Formula or Daggerboard choice...
Formula or Daggerboard Choice…
*** Edited to add, "What kind of board REALLY makes sense for average people from all around the world, to sail in the common winds where they live???
I am not new to windsurfing (free-sailing, teaching and club racing for 28 years) but I am new to this Starboard forum. I have been reading many of the posts here for a number of days, including the 20 page, 195 post “Formula One Design” thread.
I know that the decision for the Olympics has been made to keep the RS:X for 4 more years, instead of the FOD proposal. But I think this is still an interesting discussion regarding what we can do to promote and build the sport of windsurfing.
All the posts on this subject were written over the last few months, but I read them all over just a couple days, so I noticed a couple things to comment on. There were many good points made on both sides of this issue… but in some areas there were inconsistencies.
If I recall correctly… it was said many times that only one FW race had been canceled since 2001, implying that there is plenty of wind to hold good races for these boards. However, please correct me if I’m wrong, but most all of these “World Cup” “PWA” type events are held in traditionally windy places, right? That is why they schedule them at these spots.
However, the Olympic Organizing Committee doesn’t pick host cities based on windy, open water locations. They pick cities because they have the ability to provide lots of stadiums… pools… gymnasiums… airports… hotels, etc. I would bet that looking for cities that traditionally have great sailing venues, is low on their priority list.
Therefore we need a board that works well in low and variable winds to have interesting racing in the Olympics. It should also work well in higher winds, just in case a storm blows through during your scheduled racing time. A Raceboard like the Mistral IMCO, or a more modern designed raceboard (affordable options, please), is a very good choice for Olympic type racing.
Another point that you all spent a lot of time discussing was: What do racers want to race on? What do most people race on? Etc. There were lots data presented and opinions given. But there is a clarification that was never really talked about. One side said there are more FW racers, and one side said there are more longboard racers.
To clear this up, isn’t the following really the correct facts?
In the professional arena (PWA, PBA, World Cup, whatever) there ARE more FW. I'm sure that IS true… since they don’t race longboards anymore… and they hold events in windy places… and they found a new design that goes very fast up and down wind, in consistent windy conditions.
However, in the amateur arena, windsurfing club racing is held all over the world… near where you live, inland lakes, and rivers, whatever. Racing is done in whatever conditions it’s blowing this coming weekend. Light (1 to 3 knots) winds, variable conditions… or maybe you get lucky and a good breeze blows in for your race. Anyway, I believe there are WAY more windsurfers racing boards with daggerboards all over the world in these conditions that they have at home, as opposed to the relatively small number of professional, that fly in to windy beaches for the few major races.
Why did windsurfing die down more than other sports? I’m sure it’s a combination of all the reasons you all gave… But I believe that when the magazines, media, manufacturers, racing, etc went on totally focusing on the planning aspect of windsurfing only… that was a major contributor.
Hey, I love shortboarding too… I have 4 shortboards, besides 2 longboards. But I never gave up on light wind sailing. If I want to get out on the water, when I have free time, it’s not usually going to be planning conditions where I live… so, if I want to have fun, it’ll be on a longboard.
Of course, I have friends that say, “If it’s not windy, then I’ll do something else” And some times it is windy, but that is when you’re busy with work, or school or your family, etc. Later, when you have “free time” it’s only blowing 2 to 10… so you know what happens? They just don’t go windsurfing at all.
For some that’s just the way it is. But for others… if the industry promoted lightwind sailing and versatile longboards.. I think some more people would be doing it.
Good winds to all, Greg
Thanks for long comment, but concerning Formula, it's Formula Windsurfing Class who organise the event and not in windy place. For recent exemple you have Corea in 2006 and Portimao last year who most time of the week the wind was under 6 knots. Now during one week event you have always more than 6 knots.
Now I like also Race-Board and really fun to use it. But just remind you that the Imco start to loose racers and ISAF want something more moderne and attractive. So the reason why they change for RSX. In my opinion there is 2 worlds Race-Board and Formula, between you just get the worst of both of them like the rsx who increase again the pumping
At Olympic level we are not talking about "free time". So from 6 knots they will go.
