Ready to fly

In the lead up to the Paris 2024 Olympics windsurfing is set to fly with the introduction of the foiling iQFOiL board as the Windsurfing equipment.

12 February 2023


Windsurfing has long been an integral part of Australia’s sailing culture. The discipline which combines the excitement of a surfboard with the fun of sailing has been a mainstay of the Olympic slate since the Windglider was included as a demonstration sport at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Names like Jessica Crisp, Greg Hyde and 1992 Barcelona bronze medallist Lars Kleppich led Australia’s windsurfing fleet for years, but there has been a lull in recent years with Crisp being our most recent Olympic representative having contested the RS:X at London 2012.

Australia’s iQFOiL squad is on the same trajectory, with legendary coach Arthur Brett leading a fledgling group that he hopes will lead the nation back to its place atop the heap in Paris and beyond.


“This squad has unlimited potential, and the most rewarding part of this for me is seeing the younger generation below already starting to rise and push the squad members,” said Brett, who shaped a young Tom Slingsby early in his Olympic career.

“We already have the likes of Grae Morris and Caelin Winchcombe as members of the squad, with both showing incredible development after their first year of international competition on the iQFOiL last year.”

Brett isn’t wrong. Morris has dominated the local summer winning Sail Sydney and Sail Melbourne either side of the New Year break with Winchcombe nipping at his heels.

There is now a clear pathway for young sailors emerging from the Optimist class, with the iQFOiL board able to take off even in light winds with better control and more comfort for young riders.

The Australian Sailing Futures Program focuses on the development of sailors looking to achieve Australian Sailing Squad status, and there is no shortage of emerging talent in the squad.

Futures/Queensland Academy of Sport sailor Sammie Costin is one of those sailors, and she has witnessed the growth of the class first-hand having been involved with the iQFOiLs since they landed in Australia.

“The class has grown massively. Female participation has doubled in the last year, and this is the first year we have had the numbers to have a separate youth fleet,” said Costin as she prepares for this weekend’s iQFOiL Nationals in Brisbane.

“We are expecting about 45 competitive boards at Nationals this weekend, which is about double what we had last year.”

Costin has enjoyed a competitive home slate over the summer, as she prepares to head to Europe this Northern summer.

“It has been a really productive summer with the number of regattas we had here at home, with the boys up in Sydney and a really strong youth fleet here in Melbourne including Jarrod Jones, Rory Meehan, Charlotte Wormald and Amelia Wilson all really pushing each other.

The Queenslander’s passion for the class is clear.

“I just love the racing. It is so tight, and when you head to the top mark alongside 20-plus boards it is just something really cool to be a part of.”

The group is nicely bookended, as the pressure of the emerging athletes being balanced by Australia’s two-time Olympic Finn class representative Jake Lilley currently training with the squad and weighing up the possibility of a tilt at an Olympic campaign in the class.

The development of younger sailors coming up through the Australian Sailing Performance Pathways received a boost this week, with Great Britain’s Tokyo Windsurfing representative Tom Squires being announced as the new NSW State Coach – Foiling.

Squires will be focusing on work with iQFOiL and Formula Kite sailors, as Australia looks to develop a pipeline of future champions in the fledgling Olympic classes.

The windsurfer is taking off in Australia again, and the future is bright. “The growth is insane,” concluded Costin, “And it is only getting bigger.”

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