PDA

View Full Version : Windsurfers getting older and older


cosmicchuckie
18th October 2009, 05:52 AM
So I moved back home after years away and noticed that the same guys that i knew 10-15 years ago are virtually the only guys left windsurfing! What gives? They confirmed that no new people have taken it up and that's fine with them.

But it can't be good for the industry to have 5 old dudes buying their gear...

And are far as "coolness" goes, it can't be good to have a bunch of decrepit, senior citizens touting the sport.

Philip
18th October 2009, 08:28 AM
And yet in sailing circles generally older sailors are positively encouraged and their experience counts for something, as has been my experience with WS. Our WS are just one kind of water craft in an expanding mix and as far as I am concerned the more the merrier on the water. Growth in the sport seems to me to be linked to promoting water sports generally and where I live that is happening and WS is picking up along with that trend.

Floyd
18th October 2009, 06:35 PM
Afraid I totally agree with original poster. Same at our local beach; same faces for 20 years ??? Look in magazines; its same there too. Every year the average age of windsurfers goes up by one !!!

I also think;contadictory to Starboard`s claims; sport has stood still. Speed records have only crept up for 10 years;wave boards are fundamentally unchanged; look at progress in kiting; with Hydroptere; foiling Moths; etc etc. Personally think we`ve explored too many dead ends .
In years gone by Windsurfing was the fastest; most accessable and required least gear. Afraid its none of those now. For those already addicted it makes no difference but for attracting newcomers other sports offer more attraction.

Hot Ice
18th October 2009, 09:14 PM
15 year old Philip Koster won this years Pozo PWA wave competition. :)

18 year old Sarah-Quita Offringa was crowned yet again PWA freestyle champion. :)

An 8 year old was always out this summer windsurfing in all wind strengths every time I was out. Another of his friends who was also windsurfing had reached the grand old age of 12. Then there was the local posse who ripped in the waves and into freestyle whose average age was about 16. The point here is that it was the summer when the kids were off school. Other than that they tend to be limited to the weekends.

Freestyle and wave sailing has progressed out of all recognition over the last few years. The top moves of even five years ago would not get you through the first round of a competition now.

To-days kit is lighter, faster, more maneuverable and most importantly more fun. In freestyle one board around 100 litres will meet most requirements. In waves two boards will suffice.

Time on the water, working on fitness and intelligent selection of kit that you know inside out and tuned to perfection will always pay dividends. There is no need for a mountain of gear. ;)

PG
18th October 2009, 09:29 PM
I would not say that the future is that bleak. At least here in Finland we have seen quite a decent influx of "young" windsurfers during the last few years. And we seem to be on a constant hunt for more gear storage space (i.e. containers) at the beach. It has to count for something!

I do think growth of the sport requires the old guard to set up "facilities", especially storage at easily accessible and popular beaches.

And if we play our cards right there ought to be a second generation taking up the sport!

Winddd
19th October 2009, 12:09 AM
I work parallel with the windsurfing industry but I kitesurf. I travel extensively and agree with OP. At every break, I notice a few old stalwart windsurfers, but no young blood. Maybe there is 1 or 2 world-wide, but yeah, the grayification of windsurfing is alive and well.

Unregistered
19th October 2009, 03:19 AM
You cant help but agree with OP beacuae its a fact !!! Ofcourse there are exceptions to rule but simple issue is that most (80% +???) windsurfers have been sailing at least 10 years..?? (My guess)
IMO industry is to blame;when sport did attract massive numbers ,sailors were conditioned/encouraged to go high wind/upmarket/more boards/more sails/ more expense simply to feed greed of retailers/manufacturers/magazines.(Sailboarding, as it was originally, died years ago; it was Sailboarding (ie a small dinghy with a sail as opposed to windsurfing; a surfboard with a sail) that attracted all the sailors !!! Virtually nobody Sailboards now;even racers ? (Formula; big surfboard ???)
Industry never learned fact that masses were atracted by simlpicity/convenience which has long since gone and along with it the mass market. Leaving manufacturers to fight over remaining ageing sailing population with revolution of products rather than real evolution; hence why WS is now way down list behind kiting;snowboarding;mountain biking etc etc.
Its great for the sailors remaining but I`d sure hate to be making my living selling/building boards !! Good luck SB; suspect in 10 years you will be only one left !!!

