British windsurfer Nick Dempsey has condemned the "bizarre" decision to drop the sport from the 2016 Olympics.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced that the discipline is to be replaced by kiteboarding after London 2012.
"It is bizarre," said Dempsey, who won bronze at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
"It is based on a group of out-of-touch old guys who have no idea what they are talking about and are slowly ruining the sport."
Dempsey, 31, is competing at his fourth Olympics at London 2012.
He is predicting a backlash and believes attempts will be made to get the decision overturned.
"I don't quite know how the ISAF have come up with the decision, but they have," he added.
"It is massively out of the blue, a big shock and really disappointing. I think people will be working very hard to get the decision overturned.
"It has to try to get back in for the 2020 Games. I think without that windsurfing will fade away a little bit.
"It has to be in the Olympics for it to carry on as an everyday sport. It needs that main kind of media platform at the top to feed everything else."
Dempsey's shock has been echoed by the Royal Yachting Association Olympic manager Stephen Park.
"The recent decision by the ISAF to remove windsurfing from the Olympic programme is clearly a massive blow for windsurfing, while equally a huge opportunity for kitesurfing," said Park.
"I would not go as far as to say it will be the death of windsurfing, albeit that it may turn out in history to be the death of it as an Olympic event."