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28th September 2006 03:07 AM
steveC
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi milk laser,

You're correct about the social side of windsurfing being different in places around the world. From my perspective, so much depends on the advantages of location. Although I live in a fantasic coastal community where one would think that windsurfing would thrive year round, there are very few windsurfers. Yet, the SF Bay area to the north has a very active racing scene that is one of the strongest in the US. There are other similar core spots that have active racing communities, but windsurfing still tends to be a fringe type sport in the US.

Regarding US competitors in Melborne, Australia last year, there actually a number of competitors from the US. In addition to Micah Buzianis, Kevin Pritchard, Jimmy Diaz, Devin Boulon, Seth Besse, Steve Bodner, and Michael Porter all attended the event. Three of these guys were in the top 10 places. I guess the fact that Diaz, Boulon and Porter are shown to be from the US Virgin Islands (ISV) tends to confuse things a bit.

In FW Worlds in Korea, Jimmy Diaz was the only entry from the US.

With the large population in the US, one would think that there would be far more windsurfers participating in the sport. This has always been a big mystery to me. I could surmise much about why this is true, but at the root of things, I think that very few folks actually see themselves as a part of the vision. Maybe with the strong focus the windsurfing industry is now putting on longboards will change things. Time will tell.

27th September 2006 08:01 PM
milk laser
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi Steve C,
I want once more repeat that I'm not against progress in design and technology.
You are right on most points. I have understood that social side of racing has different forms in different countries. I see it as the most important thing, but somewhere it plays not so significant role.

Just checked FW Worlds in Korea results. There are no racers from US.
I'm not sure if I'm correct, but in Australia Worlds Micah Buzianis was the only man from US.
21st September 2006 10:43 AM
Nathan
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Oops sorry wrong thread.....


Nathan
21st September 2006 10:39 AM
Nathan
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Not too sure what all the fuss is about, because a racer could be carrying two board to a event RIGHT NOW, its just that the boards would be from different companies, to explain.....

Example: Lets say the board company "XXX-Boards" makes a fantastic formula board (named "Light Wind Machine") this formula board is the best light wind board on the market (up to 15knots), leaves everything for dead. Lets say Starboard makes a board name "161" is the best board on the market for winning races over 15knots.

A cashed up racer who has brought "Light Wind Machine" & "161" can go to a event, determine the overall conditions for an event and register the best board for what he thinks will win him the most races.

Nathan

21st September 2006 09:23 AM
Remi
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi James,

Their is another possibility with the FE Class, real cheap compare to FW and enough good to have really good fun and race. At the last Youth Worlds where the FW and FE racers race together, we was really surprise to see in 4 races that a FE board win the races, soo not so bad.

In the FW Class their is a very good change in 2008, all boards who will be register the 30 september 2007 will lock for 2 years. So the next change will be only 30 september 2009. That will give a chance to many racers to be competitive 2 years with the same board.

All the best
21st September 2006 03:03 AM
James
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Formula racing is cool, but I think that even without the Apollo it's an awfully tough class to be competitive in.

I've done local races on my F158, but it's always terrifying and exhausting and I'm usually miles behind the serious competitors. The other day I was riding my F158 and stock fin against Dave Kashy on a F160 with one of his Kashy custom fins ($700 USD!). Granted he's a better rider, but there was just no way I could come anywhere NEAR his speed and upwind / downwind angles with my setup.

I could train extra hard and spend $$ on fins to be competetive in formula this year... Or I could pick up that $200 F2 Lightning 380 longboard that I just found on CraigsList and race in the local longboard class with top-of-the-line everything!
21st September 2006 01:54 AM
steveC
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi milk laser,

I think I'll give it one more go here.

In many respects, you are right about "unattached" sailors like me. It is highly unlikely that I would sail formula equipment, but much of that has to do with the locales that I windsurf at. Lots of rocky bottoms with surf, and to make matters more difficult, kelp and weeds are at most spots. If I lived in the SF Bay area, my view and interests would very likely be different. Still, one would have to rationalize the expense and balance it with the fun involved. Currently I'm using a 5 board quiver, and that's more than most are willing to invest in and maintain.