Its too late now. The impetus should have been made to keep all those "sailboarders" sailing on the lakes and not get them to buy small boards and move to coast; searching for F4+ (Which magazines/industry wanted all those years ago !!!)

Its always been the high wind/wave board/ high wind freestyle /high wind slalom which dominated magazines.Offering a type of sailing available at best 10% of the time. It was inevitable hundreds (thousands) became disillusioned; eventually simply packing in.
The kudos in owning a board which worked well on your local lake was simply removed and replaced with this dream of high wind sailing; generally only available abroad and then not as reliably as claimed in magazines !!!

The industry has got all it deserves !!! It threw away the golden egg ! Big style !!

WS lost touch with reality and started selling dreams years ago. Yes the dream is fantastic but reality is F4 + happens (around UK) one day in 6 ??? (And you are probably working; at a wedding; taking kids away etc etc)

Beginners aren`t interested in starting a sport which has to dominate your lifestyle from day 1 !!! They want a sport they know they can do whenever the mood takes them. Windsurfing cant do that !!!

Unregistered
19th October 2009, 03:27 AM
PS
Sailoboarding did for many years !

Unregistered
19th October 2009, 04:28 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFYtmDgOw48

steveC
19th October 2009, 05:15 AM
A lot of folks just can't get over the fact that the windsurfing fad ended years ago, but many of us that started 20-25 years ago are still religiously involved, hence the growing age of windsurfers. Water sports in general don't always attract the masses, because the majority of folks just don't want to recreate in the water. Also, there is a lot of competition for those that do with other popular water sports, like surfing, kiting, SUP, waterskiing/wakeboarding, kayaking, boating and jetskis (I have to admit that I would have little grief if jetskis vanished from the face of the earth).

Is windsurfing going to grow? Sure, but folks will also leave the sport too, so the overall numbers aren't multiplying markedly. Windsurfing is a highly specialized sport, even if we're looking at a relatively simple longboard kit. The fun in windsurfing requires wind and water, and that's not always available in a convenient way that fits folks' schedules. As a result, the sport requires a significant amount of dedication and tenacity, to include an ability to tolerate a certain amount of frustration and disappointment. Add to that the fact that windsurfing requires some wallet to keep updated and viable across a broad spectrum of conditions. Where are you going to store the stuff when it's not in use?

I could go on and on about this topic, but I think we all recognize the realities in the sport. Frankly, I can accept the fact that windsurfing is not going to be super huge, but I can readily appreciate its esoteric qualities, and I'm particularly glad that some others feel similarly.

Quite honestly, I have no fear that windsurfing will die.

espen
19th October 2009, 06:52 AM
Issue # 1: itís so dÖ much equipment. Kids canít go out by them self, they need to be driven.
Issue # 2: itís too expensive. A family with two kids and some boards and sails will use 10 000 $ in a swish
Issue # 3: Magazines, marketing and so on are focused on high wind; the majority freerider is ignored. When was the last time you saw a test of longboards, beginner boards and boards for intermediates.
Issue # 4: The sport is too technical and the intermediate struggles to find descent answer on witch fin or what sail to use, just look at this forum.
Issue # 5: All sports have the same problems people get married and have kids. If you are lucky and live near the lake or ocean then you could get some TOW in the next 10 Ė 15 years on your old quiver, you donít have money to buy new ones.


So my conclusion is:
If you are lucky and have parents driving you to the shore, you might get 10 GREAT YEARS with offshore high wind surf before you have kids.

The next 10 Ė 15 years of boredom might tear on the windsurfer hart, but you could get the kids into the sport and maybe the better half would follow. IF you convince the family, you could have 10 -15 GREAT YEARS of cruising and some occasional high wind sessions.

When the kids find girl-/boy-friends Ė your home safe! You have a blistering 30 GREAT YEARS ahead of you so grab the gear, by that new stuff, build a bigger garage, buy that surfmobile, plan your next surf vacation and enjoy!

If you sum this up you could get ďallĒ into windsurfing and they would use 50 GREAT YEARS more or less on surfing. For the manufactures this is good; at least 20 boards, 30 sails, 20 booms, 10 masts and lots of other cool stuff per person.

I have a lot to do yet with a lousy track record of 7 boards, 9 sails, 4 booms, 5 masts. Think of all the cool stuff Iím going to get, and all the moaning from the better half, even if I start to have grey tints in the hair.

