– Bring the FUN back into BOARDING! –
The International Funboard Class Association (IFCA) is presenting the IFCA competition structure for slalom. The concept includes competition formats for fin slalom aswell as foil slalom. It offers one unique platform from the base of the sport with weekend racers and youth development over national regattas and championships and international Grand Prix events up to the official IFCA Slalom World Championships. The IFCA concept is the result of intensive discussions between board members, national class associations, industry representatives, organizers, windsurfing media and riders.
The process was driven by the obvious crisis of the performance oriented windsurf sport. The combination of fin and foil slalom in one combined discipline as it is handled by the PWA and also some NCAs has led to a decline of competitors and competitions. Reality has shown that in order to be successful it was necessary to use the foil in higher and higher windspeeds. What some people may welcome as natural development was de facto outruling anybody who was not able or willing to switch to the foil. Many people welcome foiling in light wind conditions as it helps to increase the number of water days or is the „life insurance for events“. But there are very few riders who really like to foil in high wind conditions. Many people feel unsafe and don’t want to hurt themselves or even others in conditions beyond their control. So instead of switching on the foil many of these riders decides to quit the competitions.
The windsurfing industry is also facing significant challenges which are mostly induced by the windfoiling. The sales figures in this segment are not keeping pace with development and production costs. At the same time the combined format is preventing industry and organizers to unleash the full potential of the two disciplines. The combination of fin and foil in one discipline is blocking the natural thrill that fin slalom is offering to competitors and the „normal windsurfers” which are representing the key market for the brands. Without a strong platform for fin slalom the brands even feel negative effects in their slalom and freerace products.
IFCA brings the fun back into boarding. Foiling is an enrichment for the windsurf sport. But when it is really blowing the huge majority of the riders prefers the direct feeling of blasting over the waves with a fin board. The IFCA slalom disciplines are representing what the normal windsurfers would use at their home spots in different conditions. Foiling in light winds to get going and fin in medium and strong winds to enjoy speed rides.
The IFCA concept is answering the challenge with two key elements:
1. The disciplines Foil Slalom and Fin Slalom shall be separated disciplines
2. The formats and equipment at the events shall ensure fun
As a first step for 2023 IFCA will separate slalom in two independent disciplines:
- Fin Slalom as real fun boarding in medium and strong winds (min 11 knots)
- Foil Slalom as light wind option (7 to 15 knots) to ensure official competitions in the widest possible range of conditions
Events may be set up for fin slalom, foil slalom or as combined events. But the disciplines will have a separate ranking to ensure that riders may choose if they want to compete in one or the other format or both.
As official international class IFCA will organize the official IFCA International Tour Calendar(-s) for fin and foil slalom. IFCA will also maintain the official IFCA World Ranking lists for fin slalom and foil slalom. The calendar and the ranking lists will include the official IFCA World Championships and Continental Championships as annual highlights as well as the national events of the IFCA NCAs. Additionally IFCA may sanction events to contribute to the structure or organize Grand Prix events in co-operation with selected organizers. With this unique vertical integration IFCA offers the biggest competition platforms for fin and foil slalom.
For 2024 a process shall be launched in co-operation with the windsurfing industry to optimize the format(-s) and the equipment rules to ensure that the format and equipment at the IFCA competitions has a relevance to what the „normal” windsurfers are using. Instead of promoting artificial formats and complicated equipment that very few people can use, the IFCA competitions shall offer the perfect competition platform for fun on the water.
CU at the beach!