All the best
well put Greg
I wish I cold communicate like you
it has made me realize that Starboard should have employed someone with a communications degree to voice their argument. no disrepect to remi or ceri
and they should have employed Barbara kendall or A sensini (current isaf sailor of the year)
or one of the top male olympians to show case the equipment
Thanks unregistered :)
And thanks Remi for the reply. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the FW class plans it's own races. That’s what I thought… but I can’t believe they don’t look for locations that are known to be windy. Is that what you are saying? I would think that would be one of the MAJOR factors in deciding locations for races.
If I was in charge of any kind of windsurfing event… I would look for places that are usually windy. Of course there is never any guarantee… you can get skunked with no wind, at any traditionally windy location. Maybe that is what you mean, that two places ended up with very light wind.
But that is my point… because with longboards, they could’ve raced at those places, without waiting a week. Anyway, I am sure the FW association tries to hold its events in places where they think it will be windy. However I am also sure that the Olympic committee does not worry so much about that… therefore, racing with longboards would be more likely to have good racing.
Next – You say that IMCO was losing racers… and that the ISAF wanted something more modern. Maybe IMCO was losing racers because the industry has had a major focus, for 10 to 15 years, on trying to find out how low wind a speed, can a windsurfer plane in. Well, that has now been determined… and there are important factors here besides board shape: ie sailor weight… and pumping skill… and you need a very expensive, big rig. But then again… to plane on a beam reach is one thing… to make good headway up and downwind, you need a few more knots.
This has all been very interesting… but in the end, if you want to race windsurfers (or just have fun sailing) in light (2 to 10 knots) winds… then you need a longboard. Above 10 knots (if you don’t weigh too much) and if you have a very expensive rig, and you have very good skill, you can sail up and downwind… and it’s very cool.
Anyway, my interest is in building more recreational sailors everywhere… to sail and have fun in whatever wind is at their home. And I think the industry needs more longboards… different shapes and sizes… like it used to.
Comments... critiques :)
If you carrefully read my comments, you will see that I said that with all we learn form this campaign, we will come back for JO 2016 with a better equipment for Olympic racers.
Just inform you that the racers come from minimum 400 for the imco in France to 50 for the rsx, so this come from the board.
Unregistered, I am french so my english is not perfect so the reason why I maybe too much direct. The Formula Windsurfing Class is the only class who propose something for JO2012 and we do it with pleasure. Please understand with no class support is not possible to propose something to ISAF.
All the best
"Anyway, my interest is in building more recreational sailors everywhere… to sail and have fun in whatever wind is at their home. And I think the industry needs more longboards… different shapes and sizes… like it used to."
I'm afraid that things won't ever be like they were back in the 70s and 80s with respect to longboards. However, I think that the windsurfing industry has been addressing the longboard niche in many ways now for a number of years. What we are now seeing are a variety of products targeting specific areas of interest, and they can be generally outlined as follows.
The classic raceboard
The Kona type concept
The SUPs with a mast track
A line of surf oriented longboards with footstraps
So actually, there are many good longboard choices today. Yet the thing about today is that the manufacturing, distributing, and retailing models are quite different today. When I started windsurfing in 1985, there were two windsurfing retailers in town, and they both had stock on the floor that you could buy. Really no production shortboards then, but a number of longboards in differing sizes and constructions. The thing that was notable then is that these products all were made in expensive molding technologies that really aren't used very much anymore by windsurfing manufacturers.
By the early 90s, the windsurfing fad started winding down and the retailers literally vaporized because they couldn't sell enough product to make a profit. Sure some special locales like San Francisco or Hood River still had retail shops, but there like small islands on a huge ocean. So things have kind of metamorphosized into what we have today. Quite honestly, really not the best situation to grow a sport. In present circumstances, if you want to buy windsurfing gear today, you need to order what you want from somewhere around the country, and this can often mean waiting for some time to receive it. When it gets down to it, this is the business model that's viable in today's world, especially given the technologies being used today to manufacture product.
The big question is whether folks will order the different longboards (or shortboards for that matter) now being made by the industry. You really can't make folks do what they don't want to, but where there's a will, there's a way.
FOD or RS:X, my opinion.
Hi to all!
I have been reading comments on forums about choice for Olympics, FOD or RS:X. Interesting discussion, so here is my opinion.
I started to windsurf back in 1984. At that time we used only long dagger boards in winds 5 to 10 knots. Number of people windsurfing at that time in Europe, was much higher than today, but most of them were windsurfing 2 or 3 years and then they stop windsurfing. Obviously for most of them, windsurfing in low wind conditions was boring and not worth the effort. The rest of us started to windsurf in high wind conditions with short planning boards. All this was not because producers would stop selling long boards. From 1984 till today you could buy a long race board at any time.
Producers of windsurfing boards are not a charity institution, if they could increase their sale numbers by 80% selling massive amount of long boards they would produce and sell them.
The fact is:
People didn’t stop windsurfing with long boards because producers would stop producing and selling them.
Opposite was the case.
Producers could not sell enough long boards to make profit because people didn’t want to buy them.
This is a definite answer on question “What do most people race on”, or want to race on. Windsurfers I spoke with, could not understand why, would somebody prefer a torment of catching balance in 1 knot wind to windsurfing in 20 knots.
I believe that many amateur competitions are in low wind conditions and competitors are racing with long dagger boards. But this is only because they are forced to do so by their national organizations. I am sure privately they use short planning boards in high wind conditions, even if they have to wait for wind.
Next point is “board that works well in low wind 1 – 3 knots”. No board or any sailing craft works well in 1 knot of wind, you can go faster paddling. To force sailors to sail without wind is like forcing skiers to ski without snow. Imagine winter Olympics downhill competition without snow, where skiers would run down the track and carry their skis on shoulder. The fastest runner would then get the medal for best skiing. To have a windsurf competition in 1 – 3 knots wind is not far from this, the best in air – rowing (pumping) wins.
There are also comments like, formula boards are very expensive and competitors from poor countries could not afford to buy them. This doesn’t make sense, RS:X package costs more then 3800 EU. For this amount of money you can buy a formula board and two sails.
Some people even stated, formula boards are problem for transportation. Why would be a short and light formula board more problematic for transport than much heavier and longer dagger board?
I still have a long board with dagger, 20 years old, weight around 16 kg. How did they manage to make RS:X boards from carbon fiber heavier then 18 kg, there must be a Lead inside.
My proposal for Olympic windsurfing would be, not one design but one price system.
For example RS:X package cost close to 4000 EU, any producer who can fit their package in this price frame could make the offer. One board two sails, two boards two sails, all possible combinations. Each competitor would then choose what he think is best for him and his weight to do well in expected Olympic conditions.
I now this is perhaps too radical but than at least they should make RS:X boards lighter, because if development of Olympic windsurfing continues in direction no wind windsurfing, than the best choice for future Olympic games will be a standup paddle board.
High winds to you all, Darko
NP have said they will enter a lighter RSX for 2013 trials - like the original trials in fact! By all accounts that sailed a lot better.
Darko: Longboards are not for use in only 1 to 3 knots wind!
But working and fun from 1 to 30+ knots wind, and in any directions! this is the real matter, and opposition is between people who want to sail and race in any conditions and places and people who want to sail and race only in windy conditions and places.
Sorry, but the mass did not turn his back to the longboard because they find it boring, but because the longboard has been increadibly discredited in favor of the short board.
I read articles in all the mag in the 90' describing the long daggerboard items as only for "blaireaus" I do not know how to translate in english, let's say "stupids"... all these writers are currently out of work!
The economic story of the windsurf business should be teached in school as the sample of how to destroy a business!
In my opinion, the idea that the windsurf industry is responsible for the downturn in, or the destruction of the sport, is a flawed argument. Moreover, I think that a focus on someone to blame for the changes that have affected the sport over time is unquestionably off the mark. If anyone's to blame, one only has to look at the folks that abandoned the sport and moved on to other interests or responsibilities. But really, how can anyone even blame them? The sport of windsurfing requires a lot of dedication and a level of interest that not everyone can commit to over the long haul. Frankly, that's a stark reality that's undeniable.
Went folks more recently bailed from windsurfing in big numbers and moved to kiting, who's to blame for that? No one really, those folks simply lost interest in windsurfing and eagerly migrated to something they felt was more interesting. In time, those folks may abandon kiting too, and ultimately move on to something else. Human nature is really a bit fickle when it comes down to it, and it's often hard to maintain interest over a long period of time. Interest, in my view, comes from within as an internal drive or flame, and unfortunately, it's readily subject to change at any time.
Rather than dwell on the past looking for someone to blame, I'd prefer to look to the future and think positive. The sport of windsurfing offers incredible opportunities on so many fronts. Not everyone will see the opportunities, but I'm confident that some interested folks will give it a shot, at least for a while.
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