Longboards are on IOC table for 2012
Made you look.
Seriously how can they not be on the table.
This is why -
Now C249 has always been a very vocal advocate for classic longboards, and he has gone to the extent of compiling quite a bit of data contrasting the number of sailors worldwide that race longboards versus formula/FE. Although his findings suggest that there is more interest in longboards and a displacement style of sailing amoungst the racing community in the past, they do not necessarily reflect what is wanted by the windsurfing community as a whole.
Quite frankly, longboards have had an extended period in the sun on the racing scene (like forever). Why not look to a different approach, one that promotes and focuses on the planing side of our sport? No question, the vast number of windsurfers do it for the benefits of planing, and I personally think that the time is ripe for change. Change is understandably difficult for some to tolerate, but it not like the death of the longboard and its place in some part of the racing scene. For the Olympics though, I think the FOD approach deserves a chance to blossum and grow.
> No question, the vast number of windsurfers do it for the benefits of planing
I re-read the entire Olympic so-many-boards, so-many-rigs thread, which is along this one. 13 pages.
I don't understand. Planing is not a benefit or a skill, it's the state of a board in certain conditions, which granted is fun to do and is achieved faster and easier with more modern equipment. I've summarised the reasons for change in the Olympics in 3 categories.
If the reason for those threads is to attract more non-windsurfing viewership to Olympics, well sorry, but planing per se is as unexciting to watch (from a gentile spectator point of view) as what we saw on TV 1-2 weeks ago. Might make the pumping obsolete, which can be accomplished anytime thru rules anyways.
If it is to be more representative, and we often read "what we do" (who the hell is 'we'??), then I don't see how just planing - at any speed - is any more exciting to watch.
And if it's to attract viewership from 'planers', then I know very few sailors that go watch the others plane when they don't sail themselves, in fact, not a single one at all.
The Tube sailors watch, and used to buy, other than x-rated stuff, are all about jumping waves and sometimes freestyle, probably extremely few about planing and sailing straight. Just look at the viewing counters on YouTube. The idea of the Olympics is not to mimic the purely recreational side of a sport, which is great in itself, but to reproduce said sport at the highest level of competition. Competition in this case = racing with a everything-else-being-equal gear, because very unfortunately jumping and freestyle are unlikely to be part of the olympics in my lifetime.
One more point: to think that Serenity or others will fit the bill for 4-8 years (at least 1-2 cycles), not a chance. In 1-2 years, Serenity and others will have been made obsolete just like any other gear in the last 25 years, with no exception whatsoever. In 1-2-3 years max, subscribers to this and other fora will say how short sighted a choice that was, that the new such-such board performs much better than the antiquated 2008 designs.
So going for this moment's fancy equipment will buy 1-2 years max - less than a full Olympic cycle.
Rant over. It's the same circular discussion in most forums anyways...
For once I agree with pierrec45. I would also add that if one is into planning sports and performance, go speed sailing. Really.
An Olympic board should be one that everyone can easily get there hands on and use fairly easily, like a javelin, bike or swim. I can use those without much effort which means I might even get into it at school or something. FOW is a piece of fancy equipment that will do nothing to the overall level of competition and will be limited to those who call themselves "we".
SteveC said "Quite frankly, longboards have had an extended period in the sun on the racing scene (like forever). Why not look to a different approach, one that promotes and focuses on the planing side of our sport?"
ooooh quick lets change the look of the javelin, lets make bikes have 3 wheelers, lets put jets on swimmers, lets....blah blah.
I have actually raced in a few FOW races and thought it to be awesome just like wavesailing, etc. I think unfortunaly most windsurfers today have never sailed longboards and so it doesn't surprise me what's going on with FOD, IWA and the Olympics.
Leave the Olympic sport alone or risk not having it.
I'd like to see a double javelin with a wing - that'd go fast an further........thats my rant.
Well, that's not a new approach.....it's been around for 25 years or so. So it's not a case of some of us being stuck in the past*. The fact is that the quarter-century of focussing on the planing side has harmed the sport.
Try this idea for size;
Windsurfing did not follow the typical adoption curve of most active sports. After reaching a very strong peak it declined precipitously leveling off at a much lower participation rate than similar sports. They typical boom/leveling cycle for active sports goes through a very fast growth period when the sport is “cool” and everyone knows about it, then declines to a maintenance level at perhaps 60 percent of the peak. Windsurfing declined to something like 20 percent of the peak participation.
That was because all manufacturers focused solely on the performance end of the market, abandoning longboards and the simple fun of being on a board in light wind in favor of sinker shortboards and high-performance sails that required careful selection and tuning to meet conditions. They are looking to SUP to rectify that problem!
* Those of us who advocate longboards are certainly not all stuck in the past.
