The 2002 US Windsurfing National Ranking Series

US Windsurfing is the national governing authority for windsurfing in the United States. It promotes recreational windsurfing and racing at all levels.

As part of this effort, and with the goal of recharging the interest in racing in the US, US Windsurfing has joined 13 of the Nation's finest windsurfing events into a cohesive racing series. It will assist these event organizers with promotion and prizes. US Windsurfing will keep a national ranking for those classes that are part of the series. At the end of the series it will recognize the winners in various divisions from the racing classes.

In addition to racing, the national tour events will feature freestyle contests, "learn-to-windsurf" and pro clinics, youth programs and novice races. Sponsors are providing cash and product prizes, along with giveaways, T-shirts and coupons. The national race series as part of the organization's new push to develop amateur racing.

Windsurfing is not necessarily an extreme sport. Living in Hawaii and windsurfing every day is one thing, but this is also a great sport for ordinary family people who sail on weekends all around the country. Racing adds an extra dimension, challenge and camaraderie.

According to Mike Gebhardt, long-run success in the Olympics has to be based on a thriving amateur race environment that will bring younger people into the sport, and provide opportunities to improve. These events are a lot of fun and we hope that a few people may eventually go on to Olympic competition.

US Windsurfing kicked off its national windsurfing festival tour and race series in February with the hugely successful Calema Midwinters. This was one of the largest windsurfing events ever held in the US. The event hosted over 200 competitors from around the World. It was well organized, fun and had great conditions. In short the perfect kick-off to the race tour.

Kevin Pritchard: World Champion Pro Windsurfer comments:

US Windsurfing has really picked up the pace this year with an exciting new push in the United States. I travel around the world and hear about the great French Championship events and the German Cups and I have always wondered why the US doesnŐt have anything like that.

And, this year out comes the first US Windsurfing Tour. I think this is a great way to get the sport up and running in the US. It makes the sport more prominent and gives something for everyone to aspire to.

We need to support US Windsurfing so we can have more great things like this happening. The first event of the year was a huge success with over 200 competitors. Lets support US Windsurfing. Lets spread the word so that more people hear about and enjoy our great sport.

The windsurfing industry will use the national tour as a showcase. Mistral, which is a major sponsor, is teaming up with US Windsurfing to offer series competition on the new Mistral Prodigy board. This is an effort to develop one-design class. In a one-design class all competitors sail identical gear, and results depend purely on skill and tactics. Prodigy boards will be available for charter at many of the events, for people who want to try the new class. Other manufacturers will also feature displays, demos and special events at many of the national tour events.

The larger tour events are expected to receive television news coverage, and results will be reported in the windsurfing magazines. Most of these events will be very spectator-friendly, and the freestyle contests will be guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Windsurfing freestyle has developed into a sport of its own, and is getting more and more spectacular. Skilled windsurfers can make their boards go sideways, backwards and upside down, while flipping their bodies and sails, and weaving it all together in an aquatic ballet. In high winds they'll do jumps, loops, "willy skippers", "vulcans" and tricks that haven't even been named.

Roger Jackson, recipient of the 2001 "Windsurfer of the Year" award, will direct a program of free lessons for beginning windsurfers, in conjunction with the tour events. He and his partners can get kids and adults up and sailing on Windgliders or Starboard Start sailboards in an hour or less.

Series titles will be offered for the US Windsurfing recognized classes, which include "Open", "Formula" "Techno", "IMCO", and "Longboard Limited", and the new Prodigy class.

Formula Windsurfing is a new race format which has been receiving a lot of attention in Europe, Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Competitors in this class can use any production shortboard (a windsurfer without a centerboard) and a choice of any three sails, which they register prior to competition at each event. This cuts down on the equipment requirements that have made high-end shortboard racing too costly for the average windsurfer. This is by far the most popular racing class in the world. (For more information on the Formula class and class rules, visit the website at www.formulawindsurfing.com.)

IMCO is the one-design class currently being used for Olympic competition.

Techno is a race format based on the Bic Techno shortboard, which has been promoted by Bic and their US distributor Adventure Sports.

Longboard Limited class is open to any windsurfer with a centerboard, with a sail size limit of 7.5 square meters.

Final series awards will be made after the conclusion of racing at the Islamorada Pro-Am regatta, in the Florida Keys, November 7-10, 2002. Sponsors and industry representatives will be invited to attend and present the awards and prizes