I love this fÖ sport - and I still have big grinds on my face after an ice-cold half good session!

carvesalot
19th October 2009, 09:13 AM
15 year old Philip Koster won this years Pozo PWA wave competition. :)

18 year old Sarah-Quita Offringa was crowned yet again PWA freestyle champion. :)

An 8 year old was always out this summer windsurfing in all wind strengths every time I was out. Another of his friends who was also windsurfing had reached the grand old age of 12. Then there was the local posse who ripped in the waves and into freestyle whose average age was about 16. The point here is that it was the summer when the kids were off school. Other than that they tend to be limited to the weekends.

Freestyle and wave sailing has progressed out of all recognition over the last few years. The top moves of even five years ago would not get you through the first round of a competition now.

To-days kit is lighter, faster, more maneuverable and most importantly more fun. In freestyle one board around 100 litres will meet most requirements. In waves two boards will suffice.

Time on the water, working on fitness and intelligent selection of kit that you know inside out and tuned to perfection will always pay dividends. There is no need for a mountain of gear. ;)

yes, the growth is not ballistic, but their are new sail companies, new board companies,
so the future is not quite so bleak. The ages I recall at Hood River this year are really wide spread.

davide
19th October 2009, 01:06 PM
So I moved back home after years away and noticed that the same guys that i knew 10-15 years ago are virtually the only guys left windsurfing! What gives? They confirmed that no new people have taken it up and that's fine with them.


It depends where you are. In Europe windsurfing is still much stronger than here in the USA, and all generations are quite represented, and I suspect this is also true in the big windsurfing locations in the USA. In San Francisco. where I live, there is a whole new quite large 20- to 30-something group of sailors that concentrate mostly on freestyle and do things that I thought could not be done on a board. In addition in places like Crissy you see pretty much the whole spectrum of ages from 12 years old (in the morning hours) to seventy plus.

There is also quite a lot of competition with Kite-surfing, but here too Kite might be peaking in terms of "recruitment" and "give" back some sailors to windsurf: the novelty factor will wear off and people will also little realize how dangerous (deadly!) Kite is in respect to windsurf.

Farlo
19th October 2009, 06:42 PM
Seems that WS is picking up again in certain locations like Swiss. On my spot we noticed a new wave of relatively young sailors. Most of the second hand gear, some of the early 90's, disappeared from the local shop during the past two years and you see it back on water now. There is still a market for demanding water sports, as the booming of kite has demonstrated. Maybe WS just need to adapt?

Darko_Z
19th October 2009, 08:14 PM
Five months ago I uploaded video about formula windsurfing to YouTube, there were more than 2000 views. But I was surprised by Statistics & Data, video was most popular with male 45 - 54, 60% of viewers were around 50 years old, the rest was not much younger. Than I checked other videos about windsurfing on YouTube and it was more or less the same with all of them.
On windsurf spots I usually see windsurfers well over 40years old, 10 % are students 20 to 25 years old, they do mostly freestyle, but most of them stops windsurfing when they get job and family. Kids are windsurfing only if father is windsurfer and he is rich enough.
To judge how old are average windsurfers based on age of few competitors, makes no sense since they represent only few percent of all windsurfers. But even if we do so, we can see that average age of competitors in PWA rankings is around 30, for example average age of top 3 slalom sailors is 37 years.

So more than obvious fact is, average windsurfer is getting older.

Why?

Main reason, of course, are high prices of windsurf gear, full price for windsurf board in Europe is from 1000 to 2000 EURO (1500 Ė 4000 U.S. dollar) or even higher, while production costs for one windsurf board are probably around few hundred EURO. So Iím sure that producers of windsurf gear donít hate to be in windsurf business.
Main reason why they can sell for such high prices is that most windsurfers are old enough to have enough spare money to pay. And so prices are getting higher and higher and windsurfers are getting older and older.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjkZfIOlh18

Farlo
19th October 2009, 09:02 PM
Well, this is true and not true. You can still find a decent beginner's kit (board, sail, usw) for ~1000 Ä, which is similar to the mid 80's price given the inflation. And this kit is much more reliable, practical and fun that at the time so you get more value for money. Also there are tons of inexpensive second hand gear on the market. WS is certainly costly but I suspect competition from other sports (not mentioning videogames) to play a big role. Many people say that kite is way easier to begin and get fun, for instance. By the way, we've been hearing of WS' decline well before the booming of kite.

