The two windsurfing events in the Olympic Regatta have
always attracted nations in which sailing is developing
because the equipment is the least expensive not only to
buy but also to campaign.
Shipping costs are reduced to a minimum. Road transport
is quick and easy. Just strap your board to the roof of your
car and you're off to the next regatta.
But are things about to change?
Behind closed doors, discussions are going on about introducing a biathlon style format for the two Olympic boards events. That is windsurfing and kitesurfing would be combined into one discipline wioth one athlete competing in both disciplines. How this would work has not been explained.
And it could get complicated!
Putting that aside for the moment, lets just focus on the implications if this idea became a reality.
Suddenly the two 'boards' medals would no longer be an inexpensive route into the 2016 Olympic Games. The cost would double at a stroke. The barrier to entry for the combined event would rocket to close to €10,000 for the equipment alone. That is closer to the price of a new 470 than a Laser.
One hopes that some cool heads in the boards sports community will sit down and do a thorough analysis of not only the opportunities but also the threats and weakenesses inherent in such a radical cost increase.
Me-thinks that the small and developing nations will take a lot of persuading before this idea becomes a reality. They are keen to keep costs down in every way possible. The ISAF Olympic Commission specifically identified cost as an area of concern. If our sport is to be open to all, the barrier of entry to competition at the highest level should be restrained as much as possible. Quite the reverse is in prospect.
In these days of finanical austerity is this a smart move?