Steve, Used market. Yes, it supports the sport, but for a brand, it is in fact important to keep used market value as high as possible. Both for brand image and for the fact that I think it is actually easier to sell a new board somebody if he can get a good price or his old one. But for beginners and people not so worried about having the latest stuff, lower use prices is better.
Geo: Your right about that for the less expert you are, the more sense it makes choosing EVO or Acid depending you conditions. How you phrase it: "what helps me better" is exactly how I see it. And for most people, an EVO will help more in "bad" conditions and a PA will help more in "good" conditions. But still the grey area s huge and very sailor dependent (not only level). One way of understanding why is that not all people do the same thing on the water and hence they might prefer to get help with different things, even in the same conditions. Some may like to get help with hitting the the lip easier (EVO) while another want to get help with finding more speed out the way out (PA or K).
Actually, I really don't se why you think the lineups are not "properly defined". Would you want them to be focused on just one type on conditions and one type of sailor? But then anybody that travels or even gets a variety of conditions at home, would need two different boards in very similar sizes to cope as well. As I said above, this is a possible track to take for a brand an some (most?) take that track. But to me, Starboards have for a very, very long time, long before I was sailing them, pushed the limits of the all round wave board. I think it is maybe Scotty quest. Even before the EVOs, the Acids (and before the surf, wild surf etc) had similar elements. The introduction of the EVOs meant two lines of wave boards which could allow themselves to get a bit more focused on certain things both but still very be all round.
To go back to the starting point, for me it s very strange to take the Starboard wave boards (particularly the EVOs) as examples of boards that are changing to much. I frankly don't know many, if any, wave boards that have stayed so true to their original shapes and concept as these boards which is kind of remarkable since they were a new concept when they came and are also rather special if you look at the market as a whole and how it has developed since. The 83 is maybe the only "exception" but that is also a very good board and as wrote above, it is still closer to the other EVOs than any other board so i the big picture, it is till very similar.
But I agree that when a board develops over time, there will always be slight shifts back and forth in "appearance" if nothing else simply because it is practically impossible to change one aspect of the ride without affecting others. So improvement is by definition also change even if we try ever so hard to keep the focus of the board. And as see it, one important part of performance it how well the board fit the group of customers. I think its more natural to try to evolve the boards to fit the customers than to hope for the customers to adjust to a "static board".
The argument about the that the level is so high now so that it is harder to improve is the type of argument that always will be and always has been true. I actually think that when boards and sailors get better, smaller improvements starts getting more important, so in this meaning it is as easy as ever to improve boards. And if we look back 10 years from now, no doubt boards will have improved a lot - and changed. Just as our current boards make a board from 97 feel weird dated if you go back to it now.
PS Geo: I'm not even sure you would find the E80 worse with a 5.8 and in any case the difference in pure 5.8 performance (planing and such things) is not that big even at your weight. And waveriding (also with a 5.8) will typically be better.
Last edited by Ola_H; 19th October 2007 at 10:09 PM.