Floyd
19th October 2009, 09:40 PM
Think someone earlier mentioned this point; or similar but ;;

When I started WS it was viewed as a cheaper ; less complicated and propbably faster alternative to dinghy sailing. I`d sailed dinghies for years and appreciated the quicker rigging; easier transport and convenience WS (or Sailboarding) offered.
There was no link or competition to surfing; kayaking or skiing.
Over a few years sport changed ; developed into more of an "extreme" sport ; which it wasn`t (most of the time) now competing with Surfing/Skiing and to be fair losing many of the attractions many sailors originally came to it for. (I`d raced 505 dinghies ; trailing kit and crew all over country) Now I`m back with loads more gear than I ever had with 505.!!! (wouldn`t go back though)

Problem now is
a) The convenient aspect of sport (One board/ sail on local lake) does not have sufficient numbers/ organisation to maintain interest (globally/nationally) for racing/ fun events. Freesailing in F3 is not going to maitain sailors interest long !!! Cruising on a board ??? There are better alternatives for exploring ???

b) The more extreme sailing (ie any type F5+) has many competitors(eg kiting/wakeboarding/Snowboarding) offering more reliable cheaper participation with quicker learning progress.

Ages I sail with vary from 72 to 40. All with 20+ years experience. We`ve had two newcomers in last year or so.One was 42 other 54 !!! Wonder what will be happening in 20 years time.. !!

The sport will never die out but IMHO numbers must decline owing to simple aging of participants. Are we loosing more than gaining ?? Anybody know.?

Darko_Z
19th October 2009, 09:52 PM
Yes you can find beginners kit for 1000 EURO, but after few years you are not beginner any more and than you need two boards five sails, three masts, three booms, finsÖ.
Of course you need also a big car to transport the gear and job where you can take a leave when wind blows. If you travel with airplane you pay extra for cargo, than you have to rent a car or you rent a windsurf for 600 EURO / week (Fuerteventura). Not to mention your wife and kids.
Because of this and many other reasons WS was in decline before kite boom. Kite is cheaper and easier for transport, but it has some other drawbacks, so it is no replacement for WS.

Windsurfing will survive, but windsurfers are still getting older.

Farlo
19th October 2009, 10:26 PM
That's another story. Spending money (and time) for additional gear results from a bit of addiction. Admittedly many people will give up before, because there are easier and cheaper sports. However you don't necessarily need tons of gear to have fun, just the right gear for your practice and local conditions. It takes some experience to get there. But we discussed that several times already, and we are not getting younger for sure.

mark h
20th October 2009, 02:39 AM
Interesting thread. Age of windsurfers seems to vary depending on were you live. I live right on the coast in the north west UK, and there is a 50/50 split between the under 20's and older. The sub 20's seem to look for flat water for freestyle or they chase waves. Understandable when you see the next gen PWA freestylers doing there thing.

On a windy day, we can get as many as 70 plus sailors out, ranging from 8yrs to 70yrs. This year, I have noticed a lot of people returning to windsurfing after a 20yr break (work/families/moved away from the coast etc).

The UK has a very healthy T15 race scene for the under 15's, and our local T15 is buzzing at the moment. These young racers are also into there freestyle, and a few are into waves.

The UK also has a pretty big UKWA race scene. Whilst there are older members, the majority of members are sub 20yrs old.

Our local windsurf school is consitantly busy, especially at weekends and on school holidays, its not unusual to see fifteen plus pupils out on the water. Admitedly, only a few will stick with it and move on to higher levels.

But what Im trying to say is that, at my local beach, there is definetly young, older and newbies. Plus most windsurfing companies still seem to be making money, so business must be OK!

Just my 2 cents worth:)

Ken
20th October 2009, 04:17 AM
In its heyday (for me in Texas - mid to late 80's), everyone was in the same boat so to speak. Beginners and experts were on the same long boards and sails. The experts also had custom glass short boards for the windy days, but on a typical summer 10-15 day, I would see 50-75 sailors on the same beach with their families and friends, sailing and picnicking. Those that were more advanced worked on their basic long board freestyle while everyone else was learning or just cruising.

