iQFOiL history was written by 15-year-old Harry Joyner from Australia as he foiled through the first-ever tack on his iQFOiL equipment live in front of his coach’s camera.
The fact that a 15-year-old made the first foiling tack (not by lack of trying from the more experienced Olympic sailors) exemplifies once more that the performance gap between young and experienced sailors has never been smaller in Olympic Windsurfing.
Since the beginning of windsurf foiling, the first foiling tack has been highly anticipated; seeing it come to life is a massive motivation for all athletes to improve their tacking skills and has huge implications for the future of tactical upwind racing.
Kiran Badloe, Olympic Gold Medalist statement upon seeing the video: “Ridiculous! It’s crazy and so cool to see the next generation of the sport pushing the limits and showing us that there are no limits!”
Historically the change from youth to senior has been extremely tough in most sailing classes. But the arrival of the iQFOiL and the Formula Kite as new Olympic classes is a real game-changer.
At the recent SOF Hyeres Olympic classes regatta the men’s Formula Kite event was won my another 15 year old . . . Maximilian Maeder from Singapore who blitzed the men’s event.
With these new board based events there is a clear trend toward younger sailors being competitive and successful early on.
This is in-line with the IOS policy to introduce sports to the Games that attract a younger audience who prefer less structured events, more closely relate to their urban lifestyle.
This has led to additional winter and summer sports, and lowered the age of competitors, with BMX bikes and ski-board events now featured alongside traditional cycling and ski events, and breakdancing, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing added for the Paris 2024 Games.
The IOS adverse reaction to World Sailing’s proposed Offshore Keelboat event for the Paris Games, quickly sent them back to the drawing board, and the result was a reduction in traditional racing dinghy equipment and a record number of four board events.
The IOC now allows each city to add or remove certain sports, so expect to see more changes, maybe even Wing-Foil gaining a place in Sailing for 2028.