A EUPHORIC Bryony Shaw cannot stop smiling after the u-turn decision by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to reinstate windsurfing as an Olympic sport.
The 29-year-old jumped around the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy canteen upon hearing the news, which she described as a ‘triumph’ for the windsurfing community.
Shaw, who trains regularly in the borough but lives in Tunbridge Wells, was at a Royal Yachting Association training camp when she found out about the ISAF vote to re-instate windsurfing for the 2016 Olympic regatta in Rio de Janeiro.
The meeting was the first by the ISAF Committee since the ISAF Council’s decision to drop windsurfing and substitute the new sport of kiteboarding in May.
Shaw said: “I was in Weymouth, part of a multi-class training camp, all the kiters were there and all the other sailors.
“We’d all been out kiting that day, then about 6pm I was sitting in the canteen up at the academy with everyone when Dom Tidey, my coach, got a phone call with the news.
“I jumped up and down, Saskia Clark gave me a big hug and said congratulations.
“Immediately the natural instinct for me and Dom was to have beaming smiles.
“Obviously we’ve all been prepared for it to be kitesurfing, I think it’s a relief, this is much more what I know and Dom’s got his job back.”
Shaw ‘put her all’ into learning to kiteboard this summer and really enjoyed herself but is ‘happy’ to return to the sport she knows best.
The news disappointed many kiteboarders, and several immediately left the training camp.
It also received a mixed reaction from some of the windsurfers who had really taken to kiteboarding over the summer and spent a lot of money on new kit.
Shaw said: “It’s a shame that we couldn’t have both sports but I think if it was between both sports I’d still stick to windsurfing.”
She described the draw of the Olympics, the quest for medals and the opportunities in life that it brings as ‘really inspiring’.
She said: “It’s a drug really, you want to keep going.”
Shaw is ‘almost grateful’ for the spotlight the ISAF shake-up has put on windsurfing, despite the upset, and added: “I think it will help kitesurfing in the long run as the sport evolves to get it Olympic ready, potentially for 2020.
“In 2020 it might potentially rival some of the other sailing classes, rather than putting it up against windsurfing. Some of the slow boats are a bit outdated, that’s where I see the future of the sport going.”
Shaw described the new ISAF decision as ‘really good timing’ ahead of the RS:X World Championships in February in Buzios, Brazil and said she would be ‘training full on’ over the next few months.