the sport etc, but it was made abundantly clear to us by the members of windsurfing industry that this is the priority, so here we are. Without further ado:
Format – 2023 and 2024
For 2023 and 2024 the format will stay the same, meaning one slalom discipline, mixed foiling and planning hull fin slalom, based on a strong majority from the industry votes. Taking these votes, and rider feedback into account, we strongly believe that equipment regulations will best determine the conditions in which the switch from foil to fin happens, so that is where changes will be made.
Equipment rules - 2024
For 2024 we have largely followed the majority of votes from the industry, namely:
6 sails, free choice for sailors
3 boards, out of which 2 have to be dedicated fin boards
1 mast, 2 front wings, 2 fuselages and 2 back wings.
We think that by 2024 this set of equipment rules might be outdated, as the water sports world moves more and more towards foiling and it potentially blocks a lot of foil only competitors coming over from iQFOil and other classes, but we have to lean on our partners from the industry here and we fully respect their vote.
However, for 2023 it is clearly too late for board brands to develop new “one size fits all” foil boards to meet the upcoming registration deadline and, after discussing with you all, we reached a conclusion that changing board rules now and allowing delayed registration deadlines would mean a huge financial strain for the brands in order to design new boards, in a far from ideal economy.
Therefore we have decided to implement the following rules for 2023:
Equipment Rules 2023
6 sails, free choice for sailors
3 boards, out of which 1 has to be a dedicated fin board
1 mast, 2 front wings, 2 fuselages and 2 back wings
After consulting with the riders we strongly believe that reducing the number of front wings is enough to match the criteria of changing from foil to fin in around 17 knots. Japan showed that in winds in the 15-25 knot range even with 3 wings available a lot of sailors were choosing the fin, so we feel that the proposed rules match the format proposed in the poll 100%.
A big part of the decision for 2023 was to avoid incurring additional development and production costs for board manufacturers to create new designs at short notice, therefore the existing deadlines for boards and sails shall remain as previously published. However, we felt that the change in foil rules would require wings of different sizes to those currently being planned. Therefore foil registration deadlines will be extended to 15th February 2023. That means the final deadlines will be:
Boards: 15th December 2022
Sails: 31st December 2022
Foils: 15th February 2023
We truly hope that this settles the discussion and we can now shift our focus to securing the best possible tour for 2023 and beyond.
Your PWA Management Board