I know of longboard advocates who in the last couple of years have brought in two new classes, taken part in an inaugural "new school" events and are planning another new event (probably unlike any ever before in the sport), been involved in developing new sailing patents, and at least some are trying to create basically yet another new style of windsurfing.
Look at guys like Ciamparlo and Jeff Henderson.....they are into longboards but is that whole SUP sailing really "stuck in the past"?
That's a lot more innovative than bringing up the old "windsurfing = planing" idea from 1982.
Longboards vs. shortboards
For every claim and counter claim as to why windsurfing peaked then died, people seem lto like to start to blame the media and the rise of the extreme aspect of the sport.
That may have been part of it, but overlooks the reality that much of the hype of windsurfing was that it was new....just like alpine carving snowboarding; it peaked when lots of people tried it; they found it hard, and switched to easier endeavours......alpine snowboarding is now like 0.1% of the total snowboard market at a guess. Windsurf racing is probably a similar proportion, maybe a tad higher. And windsurfing compared to body boarding or wakeboarding has fallen off too. It is growing again now, but that's after a bunch of mistakes in the past and not just the lack of light wind gear (I don't say longboards, because the issue is sailing in light winds for which longboards are just one answer).
If the lack of longboards on the market is the reason why windsurfing is failing, then how come virtually every major brand has long boards on the market and yet they aren't outselling shortboards 10 to 1 already; the Kona has been on the market for 3 years or more now; how come so often people go out on these boards and don't just buy them?
The reasons why is that the longboard has a lot of strengths (can sail in any winds, rails, feels nice to sail in displacement mode, excellent race machines) but also weaknesses (they are frigging heavy, they sail like a barge IMHO, they plane up slower than a formula board). Clearly the FACT is right now there are longboards on the market, and many consumers either have already gone to do something else, prefer to sail on something else (and the FACT is the majority of the windsurf market is planing shortboards, I'd guess maybe 90%) and/or have no interest in racing.
Whether formula is any better as a representative of windsurfing at an Olympic level, I am unsure. It is certainly more planing orientated, and if that is the sole judge of windsurfing you'd have to say I guess perhaps more representative than a Div 2 type board, but those big longboards like the Kona plane up too; just a little slower. The majority of sailors consider formula to be not that much representative of what they do recreationally either; and even fewer think longboards are representative of their sport. Because 99% of windsurfers, IMHO, don't have any interest in racing. 99.9% of snowboarders have no interest in racing either! (guesses on the stats but I stand by them)
So...where does that leave us? We should admit that the windsurfer is never going to be like in 1984 ever again; because back then there were far fewer choices of board. We should also admit that the majority, the vast majority of windsurfers are not particularly interested in formula or longboards, and likely never will be. It isn't a media thing, it isn't the board companies, it is freedom of choice and the majority of sailors would rather sail something like a carve 122 with a 7m. And it certainly is not the attempt of starboard to fix or fool anyone by launching an SUP - totally different sport. I would never buy a longboard. I might consider an SUP. I would happily buy and race formula again now that the gear issues seem to be fixed. But I do not represent all sailors, that's for sure.
The Olympics will always require a compromise board. In the same way the 49er and the tornado kind of suck in light weather, so will the board. There is no way around it. The pumping you could argue doesn't help; it increases the emphasis on athleticism and away from sailing some say. But Tom Ashley proved that when the sailing is in pressure he is the man. So the best man won, even on the RSX a board fairly universally disliked AFAIK simply because it isn't the best possible hybrid; it is like a windows beta version hybrid.
I'm not sure Formula is necessarily the answer, but whatever is chosen, it is a given that the board will be obsolete within 2 years. Then the choice becomes should it be like the Finn then where it doesn't matter? I don't think so; the best idea that could occur is that 4 years prior to the Olympics there is a bidding contest every time where each company can bid their board and rig; thus the gear is always modern. The boards must meet certain criteria, and let's face it no one other than Olympians bought RSXs; no modern boards are likely to last more than 4 years anyhow. They all get made in Cobra; the bidders all get to brand their boards and use their distribution networks and the board is selected based on the prevailing winds and a range of target weights; a universal voting system and it must meet price, sub planing, max wind speed, weight, reliability criteria.
This is the only way around obsolescence. There is no way around certain body types being favoured in certain conditions. There is no way to have a one size fits all conditions board when you can have Greece type conditions followed by the storms of China. And there is no way to persuade people living in the free world to be interested at all in the Olympics or windsurf racing. You come up with something fun to sail, challenging and exciting and I believe people will come.
The best way to do that is an Amcup style development process that gets locked every 4 years. Since it is cost controlled with a single manufacturer, none of the development class rules impact the cost. Athletes get 4 years to adapt.
That's my belief anyway.
