Englishman Dempsey, 32, believed his RS:X career was over after the IOC decided to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing for the next Games in Rio de Janeiro.
So convinced was Dempsey that the decision was final that he actually took up kitesurfing, hoping the new challenge would extend his time as a water sports competitor.
The Olympic silver medallist did not even train at RS:X until the IOC reversed their decision in November – four months before the World Championships in Brazil – and even then he did not hit the waves until January, with just a six-week build-up to the Worlds after six months off.
He claimed victory nonetheless, adding to his 2009 World title to become the first man to win a double at the Championships.
“I have to admit, I was a little bit surprised at how well I’d been sailing,” Dempsey told Eurosport. “I didn’t go to Rio with a massive goal of winning, more to see how things go after basically stopping for three months.
“I wanted to get a feel for where I was at and make a plan for the rest of the season. After windsurfing was swapped for kitesurfing following London, we accepted there would be no more RS:X so I tried kitesurfing.
“A lot of the younger guys were devastated as they hadn’t had a chance to build a career in windsurfing, but I accepted as I’d had a great run and was ready to adapt to my surroundings.
“I tried it, loved it and accepted the new challenge. I had convinced myself that this would give me a renewed enthusiasm for competing.
“So when November came and they reversed the decision, I thought ‘Oh God, can I do this, can I backtrack on my personal decision?’
“I aimed to get back on the board in January to aim for the Worlds in March – and I loved it.”
Dempsey took silver in London, having been a tip for gold since winning the Worlds in England in 2009.
He feels he is more suited to competing in Rio though, backed up by his superb performance at the 2013 Worlds.
“I really enjoyed training and the venue in Brazil and sailed well enough to win the title,” he added.
“The whole of last year was really difficult so this year I was looking to start afresh. The Worlds gave me an opportunity to focus for a spell, to see if I still wanted it. And I definitely do.
“It’s my sort of venue and maybe I can hold it all together. I don’t think I’ll be able to take six months off this time, but I should be in good enough shape to compete.
“Experience really helps at a venue like Rio, which will be very tidal, very tactical, surrounded by the mountains and big buildings.
“The experienced old heads tend to do well in those conditions, with variable winds.
“I’d got into the kitesurfing in a big way and I wasn’t sure if I still wanted it with windsurfing. But after going to Brazil it turns out I did, and I’m ready for the challenge.”
Follow Nick Dempsey at