Regarding the FE class, you touched directly on their weakest link. Why would anyone want to buy a funky aluminum boom? Junk in my mind. Actually, if you check past history, I have been very critical of aluminum booms, especially for use in a formal racing class like FE. It's my thought that the restriction was probably an inside deal heavily influenced by aluminum boom manufacturers. If the change to a carbon boom was allowed, FE would be a fantasic way to go for so many folks. Like Remi points out above, an FE kit can be competitive, and I would say much more robust than a FW kit for the right price.

I still think you are missing the mark about the industry's role and responsibilities here. I get this feeling that your view of the industry is along the lines of "you can sell dope in our neighborhood, but not too much at a time". Really, like I pointed out earlier, your community needs to establish reasonable limits that local folks will abide by. Local agreement and control is truly the best formula for a fair playing field. The industry is creating and marketing on an international level, and they are offering a range of products designed to suit a broad variety of potential customers. From a practical standpoint, it doesn't make any sense for the industry to manipulate and control local racing scenes, as that's best accomplished at the grassroots level by the local community.

Your point about racing communities "seeking fair racing on top equipment, not gear wars" is a bit unrealistic. You can't use top equipment, and at the same time limit the release of "new" top equipment. You're in effect saying, I want the best stuff, but you (the industry) can't change or improve anything because we need "suspended animation" of your top of line products. Not too much sense in that from a business standpoint. You can have "suspended animation" at the FE level, but not across the board, especially with the industry's premier products. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

I think PG made an excellent point above concerning FW being a development class. History has shown that it's absolutely true in the literal sense. With the manufacturing processes and methods being used today, the industry is not encumbered by expensive molding costs as they were so many years ago. Ideas can flow very quickly, and there is little reason to limit development on premier racing products. In my opinion, the only way to artificially suspend this trend would be for the ISAF to refuse to recognize a new production design. I don't think that will happen, but who knows, maybe "racing communities" will have more influence like you say.

20th September 2006 08:32 PM
Remi
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi Milk Laser,

For the FE Class, have you ever try the new F 160 Tufskin with a Formula Experience rig?
In the last Youth Worlds in Belgium, the FW and FE compete together and big surprise, 4 times is a racer who was on a FE board who win the race and the wind was never over 15 knots. So not soo bad for a very cheap equipment who is in my mind absolute perfect for youth but also for " social " as you said. For example in Peru their is no more FW, all senior race on FE and seems that they are really happy.

But yes also the plan for 2008, that will be only 1 Formula board who cover both that we have right now.

All the best
20th September 2006 01:33 PM
PG
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

This is a strange discussion.

Starboard gets flamed for trying to stretch the lightwind envelope of FW, while not wanting/daring to abandon teh style of FW boards that have been quite successful the last few yars.
On the other hand, if some other manufacturer, like Tabou, would have launched the Apollo and admitted that it was optimized for the low wind racing in FW then I assume that everyone would have been just thrilled (and applauded their courage).

The end result would still have been the same, the lightwind optimized boards would excel in low wind, and more allround boards would excel in high wind.

Formula Windsurfing is a development class. Thinks will not stay the same forever :-)
20th September 2006 04:04 AM
milk laser
RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi steveC,
now I see that different ideas are developed from narrow local points of view. You've said that in your area there is no competitions at all. That is very significant difference. "Unattached" people has no requirement to be in community because they don't need the structures that works for them (judges, racing courses, boats, international relations among other racing communities, etc) and are created mostly by themselves. Speaking about me I can't imagine "unattached" man owning formula board. Formula charm is in racing, recreation sailing just creates questions "why do I need so big and heavy sail"?

FE is not a board if you have sailed FW. Carbon boom makes a lot of difference. Also if fleet is less than 20-15 boards then separating that fleet into smaller fleets of FE, FW makes competition not so interesting. In my area half of FW racers have one sail, others 2 sails. About half of them changes equipment once in two year period. They are competitive enough for 2 years. You dont need 3 sails if wind range is 7-25kts and chop not higher than 1m.

I'm not asking to bind industry's innovation. I'm asking for more responsibility from industry, for more understanding about "racing communities". Speaking in marketing terms I'm asking for changes in "target group" description. Mostly racers are not the guys "seeking for top performance", but racing comunities "seeking for fair racing on top equipment, not gear wars". Communities are able to decide not only their limits, but also producers limits and promote that much more agressively and wide than producers.
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