It was not an intimidating sport and equipment choices were simple. While I applaud the advances in equipment, it is much more complicated for the beginner. It isn't really, but from their perspective, it looks that way. There appears to be a very large gap between the advanced sailors and the beginners in both equipment and skills.

Society today have been trained / conditioned to find the easy way for fun and recreation and the other options vying for our free time are easier than windsurfing. Instant gratification is the name of the game. Few really want to accept the challenge of learning to windsurf.

Available water, launch site, wind, weather, equipment and transportation make windsurfing a challenge for everyone, even if highly committed.

I have no answers, but for us oldies (I am 64), it's a kick.

My frustration today is that it's 75 degrees, sunny and blowing 15 - 25 knots and I can't go out. I just had a cancer cut from my ear two hours ago and will wait at least until tomorrow to hit the water. The down side of being a senior windsurfer. For those of you that don't use sunscreen and wear hats, your time will come. This makes at least a dozen I have had removed plus 100's of pre-cancerous lesions (keratosis).

Philip
20th October 2009, 06:21 AM
I agree with Ken. It is remarkable that during the boom before the GFC our numbers were not rising faster off what-ever baseline. It might have something to do with a then community ethic that given enough $ most things could be bought, except WS technique is a function of TOW. I like SteveCs comment about the estoteric aspect of the sport.

Complexity of WS is surely part of the rite of passage. The challenge is to get newbies through the initial thresholds, just like any other sport.

As for cost I had not noticed much of a decline in snow skiing even during the GFC - now there is a sport that costs an arm and a leg - but once bitten what can you do?

joe_windsurfer
20th October 2009, 07:05 AM
Last Friday it was really cold , winds about 10-15 knots and i was not feeling well. As I was pulling my W/S gear outta the van, a small car like a Toyota pulled up with a few young fellas , perhaps about to smoke an illegal substance or have a snifter . In any case the driver asked, " Ce n'est pas trop fraite?" which translated means isn't it a bit f'ing cold ? Explained to him that in fact it was a day for the "crazies" and sickos :-) He replied, "Non, c'est COOL." which is international :-)

There were two other W/S'ers on the water, man and his other and she was in a dry suit.

Later about 5 kiters showed up and they were in the 30 to 55 range. Many of them put 2 to 3 layers and had 16 sq meter kites = crazies n sickos ...

Moral of the story - the young would probably do W/Sing - they think it is cool. It is after all very fast, can do tricks and flashy equipment. It is not so far from snowboarding or skateboarding for that matter.

Here what is missing is W/S schools, access points and just plain trial equipment. Even I had to put out over $1200 for stuff I had never tried...

Was actually thinking about starting a weekend school, but someone in a near town never replied as to how it was workin out for him. The other fellow is spending the winter in Hawaii and goin' on a world tour. Musta worked out for him :-)

Interesting thread, but my management question is:
What can we do to ensure this does NOT happen again
ie how do we get the local kids n teens back on the water
and non, i am NOT a manager :-)

happy windsurfing n boardsailing you old farts :-)
when i die , i'll be on my board gettin run down by some motorized maniac, who will be 20 years my senior {and i am 50 } :-)

Darko_Z
20th October 2009, 07:53 PM
Places where you have always same winds and windsurfing conditions and therefore you can use only one board and one sail are probably rare. Actually I donít believe that such place exist, it would be a windsurfing haven. Sometimes one day of windsurfing in perfect conditions can be worth more than many days of windsurfing in only good enough conditions. To miss such day because you didnít have right gear is every windsurferís nightmare.

In any case, I think prices for windsurf gear are much to high considering production cost, and of course much to high to attract many new people to this sport.

Of course some young people do start windsurfing, nobody can deny that, perhaps not so many we would like and some of them quit after a while. But if we compare this to other sports we can se that masses of young people start participating in those sports and after a while almost all of them quit. Statistically average participants in such sports are very young.

Perhaps statistically average windsurfer is getting older, not because young people donít start but because older people donít want to quit.

If this is the case than addiction factor of windsurfing is much higher than with other sports. If we consider high price, no wind frustration, travel limitations, job, family and many other limitations and deterrents from windsurfing and people over 45 still donít want to quit, than there is no doubt about it, we are addicted.