Mate, not every windsurfing store is selling them, probably because they don't understand them or just choose to offload their short board gear which is fair enough it's their store.
I know of crew that have been waiting for longboards here in Aus for months. Even the second hand market is dire with prices increasing (simple supply and demand) and thats world wide.
So really Kip, if longboards are in every store with at least some sort of marketing plan, longboards might have half a chance.
AFAIK the online shops in USA longboards aren't massively outselling shortboards. The local resorts here ALL have longboards for rent; they sit there unused except on the really light days and some beginner/intermediates like them.
Longboard enthusiasts have a right to feel miffed that maybe their sport isn't being expanded. (and it is a rather different angle on the sport than shortboards). At least in the case of starboard, contact Svein/Tiesda directly explain you definitely want to order and watch the ripple effect back to the distributor.
I've sailed them. My GF have sailed sailed them. All my friends have sailed them that sail where I sail as they are available for rent. And most consider it as a fun thing, but not on par with a shortboard in planing conditions. None of us go island hopping or cruising. The only reason to get one would be to race, (which they would be very practical for) but since the majority of racing here is either IMCO, formula or 85cm slalom and usually plagued by no wind, I quit windsurf racing years ago to do sailing instead; windsurfing is just for 12 knots +. Back when I had formula gear, 8+ knots.
So if you want longboards to catch on, you have to accept that more than 50% of the market probably has the same mindset as me, and perhaps higher given that I at least have tried and played on longboards (and I have to admit I like the gemini a LOT). Actually, to be honest I tried a star board race board that I think was very similar to the raceboard they used in the raceboard worlds, that was the only longboard that I got excited about; that thing was FUN to sail. The rest were, heavy fairly unexciting when planing, but yes, they all went upwind ok which I guess is the point.
Formula has all the same issues; buy on special order and all that. RSX you cannot even get one if you aren't in the national team here AFAIK.
If so concerned, why don't you guys ask to distribute longboards direct until volumes build up? Inthe alpine snowboard industry (hard boots, plate bindings) we went through the same cycle, in the end bomberonline is a major source of gear, grew the sport and now after 5 years of no retailing, we now see hard boots and bindings back in a few stores. But as a carver, i appreciate that the majority of snowboarders will never have the slightest interest in the way I ride. I think longboarders probably need to accept the same thing (and 15-20 years ago, almost everyone in Europe snowboarded in plate bindings, just like 20+ years ago just about all windsurfers were longboards).
Well thanks Kip for weighing in here with your thoughts. Quite frankly, I agree wholly with everything you've said, and I also believe that it's a very fair assessment of things overall. Without a doubt though, the longboard advocates here are a testy group that often prefers to consider themselves as being victims. I guess that's easier for them to blame others for their predicament.
While I entered the sport of windsurfing to target planing as my primary driving goal, my first board was a planing style F2 longboard with footstraps because I believed that was the best way at the time to teach myself how to windsurf (I would have never bought the original rotomolded Windsurfer one design). I sailed it for a year and a half before buying my first shortboard, and sold it right afterward. I've been super happy with the path I chose and I have been avidly involved in the sport for about 23 years now. Could a longboard have kept my interest over all these years. Not a chance really, but that's me. Outside of my preferences, I would never have looked down on a windsurfer that chose the traditional longboard path. We're all brothers in windsurfing.
In the last year or so I decided to entertain the path of longboards again to expand into the 5-10 knot range, as I do live in an area where winds can be relatively light at times during the year. It's been a year now that I have been trying to get myself a Serenity, and I've had a hard order (with a substantial deposit paid) on the books with a retailer since the end of January 2008. While the board exists in NA, my deal is conditioned on receiving the board together with the taylored Starboard bag for it. It was always claimed that the bag could be delivered, but Starboard in Asia hasn't be been able to deliver. The regional distributor for NA has offered repeated promises on a series of delivery targets to my retailer, but none have ever materialized. I'm beginning to think about cancelling the order and getting my money back, because I've apparently created the impossible deal.
Am I inclined to buy a SUP or traditional longboard instead? No, but if I did, I would still expect that a taylored bay would be required as part of the deal. Maybe I should just continue to enjoy what windsurfing has been for me for so many years. Quite frankly, I really don't have a problem with what the sport has offered for so many years. Who knows, maybe by waiting some more time and being patient, something better than the Serenity might hit the scene in the future, but a bag will still be a requirement.
Then again, I still have my hopes that Starboard will be able to come through for me.
Its always been a nightnare (in SE Asia anyway) getting the bags with the boards.
Probably because the zips are made in Japan, the cloth in East Timor, the foam in Greenland and they are assembled on Christmas Island by Bangladeshis.
Then Starboard mark up the price 100%.
Which brings me on to not being able to buy race sails with the recommended masts but thats another long sad story !!
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