Just check out the female participation rates at the last couple of world championships - http://2024.internationalwindsurfing.com/news/girls-windsurf
However, this time I’d like to tell you about something else. The families, the masters, the veterans.
Windsurfers are enthusiasts. I know an Olympic medallist, who went out to test a new foil as soon as he got it. In 5*C. That is passion. There are countless windsurfers looking at forecasts and driving hundreds of kilometres for the best conditions, but some of the most passionate guys I know are DII and Raceboard sailors. The Masters, Grandmaster, Veterans.
DII and Raceboard events are unique in many senses and one thing that makes these regattas special is families.
You may say that the community formed around Raceboard is a family, with amateur sailors learning from their seasoned peers, everybody spending time together in a competitive yet friendly atmosphere. We have got ex Olympic Class sailors looking for an opportunity to compete, enthusiasts of all age from youth to veterans. The class is undoubtedly for everybody and the mix of generations adds to the experience of the events.
Then there are the windsurfing families. Some have been windsurfing for decades, with their children picking up windsurfing after the parents and some have started windsurfing to be able to spend time on the water with their windsurfing children.
The most recognisable of the Raceboard families would be the Manchons, with the Spanish couple Paco Manchon and Maria Antonina Dominguez looking to make an impact in front of their home crowd. Windsurfing runs in the Manchons blood, as between Paco, Maria and their children Blanca and Curro they have won 19 world titles. When asked about her first competitive experience Blanca answered that it was before she was born, her mother having raced in the Spanish nationals being several months pregnant.
Raceboarder Max Wójcik, multiple Raceboard World Champion, is working hard with the local community in Australia growing windsurfing in the region. Max’s brother Maciej is now the one to watch at international events. Runs in the family. Another windsurfing family the Blinnikkas have raced multiple classes, through youth, Olympic to Raceboard and it is always fun to see them competing at events together.
For sure windsurfing has something to offer for everyone and with thousands of young sailors joining every year it is set to grow. Does Olympic windsurfing help? Of course. What better for the youth than to have somebody to look up to. Somebody, who inspires them in their own sport.
This text was in part published in 2015 as an intro to the European Championships in Cadiz