Farlo
20th October 2009, 09:43 PM
For a few years I've been using the same board and two sails 80% of the time. Don't sail very often though, maybe once a month in average, but don't feel frustrated either. You raise a good point with old windsurfers not willing to quit. Nothing wrong with this, there are lots of old bikers too. Maybe the biggest distortion is with the image WS wants to retain of a young sport: spectacular moves, flashy colors, long hair... but this aspect undoubtly still exists.

Bill Weird
21st October 2009, 02:56 AM
Based on Windsurfing Magazine, you would think that all windsurfers were in their 20s. I have yet to see an "older" windsurfer (30s, 40s, 50s) actually featured in the photos.

joe_windsurfer
21st October 2009, 05:48 PM
as an "old" windsurfer I keep W/S mags in the can/bathroom
was reading an article in the American W/S Magazine called Who is Today's Windsurfer - July 2006 page 44
Although it does not follow statistical sampling methods , the results are interesting just the same.

Name: John, runner up Dave - yes majority males
Age: 41
State: California - next Florida
Weight: 171 lbs
Height: 5' 10"
Job: Engineer
W/S'ed: 13 years
Boards: 5 - most used 121 - biggest 171
Sails: 7 - most used 6.9 - biggest 8.1
masts:5
booms:4
fins: 8
wetsuits:4

if average is 171, why is heavyweight 180 ??

Darko_Z
21st October 2009, 07:59 PM
If you use one board 80% of the time, you still have to use second board for 20% of the time, so you still have to own two boards. But even if you own only one board, my point is:

Prices for windsurf gear are blown out of proportions.

The fact that windsurfers are addicted to sport and therefore older windsurfers donít want to quit is positive. It means there is something special about this sport and this is reason why windsurfing will survive.

If you want to show picture of windsurf slalom champion in magazine you have to show picture of Antoine Albeau and he is 37 years old. Perhaps young windsurfers shown in magazines are not so young you would think. For windsurfing you need physical fitness and agility, this is usually associated with youth, therefore when we are watching windsurfers, we automatically assume they are young.
Perhaps we are so surprised that average windsurfer is older than we think, just because windsurfers generally look younger than they really are, if thatís comfort for anybody.

Farlo
21st October 2009, 09:18 PM
Hello Darko,

Two boards & four sails cover the wind range I want to sail in (12 ~30 Knts). Sure I have a few others but even with one left I would still enjoy 80% of TOW. My point is nothing forces you to have tons of gear. By the way half of mine is old stuff I keep for spare. Over the past ten years I bought only one new board for around 1200 €. The others I got at half price or less (admittedly I spent much more in sails).

Maybe WS is a reflect of society. In western world people are getting older and keep doing things. You don't necessarily see them in magazines because age does not sell. However in special test editions the team is often a mix of young guns and older sailors, some with considerable experience.

michelb
22nd October 2009, 03:14 AM
Hello All,

I think we are mostly older guys...

Me 41 years, 100 kg, married with 5 childs ( from 19 to 4 years). My ws equipment is as simple as 1 Formula Board ( F161) + 1 boom + 1 mast + a extendo and 2 sails ( 10 + 11)+ 2 fins. Wind covered from 8 to 20+ knots.... ( 96% of time in my local spot).

I find this is the better replacement for my old sailboard ( a Browning with a 6,3 with 3 little batens and that boom that moves up and down on the mast).

Any of Us can be critic with the WS company's and with WS in general, but if you has the time and the posibility, just get a old WS and rig the dacron camless sail with this boom (just try to put this boom on the alu mast) and you will get the answer to why we never surrender. Ws was so difficult and now we find it easy, with the wide boards you can be WS in hours. Even you can plane in the first lesson ( Tandem in a Gemini).

The problem I think is the new generations they need the instant gratification, and WS is not a easy sport to learn.

For sure we are addicted.

Michel

Jean-Marc
22nd October 2009, 04:05 AM
Agree modern gear is much more user-friendly than 40 years ago, no contest.

However, I don't see any problems with the new generation. They can learn the basics skills (gear assembly and tuning, sail uphaul, tacking, jibing) within a few days, same as we did years back in the mid-70ies. Once they're hooked to this addicting sport, their interest and motivation to improve their skills is usually gonna be sustainable. Drop out rates are low after the discovery of their first planing. As everybody's else, they quickly want more, more and more of that addicting stuff...!

Young guns as well as oldies but goldies tend to favor freestyling tricks in low wind. One popular bible according to many freaks is the "Trictionary" books suite .

