'This is an important day for ISAF as windsurfing is an important discipline worldwide,' said PETERSSON. 'It is a discipline with fast development and we found out we haven't change quickly enough, so we organized an evaluation event between manufacturers and designers of windsurfers to catch up with the development of the sailing world. Our experts, the sailors, chose the NP RS:X, which will be able to go upwind and downwind, which is necessary for an Olympic board. What we have seen from the testing, the board meets all our expectations. I hope it will be attractive to all the young sailors around the world.'
During the latter part of February 2005, a key member of the ISAF Evaluation Team finalised testing of the NP RS:X in Maui, Hawaii. This testing was done to ensure that the NP RS:X meets the stringent quality and performance parameters, particularly with regards to construction, durability and shape stability; required for the men's windsurfer and women's windsurfer events at the 2008 Olympics.
Production of the NP RS:X commenced in April 2005. As stipulated by ISAF, the first 500 NP RS:X board and rig components are to be distributed to Member National Authorities of countries that competed in the 2004 Olympic games or recent ISAF World Championships. Distribution of the NP RS:X has already commenced and Neil Pryde Limited expects distribution of the first 500 boards and rigs to be completed by mid-August.
From September 2005 onwards, the NP RS:X will be available to the general public, schools and sailing clubs through NP RS:X vendors located around the world. With a production rate of up to 200 complete rig packages per month, Neil Pryde Limited expects to deliver up to 1700 complete packages on a worldwide basis by the end of 2005 (refer to www.neilpryde-rsx.com).
'I'm happy to be launching this project in Singapore,' said Neil Pryde. 'With the ISAF as our partners, I believe we have the opportunity to recreate the grassroots of windsurfing. Windsurfing as a sport has somehow lost its way in the last 30 years. We lost the essential social side of the sport, whereas yachting has maintained wonderfully the social structure that gets hundreds of youth competing. Somehow windsurfing lost that spirit. It became a very individualistic sport. Our dream for the RS:X is to recreate this popular participation base with the Olympics at the pinnacle. In the last 30 years, there has been 165,000 Lasers put out there in the water, if we can emulate part of that success with windsurfing, we would have made a giant step in getting windsurfing back on track.'
One of the most attractive features of the RS:X is its ability to operate in different wind conditions. Testing done by the Neil Pryde Design Centre on this new Olympic equipment has showed that the board also works well in light wind.
'The RS:X is able to operate from winds three to 30 knots, so this gives it a wider range of conditions,' added Pryde. 'The old IMCO boards tend to favour light-weight athletes, but with the RS:X, there are no distinct advantages and everyone stands an equal chance.'
The introduction of the NP RS:X class was also warmly welcomed by SingaporeSailing.
'We are starting to build a broad base of windsurfers by adopting a similar business plan to that of the Optimist class in sailing,' said SingaporeSailing president LOW. 'Another boost is that the Sports School will be taking in windsurfers on top of sailors to their cohort from 2006.'
From 1-2 October 2005 Cadiz, Spain will host the first event for the new Olympic windsurfer equipment, the NP RS:X. The competition will precede the Raceboard World Championships 2005 which takes place from 3-8 October. The NP RS:X will be part of the ISAF Graded event tour and will be included in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings from 1 January 2006. In respect of ISAF events, the Neil Pryde RS:X will be the equipment used at the 2006 ISAF World Sailing Games on Lake Neusiedl, Austria and the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal, and it is planned to be used at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2006 in Weymouth, Great Britain.
For more information on the NP RS:X, refer to www.neilpryde-rsx.com