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With the emerge of the new wide style boards, windsurfing in general and competition in particular got a new boost. The width of these boards makes it possible to enjoy short boarding in low winds. In short, windsurfing as it was meant to be. The key word of wide boards is versatility. While most other competition boards are bought for just that: competition, the wide style boards have much more to offer. Not only do they make great racing boards but they also very nice for having fun outside the race course. These machines are agile sports cars for use on the street rather than race cars for an oval. The stability makes them even good teaching machines.

Racing these boards became an immediate success with Formula Windsurfing. While very attractive for good competitors, Formula Windsurfing has one draw back. It is rather expensive. This is a handicap for those looking for a nice class to have fun and for all those who want to start racing but do not yet want to invest a lot of money. For these groups, Formula Experience was created.

Formula Experience

In 2002, the Formula Experience Class successfully started with its first European Championships last August in Brest, France with 65 competitors from 9 countries. A full report and the results are available on http://www.formula-experience.org

Aims and ambitions

Formula Experience is a multi manufacturer, multi design class based on wide style boards. As indicated above, the class aims at the large group of short board competitors thus far not catered for at (inter)national level in a structured way. Juniors and youth looking for an attractive and affordable introduction into racing without the need to buy a new board every year and for all those weekend racers who like the thrill of competition but do not want to invest heavily in ultimate preformance boards and rigs.

Although the boards are similar in appearance to the Formula Windsurfing type of boards, the class rules ensure that the cost involved is drastically reduced.
Some cost controlling features are:
- Only ASA boards with a maximum retail price of 1000 (=$1000) are eligible for racing. The ASA skin guarantees durability, making club use possible
- The use of aluminium alloy tubes and ends for booms (no carbon allowed).
- 8,5m2 maximum sail size for Juniors (under 17) and 11m2 for youth (under 19) and seniors. A maximum of two sails per event.
- Class rule stability. The class rules are frozen for an extended period. This ensures that equipment does not have to be renewed every year because of newer and faster models. At the same time, a periodical update prevents the class to fall into the trap many One-Designs face, outdated equipment and losing popularity. The next update is foreseen for the 2005 season followed by a frozen period of 4 years. Existing equipment will remain class legal after the update. A special prize for vintage equipment is considered.
- Charter equipment at main events.
Since Formula Experience is not intended for the high level (near-) professional racer, the main events such as continentals are friendly sports events, very suitable as well for junior and youth competitors, at venues attractive for family holidays. Formula Experience events are non-prize money events.

In the 2004 season, the class expects to have scheduled national competitions most windsurfing countries around the world. In Europe, France, Italy, UK. Belgium, Spain, Norway and Germany are confirmed. Other countries have shown interest. There are also activities in North and South America (USA, Canada, Caribbean, Peru) and in several Asian countries.
It is the intention to expand the activities and apply for ISAF status at the November 2003 meeting.

Upcoming World Championship

The Formula Experience Committee is happy to announce that the Formula Experience World Championships 2004 will be organized by VVW Inside-Outside in Oostende under auspices of the KBYV, the Flemisch Yachting Federation VYF) and the Formula Experience Class Association.
The club in Oostende has a lot of expertise in running big windsurfing events (e.g. North Sea Cup with 150 competitors in 4 classes.)
We expect this event to be very popular with many teams from Europe and other continents. Team USA is already preparing the trip.
NoR www.formula-experience.org/Experience/basic_frames.htm

Formula Experience is now an ISAF Recognized Class.

The ISAF Council approved the application by Formula Experience to become a recognized class in her November meeting in Barcelona 2003.

More info?

For the USA, contact Carolyn Boersma; carolynboersma@yahoo.com who is in charge of the youth division of the USWA, and for Canada, contact Philip Soltysiak: phil@ica.net. Phil was a competitor at the 2002 Europeans and can tell you first hand what it was like. For more general info on the class, visit us at www.formula-experience.org