The list of crimes committed by US Sailing against windsurfing is a very long one. However, the essence of the problem lay in the lack of forward thinking, and the discouragement of forward thinking, which kept our team firmly entrenched in a model successful only in the 1980s. The top-heavy program built solely on successful individuals while letting other classes starve has only crippled our team depth, culture, and knowledge base…and in turn, our medal potential. The most "starved" classes include windsurfing and catamarans, both of which have only a very small presence in the US. US Sailing has successfully prevented the growth of elite Olympic sailing by refusing to change the prevailing model of operating.
The US Sailing Team's new leadership is bringing a different concept into play: using the United States' existing strengths in sailing to build a new structure from the ground up, starting with youth development. Although funding is limited, the first steps in this direction are very positive. Collaborating with our new Team leadership, the best way to develop our current windsurfing program is through grass-roots effort and as much progressive thought and inclusiveness as possible. Growing our existing youth programs is a first step, and creating racing opportunities and training camps alongside the other youth sailing classes is the next. Combining windsurfing events and training camps with kiteboarding is a way to create exposure and awareness for both sports, and will offer new insight into how kiteboarding develops alongside windsurfing as an Olympic boardsport.