Windsurfing's place on the Olympic Games sports programme is safe until at least 2020 when ISAF, the international sailing federation, hopes it will be joined by, not replaced with, kiteboarding.
At its annual general meeting in Muscat, Oman over the weekend, the ISAF council agreed to push for extra medals at Tokyo 2020, with kiteboarding given preference, following a controversial attempt to have it in place of windsurfing at Rio 2016.
It ruled: "ISAF council voted that all 10 Rio 2016 Olympic events and equipment shall be included in the 2020 Olympic sailing competition. Additional medals shall be sought from the International Olympic Committee for Tokyo 2020 and if additional medals are allocated, kiteboarding events will be selected first."
ISAF also announced that, "where practical and within the constraints of current contracts, resources and venues," kiteboarding will be included in the ISAF Worlds and ISAF Sailing World Cups.
Kiteboarders use a board with or without foot-straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite, to propel the rider and the board across the water. The discipline, also known as kitesurfing, is regarded (by its supporters) as spectacular and exciting. In its most common, freestyle, version, riders try to impress judges with aerial moves based on technical difficulty, power, risk factor, variety, height, smoothness, style and innovation.
The equipment approved for both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic sailing competitions is: Men's Board - RS:X (windsurfing); Women's Board - RS:X (windsurfing); Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser; Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial; Men's second One Person Dinghy - Finn; Men's Skiff - 49er; Women's Skiff – 49er; FX Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470; Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470; Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17.
At the 2012 ISAF AGM in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, the controversial decision to drop men's and women's windsurfing in favour of kiteboarding for the 2016 Olympics was reversed by 51 votes to 40.
The initial decision taken by the ISAF council in May 2012 to replace windsurfing with kiteboarding had been unexpected even by many at the federation, and there was some suggestion that the voting procedure had not been properly understood by all of the delegates.
An evaluation group was established two years ago to examine kiteboarding formats with a view to inclusion in future major events and recommended that the discipline form part of the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships.
However, at the ISAF 2012 Mid-Year Meeting in Stresa, Italy, the ISAF council went further and voted 19-17 in favour of events for men and women in kiteboarding, as opposed to windsurfing, at the Rio games.
Men’s windsurfing has been part of the Olympics since 1984 while women’s windsurfing has featured since 1992.
Also in Muscat, Middelfart in Denmark was named host of the 2015 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, while Acre in Israel was awarded the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in 2017.
Both decisions are subject to "successful site visits and satisfactory contractual arrangements", ISAF noted.
Busan, South Korea staged this year's Women's Match Racing World Championship, with Cork in Ireland playing host in 2014.
This year's Youth Sailing World Championship took place in Limassol, Cyprus, and Tavira (Portgual), Langkawi (Malaysia) and Al Musannah Sports City (Oman) will, respectively, host the 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions.