Farrah Hall Trades Windsurfing for Kiteboarding in 2016 Olympics

Windsurfing is out and kiteboarding is in, according to a decision by the group that oversees international sailing competitions.

Local Olympian Farrah Hall is back in town after sailing among the best in the world in the London 2012 Olympic Games, but a big change could be in store for her career.

By the time the summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil kick off in 2016, windsurfing may no longer be in the lineup. In its stead, kiteboarding has been given the green light by the International Sailing Federation.

Hall said it will be an awkward transition for those heavily invested in windsurfing, and she felt the decision was premature.

"I think everyone wants to see kiteboarding come to the Olympics, but maybe it'd be better in 2020," she said.

At the end of the games in London—her first Olympic experience—Hall had assembled a program and routine she said she felt comfortable with. But all that would change if she has to learn a new sport.

"It's disappointing, because I've put so much time and effort into this sport—eight years now," she said. "I'd like to see that progress continue into Rio. But that may not happen."

On the bright side, Hall said everyone involved with windsurfing would be starting out on the same footing by learning the ins and outs of kiteboarding over the next four years. That could create new opportunities. New stars could rise, she said.

"The majority of people coming to kiteboarding would be ex-Olympic windsurfers, and they would radically change the sport," Hall said. 

Hall, a graduate of ,  in women's windsurfing in London. She said she felt she had a good mental game heading into the races, but she was setback by weather conditions, a few mistakes and being coached by someone new to her.

The Olympics themselves also were a fresh experience for her, and she said the added pressures of competing on an international level comes with its own set of factors and distractions.

"I actually had to turn off all blogs, Twitter and Facebook just because so many people were watching and commenting," she said. "That was something I had expected, but I didn't expect that it would affect me. It turns out it made me a little nervous."

For now, Hall is back in Cape St. Claire, visiting old acquaintances and generally kicking back for some well-earned days off. , where she received an Anne Arundel County Council citation for her Olympic performance.

Hall said she's resting for now, but will soon begin learning kiteboarding, but also continuing her windsurfing training. She'll be heading to a windsurfing competition later this month in San Francisco, and in February she'll compete in the world championship games in Brazil. 

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Chad Lyons September 07, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Do not let the misguided leaders at the ISAF derail your Windsurfing. The Olympic Windsurfing Class (RS-X) has filed for a judicial review of the vote process. The ISAF vote in May was seriously flawed. Several delegates have indicated they did not vote for what they had intended. The vote should get reversed. Kiteboarding is an Extreme sport that includes frequent loss of control. Kiteboarding is on the verge of widespread restrictions and bans. New York State has banned Kitboarding at all beaches and parks. The Kiteboarding bubble is about to burst. Stay on your Windsurfer!
Jack September 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
@ Chad Lyons, You appear to be adding this comment to many windsurf/kiteboard/olympic articles, and while I don't disagree with you on the flaws in the ISAF vote I do not see the necessity of the anti kiteboard rubbishing your comments end with. As a kiteboarder I was shocked and disappointed to see windsurfing taking the axe and would gladly aid in its reinstatement. Even at the expense of my own sport, if the process is found to be unfairly conducted. However my sympathy is diminished by comments like yours and the trend of the windsurfing lobby to trash kiteboarding instead of defending its own numerous Olympic qualities. The "all kiteboarders will crash and die" approach reeks of desperation, ignorance, is not helping your cause long term or winning you any friends. The massive world wide participation levels of both sports (which far out number other sailing classes) suggests, if anything the need for duel inclusion. Something the ISAF would find harder to ignore if we put the argument to them in a united fashion. Small and obscure sailing classes want nothing more than to have these two far bigger sports squabbling amongst themselves rather than having the finger pointed at them, have you considered the idea that this is exactly why it was done this way, and that your stance is not helping? Please bear this in mind before going after us in the future. Jack


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