My guess is that windsurfing has emerged in the mid-70ies, so it's not uncommon to find both young and old people (i.e., I surmised a wide-shaped Bell's curve distribution would be expected). By contrast, kitesurfing and SUPing are much more recent addition to the ever-widening spectrum of watersports and therefore the age population distribution looks much more younger (i.e., a narrower-shaped Bell's curve distribution would be expected).

Sailing and windsurfing course's demand is increasingly booming in Switzerland these last couples of years. This is a happy collateral consequence resulting from the Alinghi and America's cup media buz in this country.

Cheers !

JM

Reg I. Stered
22nd October 2009, 11:16 AM
Most will agree that us old foagies are actually a liability to marketing. Who's gonna buy into a trendy sport that has blown it's wad with a bunch of pot-bellied, balding windsurfers in the mags???

That's reality folks.

Farlo
22nd October 2009, 06:31 PM
Are you still reading WS mags anyway? PM special test edition once a year is enough for me. Discussing with other sailors, racers occasionally, shops or forums brings much more valuable information. But I agree that for newbies entering the sport, mags are one way to understand WS culture (at least it was for me).

Hot Ice
22nd October 2009, 09:15 PM
more boards/more sails/ more expense simply to feed greed of retailers/manufacturers/magazines.

I have never met anyone who went into the windsurfing business out of greed.

Phill104
23rd October 2009, 04:06 AM
I have never met anyone who went into the windsurfing business out of greed.

How is the shop going:p

Seriously though, in the UK we have some great initiatives such as National Windsurfing Week ( http://www.nationalwindsurfingweek.org/ ). To get the kids involved we have Team15 ( http://www.rya.org.uk/programmes/team15/Pages/default.aspx ).

Both have really worked and have seen many hundreds of newcomers at least give the sport a go.

Getting the kids into our sport is the best way to see it continue to grow, especially if we can get the kids to skip that nasty puberty/opposite sex bit;)

The last 2 years have been extremely busy at my local lake with more teaching being done than ever before and I honestly believe National Windsurfing Week has played a part in that. There are also gym style membership schemes available so you don't need your own kit, you just turn up and play.

All of this has to be good for our sport.

Hot Ice
24th October 2009, 02:31 AM
How is the shop going:p

Donít tell me you still believe that nonsense. :eek:

Anyway you are spot on with NWW and T15. :)

Maybe export it to a few other countries. :cool:

Jean-Marc
26th October 2009, 11:21 PM
Most will agree that us old foagies are actually a liability to marketing.

Do you think Jim Drake is a liability to Starboard's innovative and most debated evolution in recent windsurf history (the Formula, the Hypersonic, the Serenity to name a few) ?

Do you think Bjorn Dunkerbeck is a liability to 20 years-old marketing with Volkswagen's T1/T2/T3/T4/T5 SUV series program?
http://www.windsurfjournal.com/frontblocks/news/pop_up_news.asp?id_news=18063&ID_BB_LANGUAGES=1
http://www.bz-berlin.de/archiv/20-jahre-volkswagen-california-auch-der-35-fache-weltmeister-bjoern-dunkerbeck-gratuliert-article320345.html

Do you think Robby Naish is a liability to kite- and windsurfing marketing ?

Do you think Svein Rasmussen himself (owner of Starboard BTW) is a liability to windsurfing and SUPing marketing?

All of the above are well known figures that are truly inspiring legends for experts and newbies exposed to either watersport or outdoor life, or both. I don't think that getting older and older is detrimental with getting more and more people on the water to learn and keep up with windsurfing, kitesurfing or SUPing. If Jim Drake can do it until his 80th birthday, almost everybody else can do it, health permitting.

Cheers!

JM

agrelon
30th October 2009, 10:34 PM
A lot of folks just can't get over the fact that the windsurfing fad ended years ago, but many of us that started 20-25 years ago are still religiously involved, hence the growing age of windsurfers. Water sports in general don't always attract the masses, because the majority of folks just don't want to recreate in the water. Also, there is a lot of competition for those that do with other popular water sports, like surfing, kiting, SUP, waterskiing/wakeboarding, kayaking, boating and jetskis (I have to admit that I would have little grief if jetskis vanished from the face of the earth).

