ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
To celebrate International Women’s Day, the IWT today announces FREE accommodation for the top 4 ranked Pro Women at all IWT Wave Tour events. As an act of equality, we’re offering a matching deal to the top 4 ranked Pro Men. This compliments the equal prize money, equal event access, and equal wave conditions across the IWT Wave Tour. We follow the WSL lead on this, as we strive for more equality and to proudly become the WSL of Windsurfing.
The simple goal of all these policies is to reduce the cost of competing on the Wave Tour for Women, and to open up more opportunity for women to excel and truly show what they can do. Just like we’ve seen the WSL women do for surfing: when offered genuine equality, the level of women’s excellence goes up, women’s and girls participation goes up, and the whole sport benefits. Not to mention that it’s RIGHT. And good for our society. Freedom, for all, matters now more than ever with all that’s going on in the world. The women of windsurfing need more support to compete at the highest level. Without the same kind of sponsor support coming from the windsurfing industry, the women of windsurfing do not have the same cash to pay for airfares and accommodation as the men. This creates a major problem because even the best women simply can’t afford to compete at all events on the Wave Tour. So the IWT is doing what it can on the Wave Tour to support Women and all riders in these other ways.
COMMUNITY, GRASS ROOTS, EXCELLENCE
The Wave Tour calendar is strong this year. Perhaps the strongest wave tour thus far in Windsurfing history. We have 7 Wave Tour events across 4 continents, plus the IWT Big Wave Awards night, growing participation, a growing prize pool and a growing global media reach and fan base. This global reach of events across so much of the world means more and more of the worlds windsurfers are able to join the global RIDER family. By including all divisions from Open fun division that welcomes any and all riders, through the age groups Youth 18 max, Masters 45+, G.Masters 55+, and to the very top with the Pro divisions riders, this all means a growing global family and a growing feeling of inclusion, rather than exclusion, for tens of thousands more windsurfers around the world. These are good things. Community is a good thing. Grass roots is a good thing. Equal access for all is a good thing. Excellence is a good thing. This is how sports mature and grow and stay strong. They build, nurture and protect their base first. They then support and encourage pathways to the top. They then offer genuine, and equal, opportunities for excellence. That’s what a mature and strong sport looks like. That’s why we have built the IWT Wave Tour.
We have a long way to go before we can claim to be the WSL of Windsurfing. But we have that goal. That’s where we’re going. That’s what we will achieve. Because that’s possible, that’s within our grasp, and that’s very good for our community and our sport.
CLIMATE CRISIS RESPONSE
Along the way we learn. Since 2019, not only has the IWT Wave Tour been fully equal for Men and Women, but it has also been 200% emissions offset for all staff and rider travel to and from events. We know that offsets themselves are not the best answer to the climate crisis. We all still have a lot of work to do there. But until we have more answers, we will at least do this for the Wave Tour so we don’t make the problem worse.
The first event in Margaret River Australia had to be cancelled due to a very poor forecast. This was a big blow to us all. With all the preparation in the world, we can’t control the weather. Looking ahead to 2023 we plan to have a longer event window in the best part of the season to make the event highly reliable for the top international riders.
The second event starts soon in Japan and it’s exciting to see the Omaezaki community preparing so well for this great event. With the Japan borders all closed to international travelers, it will be only local riders and therefore it has been reduced from 3 STAR to 2 STAR points for the overall Wave Tour rankings.
The third event was to be Chile in early April but a challenging border situation has meant the event organizers elected to move the event to late September to give the nation more time to secure itself and for the border to open safely to all international riders.
The other events are all GO GO GO and we’re excited to bring you more news on them all soon.