|4th May 2008, 12:20 AM||#10|
Hmm, I have a mixed mindset about this one. While I think it is good for the sport to have more modern looking racing and equipment, I don't like that it will eliminate pumping. The pumping component I feel is integral to windsurfing and it is what makes Olympic windsurfers or boardsailors, if I may, true elite athletes right up there with Tri-athletes and long distance runners.
If you look at an RSX sailor, they are a prime specimen, everything a human ought to be; tall, lean, fit, smart and an uncanny elite aerobic capacity coupled with great strength. Is this not what the Olympics supposed to be? the best of ELITE athletes? As opposed to the best technology available to make a sport easy. If the latter were the case, runners would be wearing rollerblades, cyclists would ride motorcycles and high jumpers would be launching off trampolines.
To eliminate pumping while perhaps beneficial from a visual standpoint would completely remove the athlete component from the sport. Then we would just a bunch of sailors with Homer Simpson-esque physiques who were good just because they were fast, and fast just because they were heavy.
The notion that switching to one design would make it better for the athletes in so far as that they would not get injured and there would be less stress on the body, is really quite absurd. It's not supposed to be easy!!! That's why its in the Olympics, it's for the Elite. You don't expect your average recreational cyclist to be able to go battle it out on the hills with Lance Armstrong. Why should it be any different here?
Another absurdity; wanting to make the Olympic discipline more accessible to a variety of body shapes and sizes. Come on! I'm too tall to be a jockey, too short to be long jumper. I'm not going to go cry about it and try get them to change the rules to suit me now am I?
Are you too big for Mistral/RSX? (This also probably means you are too big to be good at other elite sports like iron man, tri, running and cycling too) That is what they invented Formula for!
The most comical thing about all of this is that they actually believe that by removing pumping it will make the racing more tactical. Are you kidding? Racing on an RSX is most tactical in the light, every 3 degree wind shift counts and strategic board placement is paramount. This FOD will not make racing more tactical, it will make it more like Formula: Start-tack-top mark-gybe set-Finish.
Since when was the Olympic sailing been about using the most advanced equipment anyway? You can't honestly tell me that 470ss, Ynglings, Stars, 49ers, and Lasers represent the worlds most advanced technology when it comes to Double-handed Dinghies, Single-handed Dinghies, Skiffs, and Keel Boats. Infact with the recent removal of the Tornado it would appear that there is a movement in quite the opposite direction. Why? Because its about the sailors, the athletes themselves and not their equipment.
Don't get me wrong, I hate every moment I have to spend looking at my RSX. It's heavy, expensive, and unreliable. Buying RSX equipment is like paying taxes, you don't want to throw half your earnings away but you have to. However, it does its job, it performs its function and works in that crucial 0-6 knot range. As a side note, does anyone actually thin that 100 FOD sailors will be planning off a start line together. No. Im sure they can go upwind in clear air but to do so in among traffic is questionable.
All of this aside I do think what Starboard is doing is a good thing and they are definitely the best people for the job with, thus far, the best proposal. I just think perhaps a better hybrid or even reverting back to a longboard (albeit a more modern one that the IMCO) is the way to go.
I'm sure you will all have a field day with this post. Glad I could entertain. Enjoy.