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cosmicchuckie 18th October 2009 04:52 AM

Windsurfers getting older and older
So I moved back home after years away and noticed that the same guys that i knew 10-15 years ago are virtually the only guys left windsurfing! What gives? They confirmed that no new people have taken it up and that's fine with them.

But it can't be good for the industry to have 5 old dudes buying their gear...

And are far as "coolness" goes, it can't be good to have a bunch of decrepit, senior citizens touting the sport.

Philip 18th October 2009 07:28 AM

And yet in sailing circles generally older sailors are positively encouraged and their experience counts for something, as has been my experience with WS. Our WS are just one kind of water craft in an expanding mix and as far as I am concerned the more the merrier on the water. Growth in the sport seems to me to be linked to promoting water sports generally and where I live that is happening and WS is picking up along with that trend.

Floyd 18th October 2009 05:35 PM

Afraid I totally agree with original poster. Same at our local beach; same faces for 20 years ??? Look in magazines; its same there too. Every year the average age of windsurfers goes up by one !!!

I also think;contadictory to Starboard`s claims; sport has stood still. Speed records have only crept up for 10 years;wave boards are fundamentally unchanged; look at progress in kiting; with Hydroptere; foiling Moths; etc etc. Personally think we`ve explored too many dead ends .
In years gone by Windsurfing was the fastest; most accessable and required least gear. Afraid its none of those now. For those already addicted it makes no difference but for attracting newcomers other sports offer more attraction.

Hot Ice 18th October 2009 08:14 PM

Grumpy old men
15 year old Philip Koster won this years Pozo PWA wave competition. :)

18 year old Sarah-Quita Offringa was crowned yet again PWA freestyle champion. :)

An 8 year old was always out this summer windsurfing in all wind strengths every time I was out. Another of his friends who was also windsurfing had reached the grand old age of 12. Then there was the local posse who ripped in the waves and into freestyle whose average age was about 16. The point here is that it was the summer when the kids were off school. Other than that they tend to be limited to the weekends.

Freestyle and wave sailing has progressed out of all recognition over the last few years. The top moves of even five years ago would not get you through the first round of a competition now.

To-days kit is lighter, faster, more maneuverable and most importantly more fun. In freestyle one board around 100 litres will meet most requirements. In waves two boards will suffice.

Time on the water, working on fitness and intelligent selection of kit that you know inside out and tuned to perfection will always pay dividends. There is no need for a mountain of gear. ;)

PG 18th October 2009 08:29 PM

I would not say that the future is that bleak. At least here in Finland we have seen quite a decent influx of "young" windsurfers during the last few years. And we seem to be on a constant hunt for more gear storage space (i.e. containers) at the beach. It has to count for something!

I do think growth of the sport requires the old guard to set up "facilities", especially storage at easily accessible and popular beaches.

And if we play our cards right there ought to be a second generation taking up the sport!

Winddd 18th October 2009 11:09 PM

Numbers are way down
I work parallel with the windsurfing industry but I kitesurf. I travel extensively and agree with OP. At every break, I notice a few old stalwart windsurfers, but no young blood. Maybe there is 1 or 2 world-wide, but yeah, the grayification of windsurfing is alive and well.

Unregistered 19th October 2009 02:19 AM

You cant help but agree with OP beacuae its a fact !!! Ofcourse there are exceptions to rule but simple issue is that most (80% +???) windsurfers have been sailing at least 10 years..?? (My guess)
IMO industry is to blame;when sport did attract massive numbers ,sailors were conditioned/encouraged to go high wind/upmarket/more boards/more sails/ more expense simply to feed greed of retailers/manufacturers/magazines.(Sailboarding, as it was originally, died years ago; it was Sailboarding (ie a small dinghy with a sail as opposed to windsurfing; a surfboard with a sail) that attracted all the sailors !!! Virtually nobody Sailboards now;even racers ? (Formula; big surfboard ???)
Industry never learned fact that masses were atracted by simlpicity/convenience which has long since gone and along with it the mass market. Leaving manufacturers to fight over remaining ageing sailing population with revolution of products rather than real evolution; hence why WS is now way down list behind kiting;snowboarding;mountain biking etc etc.
Its great for the sailors remaining but I`d sure hate to be making my living selling/building boards !! Good luck SB; suspect in 10 years you will be only one left !!!

Its too late now. The impetus should have been made to keep all those "sailboarders" sailing on the lakes and not get them to buy small boards and move to coast; searching for F4+ (Which magazines/industry wanted all those years ago !!!)

Its always been the high wind/wave board/ high wind freestyle /high wind slalom which dominated magazines.Offering a type of sailing available at best 10% of the time. It was inevitable hundreds (thousands) became disillusioned; eventually simply packing in.
The kudos in owning a board which worked well on your local lake was simply removed and replaced with this dream of high wind sailing; generally only available abroad and then not as reliably as claimed in magazines !!!

The industry has got all it deserves !!! It threw away the golden egg ! Big style !!

WS lost touch with reality and started selling dreams years ago. Yes the dream is fantastic but reality is F4 + happens (around UK) one day in 6 ??? (And you are probably working; at a wedding; taking kids away etc etc)

Beginners aren`t interested in starting a sport which has to dominate your lifestyle from day 1 !!! They want a sport they know they can do whenever the mood takes them. Windsurfing cant do that !!!

Unregistered 19th October 2009 02:27 AM

Sailoboarding did for many years !

Unregistered 19th October 2009 03:28 AM

steveC 19th October 2009 04:15 AM

A lot of folks just can't get over the fact that the windsurfing fad ended years ago, but many of us that started 20-25 years ago are still religiously involved, hence the growing age of windsurfers. Water sports in general don't always attract the masses, because the majority of folks just don't want to recreate in the water. Also, there is a lot of competition for those that do with other popular water sports, like surfing, kiting, SUP, waterskiing/wakeboarding, kayaking, boating and jetskis (I have to admit that I would have little grief if jetskis vanished from the face of the earth).

Is windsurfing going to grow? Sure, but folks will also leave the sport too, so the overall numbers aren't multiplying markedly. Windsurfing is a highly specialized sport, even if we're looking at a relatively simple longboard kit. The fun in windsurfing requires wind and water, and that's not always available in a convenient way that fits folks' schedules. As a result, the sport requires a significant amount of dedication and tenacity, to include an ability to tolerate a certain amount of frustration and disappointment. Add to that the fact that windsurfing requires some wallet to keep updated and viable across a broad spectrum of conditions. Where are you going to store the stuff when it's not in use?

I could go on and on about this topic, but I think we all recognize the realities in the sport. Frankly, I can accept the fact that windsurfing is not going to be super huge, but I can readily appreciate its esoteric qualities, and I'm particularly glad that some others feel similarly.

Quite honestly, I have no fear that windsurfing will die.

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