One thing that is quite obvious from the photo that nobody posted is how that old dacron sail really stands out from a visibility standpoint. One point that has been made in the past is that the transition to monofilm sails really took away from the eye catching spectator appeal found in the older dacron sails. Quite frankly, the colorful nature of today's kites has readily mined the interest of spectators that show up at the beach, especially in light of the active movement and their operating heights. Visual fascination is clearly one of the chief things that influences whether folks make the decision to ultimately participate and invest in a sport.
C249, regarding the issue of customers often being irrational about there purchases, there might be some truth to that, but I really think that usually the customer just isn't seriously following through on their commitments. Much of the fun in windsurfing is planing and moving around at speed, and I believe that's what attacts folks attention and potential interest in the sport. But, as you have correctly noted in the past, planing conditions aren't always available. As a result, many folks just aren't patient enough to optimize and play when the time is right. So, over time, half hearted windsurfers eventually bail on the sport.
Would it have been different if the potential customer originally targeted low wind displacement sailing over the higher wind planing alternative? That's certainly debatable, but I honestly think most folks that hang with the sport over the long haul are looking for excitement and they learn how to make the best with what nature and opportunity provides.
I personally believe that the turn down in the sport from the boom years was its true destiny and fate along the path. That's why many folks have old Windsurfers and the like in their garages gathering dust. Without real excitement and action, folks just got bored and the other responsibilities and interests in life drove them on to different paths. I look back and its so clear and obvious, but its also a bit sad too. Could these folks have been saved? Unfortunately, I have to say "no I don't think so". They simply lost their sense of commitment and it was just easier to move on to different things.
In the end, is displacement sailing in very low winds interesting and fun? For many years I really didn't think so, and I made no effort to invest in that arena. But, as you know from earlier discussion here on this forum, I have ordered a Serenity, and I'm looking forward to the option of sailing in very light winds and doing some casual exploration locally close to home. For many years I drove all over the place trying to optimize my planing time, but now with gasoline getting so expensive, I thought it would be fun and rewarding to play close to home more often and open some new doors. I remain optimistic and ultimately hope that I can find the kind of satisfaction and fulfilment that folks like you have found in light wind sailing. Time will tell.