Windfoiling in New Zealand

Apr 18, 2020

Windfoiling as the new olympic discipline in 2024

From funboarding in the 80’s with your family on a Sunday, to now switching on the t.v to watch competitive windsurfing. The world of watersports is a continuous ongoing evolution that just keeps getting more exciting with the advancement of technology. 

Now foiling is about to revolutionise the sport as it is the official Olympic class for Paris 2024! It has been decided that the IQfoil will be replacing the Neilpryde RS:X equipment as the official equipment used for both men and women. The growth of the class is exponential, with a growing fleet of youth sailors which has been missing in windsurfing for the last 4 years. 

Windfoiling is a real game changer for windsurfers and more attention to the sport is great for board brands, the athletes and the sport as a whole. 

The history of windsurfing in New Zealand

When it comes to windsurfing, our country has a lot to be proud of as it is our most successful sailing class at the olympics, with medals from Barbara Kendal, Bruce Kendal, Aaron McIntosh and Tom Ashley. Barbara was the first woman to ever compete in 5 Olympic games and she crushed it, bringing home gold in 1992, silver in 1996 and bronze in 2000. Along with her older brother Bruce, they were New Zealand’s first family of the Olympic games.  Bruce himself gained a gold medal in 1988 and a bronze in 1984. 

Our country represents good sportsmanship and healthy competition and for Bruce, his friendly competition is Aaron McIntosh, who received a bronze medal in 2000. As for Tom Ashley, his success came later when he brought back gold in 2008, where he is now the CEO of Canoe Racing New Zealand. 

Our success in watersports doesn’t end here though, as we have built quite a strong reputation within the America's Cup. Team New Zealand became a well known name with our consecutive wins under the leadership of Sir Peter Blake between 1995 and 2000. In 2017 we won again with Glen Ashby as skipper. Our sailors Glen Ashby, Marcus Hansen, and Russel Coutts are all involved with windfoiling and helped build the structure which is now the new olympic class.

The beginning of a new sporting era

The PWA world tour is where windfoiling kicked off. It not only had a great reaction from the athletes but also from the viewers, due to its extremity, it’s a lot more entertaining to watch. Foiling started in slalom but was later integrated into course racing because many athletes felt it was safer and that’s what will bring the excitement back into course racing. 

Spectators however enjoy slalom better and going forward this year the decision is that athletes can choose between foil or fin and both disciplines can be on the course at the same time. All these new changes have led to the development of equipment which is changing the game in the windsurfing world.

Windfoiling in New Zealand 2021

In 2021 New Zealand has the privilege of hosting the America’s Cup in our very own city of sails, Auckland. Alongside this, Waterbourne will also be hosting windfoiling at Takapuna beach for the best in the world to compete and showcase their skills. What this means for athletes is that there is more on offer during the time of the America's cup. The Waterbourne festival will include world class windfoiling, New Zealand culture, live music and experiences and world class food. 

For the public it offers a chance to watch some epic sporting live and up close all while enjoying our very own beautiful backyard. These are exciting times approaching and windfoiling is leading us into a new racing era.