Windsurfing is a wind propelled water sport that is a combination of sailing and surfing. A sailboard is powered and controlled by the coordinated movements of the sail about its uni-joint and of the sailor around the board. This is achieved by balancing the weight of the sailor against the wind pressure in the sail, while adjusting both factors relative to the board.
An American aeronautical engineer Jim Drake invented and co-patented windsurfing in California between 1967 and 1970. Windsurfing gained a popular following across Europe and North America by the late 1970s and had achieved significant global popularity by the 1980s.
Originally, all windsurfing boards were “long boards”. This type of board went relatively slower through the water, but worked well in low wind conditions. During the 1980s a global community consisting of equipment designers, manufacturers, athletes, travel professionals and journalists worked together to propel windsurfing forward. Innovation allowed for the development of stiff, light weight planing short boards, foot straps, harnesses and more stable sails. After some lean years in the 2000s, the sport has seen a steady revival through the explosion of foiling.
Development in the Olympics Games
Windsurfing has been one of the Olympic sailing events at the Summer Olympics since 1984. Olympic Windsurfing uses ‘One Design’ boards, with all sailors using the same boards, daggerboards, fins and sails. The equipment is chosen to allow racing in a wide range of sailing conditions .Started from Windglider, Lechner, Mistral One-design to RS:X, the equipment has been evolved to enhance the speed and spectacularity. For 2024 the new Olympic Class windsurfer will use advanced foil technology with the radical new iQFoil.
The innovation of iQFOiL
The front wing of iQFOiL is positioned further forward to allow the tail wing to run at a much more streamlined angle. Having both wings more aligned with each other gives the sailor more speed and a lot more control in high winds.For light winds, there’s a tail wing angle adjustment system that allows to increase tail wing angle and to give extra power.
At an event, a sailor will register one board, one foil, one fin, one boom, one mast, and one sail (women – 8 m; men – 9m). The complete iQFoil racing package has been designed to deliver racing in winds from 5 to 35 knots. For the Course Racing,it could be launched in 7-30 knots. The sailors should wear the helmet in order to reduce the safety risks under the high speed.