What happened to formula?
I just noticed you don't see or read anything about Formula anymore. Not that I care as I hated it anyway. Must be the big Isonics taking over with early planning on 9.0 meter rigs.
Huh? I guess it might depend on where you read.
Sure, as it's not the current "next big thing" the way slalom is and super-x was a few years ago the big brands marketing machine isn't pimping formula like before, but it's there and seemingly thriving I believe.
Could it be that since you "hate it anyways" you stopped reading sites that focus on formula?
I think that when the PWA elected to change "racing" from formula to slalom it took quite a bit of steam out of the formula scene. It's not that formula isn't finding its niche, because I think that it will always be respected as one of the more elite and esoteric forms of racing, but it has lost a great degree of the media focus it had when the PWA was committed to it. Also, when the big pro names in the sport aren't racing formula much anymore that says a lot. The bottom line is when the money moves elsewhere, things always change.
It's easier to "sell" slalom, waves & freestyle to event sponsors (better for spectators). Formula is not conducive for spectators (off shore too far).
However, much of the world doesn't have enough wind for slalom, at least not consistently, so Formula makes sense for most of us.
As SteveC said, sailors go where the money is. Plus, sponsors go where the spectators are, and the spectators go where they can actually see the event.
Formula is still around, but I agree with SteveC and Ken that it's less visible since the PWA went to slalom. Also, at the "lower" level, I think some of the windsurfers who tried formula racing decided, for various reasons, to go back to longboard racing. I wrote about that a little in my blog.
In some places they run formula racing when the winds are moderate, and slalom when it's really windy. That seems like a good way to go. Quoting Andreas Macke from http://g-42.blogspot.com/
"in the Gorge, we're all basically racing 2 boards and 4 sails, just like the pros - it's just that we distribute that over one Formula and one Slalom setup, as opposed to two sets of slalom gear, giving us more range and variety for only marginally more money (as the large slalom stuff isn't really that much cheaper than formula gear)."
For less windy areas, doing 42 with a longboard and slalom board might also be a good deal.
Formula vs. Slalom
Look to the number of starters eg. last Eurocup in Leba/Poland. 87 Formuls and less than 50% in Slalom! Same on Lake Silvaplana/CH. The marketing people will bring it to morer action for spectators and TV, so the PWA decided for Slalom (money relatet). I you speak with the leading people you will find they are not so happy only with slalom. Who is first after start and first jibe is the winner, huu very impressive. Compare it with Formula and you can give yourself the answer. I know lots of events with 80 Formula starters. Freestyle and Slalomevents are struggling to reach the 30!
When you think about - Formula 12 would probably work great.
1 sail & 2 boards -
1 lightwind displacement board aka serenity;
1 higher wind board +/-isonic 144;
1 sail +/-9.0
2-10 knots - upwind/downwind course racing - serenity & 9.0
10-15 knots - triangle course (bias towards reaching) - 144 & 9.0
15 knots+ - upwind downwind
Advantages - cheaper than formula or slalom
- very fast in all conditions
- racing in all wind condions
- ideal for olympics
Disadvantages - transporting?
- still somewhat expensive
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