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Old 25th January 2008, 06:47 PM   #18
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I'm very much with Ricardo on this - being able to sail gear that goes really well in the conditions we normally get (longboards, FW) is a key to reviving the sport.

With respect to Floyd, I don't agree with what you said.

"Our sport is difficult.It can`t be learnt in a weekend.You have to put lots of effort in before you get real returns."

I teach lots of people, who generally go on to buy their own gear. We just had an email today from a guy we taught a few weeks ago. He's annoying the family by spending his holidays windsurfing on a longboard. He's a typical guy, and like just about everyone he was windsurfing from the very first lesson (longboard with 4.5m or 3.5m sail). It didn't take much effort.

Sure, he wasn't planing (although he can now) but he has been spending hours each week and is totally turned on by his 21kg longboard. As soon as we stop defining windsurfing as being planing, then you CAN learn in a weekend.

"Lots of the time there is NOT enough wind.You will have lots of wasted jouneys.You will on many occasions be on the wrong kit."

Not on a one design longboard; there's almost always enough wind, and there is no "wrong kit" - you sail what you have. If I go bike riding and conditions change (like I get into the hills), I don't go home and swap bikes - I use the bike I have. Same with windsurfing.

"You will probably never gybe as you want to."

So let's redefine what we accept as the right level of gybing, rather than drive people away from the sport.

"You will break kit"

We will only break kit regularly if we accept the current (limited) vision of the sport, which is that it's all about fairly fragile kit driven to the limits of its performance. In the one design longboards I sail I've broken 1 mast (in extreme winds) and gone through a few sails in the last 5 years of national-level racing. That's no problem.

"You will miss family get togethers because its windy and wasn`t the previous the Sunday."

Easy solution - get gear that works on normal days, not gear designed just for windy days. My last sail was in 4-8 knots, I never planed, and I had a wonderful time.

"I used to coach waterskiing.We could get anybody up and skiing on the first morning.
That is not the case with windsurfing."

Well, it depends on how you define the sports. If you define learning to windsurf as learning how to sail a board in light winds (or strong), then anyone can learn it; this week I got a pic of my daughter sailing with her mother and grandmother; granny has been on a board about 6 times but can tack and gybe the longboard with 3m quite well.

If you define windsurfing as being able to carve in 26 knots, sure most people will never learn - so redefine the sport and take it back to what it was designed to be and what it was like when it was huge.

My family used to waterski. If we defined "being able to waterski" as having the ability to perform at the level of a shortboard sailor, we wouldn't have been able to teach people how to waterski. But we defined "being able to waterski" as being able to go slowly on doubles in flat water, just like we SHOULD define "being able to windsurf" as being able to sail a longboard in light winds.

If we defined waterskiiing by doing what the family team could do (win our class in the world's biggest waterski race, high speed barefooting etc) then not many people could have done it.
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