Is windsurfing going to grow? Sure, but folks will also leave the sport too, so the overall numbers aren't multiplying markedly. Windsurfing is a highly specialized sport, even if we're looking at a relatively simple longboard kit. The fun in windsurfing requires wind and water, and that's not always available in a convenient way that fits folks' schedules. As a result, the sport requires a significant amount of dedication and tenacity, to include an ability to tolerate a certain amount of frustration and disappointment. Add to that the fact that windsurfing requires some wallet to keep updated and viable across a broad spectrum of conditions. Where are you going to store the stuff when it's not in use?

I could go on and on about this topic, but I think we all recognize the realities in the sport. Frankly, I can accept the fact that windsurfing is not going to be super huge, but I can readily appreciate its esoteric qualities, and I'm particularly glad that some others feel similarly.

Quite honestly, I have no fear that windsurfing will die.

I agree about the frustration, it does take commitment. I get up at 5am some days to get an hour and a half in before school if the wind is up. A while ago my friend tried for 2 days and by the end was 100% not going to persevere.

But putting so much in does make the rewards feel good. I hate waiting on the wind.

Ken
30th October 2009, 11:13 PM
If you were between 8 and 18 years of age, which one would you choose to get your adrenalin flowing?

1. Skateboarding
2. BMX
3. Surfing
4. Rollerblading
5. Youth sports - soccer, football, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, etc., etc.
6. Windsurfing
7. Kiteboarding

For the most part, 1-5 are relatively inexpensive, easy to learn the basics, accessible almost any day and fun.

Windsurfing will never be able to draw vast numbers in the younger age groups. Unfortunate, but that's the way the games are played.

However, once you master the basics in windsurfing, it truly is addictive and will likely keep you hooked for the rest of your life. That's why there are quite a few of us "old dudes" still around.

agrelon
1st November 2009, 10:18 AM
If you were between 8 and 18 years of age, which one would you choose to get your adrenalin flowing?

1. Skateboarding
2. BMX
3. Surfing
4. Rollerblading
5. Youth sports - soccer, football, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, etc., etc.
6. Windsurfing
7. Kiteboarding

For the most part, 1-5 are relatively inexpensive, easy to learn the basics, accessible almost any day and fun.

Windsurfing will never be able to draw vast numbers in the younger age groups. Unfortunate, but that's the way the games are played.

However, once you master the basics in windsurfing, it truly is addictive and will likely keep you hooked for the rest of your life. That's why there are quite a few of us "old dudes" still around.

I BMX too. I've got the basics in both windsurfing and BMX and at the moment I'm focusing much more on windsurfing because it's more addictive and my wrist has taken a lot of crap recently in BMX.

Phill104
2nd November 2009, 03:50 AM
Keep it up agrelon. It is great to see anyone with that kind of dedication, especially someone who has to deal with school too. Fantastic effort:D

Ken
2nd November 2009, 05:19 AM
agrelon,

My point exactly. With all the available choices, it's very difficult for teenagers or younger guys/gals to take up windsurfing. Without the support of parents that are into the sport, it isn't going to happen for most of the youth out there.

I admire you for your tenacity to pursue windsurfing. Keep it up and in a several decades, you will be an "old dude windsurfer" too. "Dude" being a term from my youthful days growing up in Southern California.

agrelon
2nd November 2009, 05:25 PM
Hahaha, well hopefully when I'm old I'll have enough income to afford proper gear which will get me on the water more often and more comfortably...

Seeing as this morning when I was out with my 6.0 the wind picked up from a steady bft5 and started gusting at 6, maybe 7. Gameover. trip to the rocks, cut up feet, broken ego. gladly no equipment damage. Should've taken my 4.5, arrogance of youth.

John Kemsley
4th November 2009, 04:16 PM
Addicted - definitly. Got a torn medial meniscus - hurts but when surgeon said i cld try to get on a board yeeeehaaa. Yes I am over 50, fat (93kg), bald and totally addicted

Lessacher
6th November 2009, 12:18 AM
I am since 39years a Windsurfer, now 68years old our young, have all it for windsurfing,
my own boards and fins. With 65 I finished my job and started to work more fins in carbon. Since DŲblin made 50knots with a fin from me, I hope that the most dont read that, I have to work fins and fins.... no time for 70km/h (my dream)Weekends at home,
not in Strand Horst in Netherland. But now I think: How many knots are 100 km/h???
When get he the wind? Wolfgang