Barton obsessed with prospect of Paris

Matthew Barton in Palma. Spain.
Photo by Lloyd Images
Matthew Barton in Palma. Spain. Photo by Lloyd Images

Bury St Edmunds' Matthew Barton sees the road to the Paris Olympic Games as an ‘obsession' in the wake of a successful year on the water.

The 26-year-old foil windsurfer has faced multiple challenges in his career, most notably switching from the RS:X format to the iQFOiL in 2019, to favour his height and weight.

But Barton is now laser focused on the Paris 2024 Olympics as the endgame after a long wait to meet his goals.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming World Championships, he said: "I'm getting to the point now where I'm going to be one of those more senior ones on the team and it's getting to the point where it is now a true obsession.

"It's all I'm thinking and care about and because it's all come from myself drive then I think getting to Paris would be the most incredible satisfaction.

"If you could bottle up the feeling I had after the World Championships when all the hard work comes together and you get rewarded, there's no greater feeling and I think it would be that to an even greater degree."

Barton finished second at the 2021 iQFOiL World Championships in a career best, thrilled with the improvements he had made in his new class.

The silver medallist originally struggled within his old RS:X windsurfing class, slightly too heavy to find success and constantly having to diet to keep his weight down.

But his change to foil windsurfing has seen him sail through the world rankings and feel healthier whilst doing it.

Now, Barton hopes his new and improved techniques will help him to continued success at the 2022 World Championships in October.

He said: "I personally am a real fan of learning. In every session you go onto the water and are learning absolutely loads so it's been motivating and windsurfing became such a pleasure.

"The weight change aspect was challenging. It was a mental transition more than anything, teaching your body how to eat a lot more and switching from lots of cardio to lots of gym.

"But honestly I've not looked back and it does help when you're doing well but it's been a lot of fun.

"I'm feeling quietly confident for Worlds but the crazy thing with windsurfing is that it can all come in last minute and it's almost like revising for an exam where only one person passes."

Barton is constantly trying to improve his performance on the road to Paris 2024, even if it means defying the odds.

The foil windsurfer has now mastered the art of FOiL Tacking, a new skill that sees the surfer turn the board through the wind whilst staying up on the foil, and Barton believes techniques like this will be give him the edge on his Olympic journey.

He said: "It was something that six months ago people didn't think was possible but then someone did it, a 15-year-old boy did it.

"Suddenly because you had seen it's possible, everyone starts trying and now it's going to be a massive gain and one of those things where some athletes are fundamentally unable to do this and it's completely twisted on the head what your prioritises are.

"So I think that's part of the challenge but also part of the fun in that you don't know where that next gain is and being innovative and on top of that is crucial."

The British Sailing Team are the most successful national Olympic sailing team of all time and will proudly fly the flag for Great Britain at Paris 2024