30 Days To Go...The Future of the RS:X Youth

With the upcoming Olympics, Boards takes a moment to concentrate on the future of the sport, discussing with RIchard Hamilton, Sam Sills and Elliot Carney how they are now continuing their Olympic journey.  

Follow more about RS:X and the Olympics on Boards here.

‘Precious Metal’ the full guide to the journey to Weymouth 2012 can be read in the Boards Spring Summer Annual – On Sale Here.

Sam Sills
Sam Sills

How long have you been windsurfing, and racing?

Richard Hamilton: I’ve been windsurfing since the age of 10 and racing just as long.

Sam Sills: Since the age of 9.

What level are you at within RS:X?

Richard Hamilton: For the moment I have taken a break away from the RS:X, after I realised selection for 2012 was not possible. When I was competing my best result was a top 15 result at the Men’s Worlds.

Sam Sills: Finished 36th in 2012 Senior Worlds, 6 x World medalist, Olympic Transitional Squad, 36th in 2012 Senior Worlds, Bronze 2011 RS:X Youth worlds, 2 x Techno World Champion.

What were and are your long term aims? 

Richard Hamilton: My long term goal will always be to compete at the Olympics.

Sam Sills: Long term aim has been to enjoy the sport and get as far as possible!

How have these now changed? Will you switch to kite racing? Or continue to windsurf race but focus on slalom etc?

Richard Hamilton: This is the question, and I’m sure many of the current RS:X windsurfers will make the switch. For now, there is still the possibility of a re-vote at the next ISAF Conference meeting, and also the kit has yet to be chosen for Rio. So for now I think I will just stick to windsurfing!

Sam Sills: I literally have no idea how this has changed everything, very confused on the future really, I love RS:X racing and I love being part of the Olympic team. Will RS:X continue? Do I race RS:X for the Olympic dream or simply because I love the sport???  I have no Idea!  All I know now is that I’m focusing on finishing this year as well as possible and training as hard as I can with uni commitments!

I like a new challenge, so I will definitely give kiting a go.. it’s still a start line, racing a course, and on a board.. I’ve seen some youtube videos, it looks pretty mental and fun!  However it is madness to remove windsurfing from the Olympics, as it is probably the perfect Olympic sport. It’s physical, tactical, technical, skillful and extremely fun! I think ISAF have made a massive mistake.

But for sure I will still be going full power slalom with Tushingham and Starboard!

Richard Hamilton
Richard Hamilton. Image credit RYA Skandia Team GBR.

Have you kited before? If you do go for kite racing do you think you will still windsurf?

Richard Hamilton: I’m afraid to say I have tried it a few times in the past. It is fun but also more dangerous in my opinion. If ones thing’s for sure I know I’ll never stop windsurfing.

Sam Sills: Never kited, although my uncle Guy is a bit of a legend in kiting. He actually helped me at my first ever windsurf event, so it’s bit like going back eight years, only this time it’s kitesurfing, which will mega cool!

What do you think the scores of team15 racers coming up through the ranks will do? How will it affect them?

Richard Hamilton: I really do feel sorry for all the up and coming windsurfers. The RYA pathway has provided a great structure for progressing through the junior and youth classes. How ISAF doesn’t recognise how strong the techno class is doing internationally I don’t know. The fleet sizes keep getting bigger each year. However the techno class has been selected for the Youth Olympics in 2014, so that is a great target for them to aim for!

Sam Sills: Tough question! I have no idea! But my best advice would be, just have as much fun as possible, get out whenever it’s windy! And push yourself till you get nailed, you learn a lot that way, also it might just help prepare you for being dragged sideways down a beach with a kite in your hand!

Richard Hamilton: I really feel that the decision for kiteboarding to be selected for the Olympics has come four years too soon. ISAF’s argument for including kiteboarding is that they’re trying to make the Olympics more spectator friendly, so by kicking out windsurfing and not one of the prehistoric other sailing classes makes no sense to me. The RS:X may not of been the ‘pinnacle’ of windsurfing equipment, but it did allow racing on one set of equipment from 3-30 knots. Is this possible on a kite? No. Maybe this decision will enable windsurfing to make a comeback at the 2020 Olympics with a more modern, higher performance set of windsurfing gear.

Paul Smith of Sportsbeat also caught up with El Carney to discover his views on the decision.

Elliott Carney
Elliot Carney. Image credit RYA Skandia Team GBR.

Windsurfer Elliot Carney has slammed the decision to remove his class from the sailing programme at the 2016 Olympics.

The RS:X youngster admits to finding it difficult that this month’s Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta may have been his last competing in the sport he has dedicated his life to.

It comes after the International Sailing Federation axed windsurfing beyond London 2012 – pending an appeal in November – and after Kent-born Carney missed out on selection for the home Games behind British number one Nick Dempsey, he was left with the prospect of a final week of competitive sailing in Weymouth.

He finished 17th overall

“It was a massive week considering it could possibly have been my last windsurfing event,” said the 23-year-old.

For me, I’m not going to the Olympic Games which means that could be it.

It’s a poor decision. It is rubbish for the younger generation and the whole set-up around the world with kids coming through the system.

I think it is a complete and utter sham but it is out of our control.”

Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com

  1. Tony Willman

    Good article which underlines just how stupid and bonkers the decision to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing.

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