There has been fall in windsurfing equipment market in Europe.
Has the market grown anywhere in the world in the past year?
I think last year was particularly bad in Europe. A combination of bad weather and economic issues caused a decline in all retail markets.
Hopefully this coming year will be much better.
In the UK we have National Windsurfing Week, an initiative designed to raise the profile of windsurfing and hopefully bring new people into the this wonderfull sport and get people back into windsurfing.
There has never been a better time to windsurf with modern kit being far more accessable.
equipment market versus windsurfers
Equipment market falling: huh, we don't care about them, right?
We would worry if ever fewer people were windsurfing, right? If it was only that people stop buying ever newer and more expensive gear every year, as the magazines tell them to, then that would be OK. We could then concentrate on improving skills with the equipment at hand, which is only 1-2-3 years old very often anyways.
But me reckon, visually at least, that the numbers of people windsurfing are probably going down. Places I go anyways (inland North America these days). Fewer people learning (can't learn from a "pro" with only very high-wind gear), jaded sailors switching to kiting. Older ones retiring, few young ones taking it up.
So I wonder why there is so little new blood at the sport... The few that teach, do teach on the smallest possible sinkers, because they're pros at the local beach.
Alas, them's the vagaries of the sport...
Happy 2008 and much sailing with 2007 and older gear all.
I've heard quite the opposite in French mags, that the market is finally doing better than ever after more than a decade of decline. I heard Starboard had a very good year last year, and expect to do even better next year. I heard than Neil Pryde have sold more sails in 2006 than in any previous year in the last 10 years.
Exocet have increased their sales number dramatically over the last 5 years, to the point of lauching in 2007 a new brand with Kona, aimed at a wider, more family oriented market.
As Bill said please indicate your sources for this so callled decline, because that is not what I have heard, or witnessed, at all.
Plus here in France we had an incredibly windy year in 2007, and a lot of "vets" who switched to kiting to exploit light wind days, reverted back to windsurfing with the incredible conditions we've had all year.
I've seen a drop in members at my local club and I know there was less tuition this year, a few ws shops in the UK have gone under but the numbers on the beach seem to have remained constant. This is just a small area, hopefully others have done better.
My comment on retail market was directed at all markets not windsurfing. It's been widely documented that rising house prices coupled with the bank situation in the US has caused a drop in retail sales throughout western Europe and this must affect the leisure industry.
The loss of the shops in the UK may have been caused by this but also might have been caused by other factors such as the rise in internet companies selling ws kit.
With events such as the superb Driven by Wind ( http://www.drivenbywind.com/ ) and National Windsurfing Week ( http://www.nationalwindsurfingweek.org/ ) the profile of the sport can only increase.
Apart from Planchemag, what other mags are available? I might try and get them monthly. My french is poor so reading something intetresting might help improve it.
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