Steve, BTW the two board concept is old; it was used from '85 on in the "Amateur Funboard World Cup" and then Formula 42. It was also used, with Lechners and slalom boards, for the '80s Tour de France.
Kip, you're probably right, windsurfing won't be as big as it was. That may be a good thing, but maybe it would be nice if it was bigger than it is. Sure, going "back" is not a recipe for success, but neither is ignoring the past and continuing on a course that has not done brilliantly.
Sure, Escorts don't sell.....but newer cars that are practical sell. The car market didn't move en masse to faster cars you can only use in certain conditions, as the windsurfer market did. And the problems of the UK and USA car industries prove that even the biggest industries can make dumb moves. If GM could blow it, why not windsurfer builders?
I know you feel longboards are heavy, but isn't that all comparative? Not too long ago, we were calling a 17kg King Cobra incredibly light. Some people think a 6.5m boat that weighs 330kg is "light", but to a sailor from the 6m 110kg Sharpie class it's 3 times too heavy! http://www.star-board.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif
. Of course your boat is incredibly light, compared to other sportsboats, but it's still all relative.
About the number of racers; see . I have NEVER claimed those to be perfect figures, and asked for help to improve them. However, the fleets in the US Nationals, Aussie nationals, UK series, French rankings, German rankings, and world titles all added up certainly point to a predominance of boards with centreboards. Yes, as I mentioned a coouple of times in other places, this leaves out many countries (esp Poland and Asia) but it includes many of the biggest. In others, the info I can find indicates no massive shortboard fleets racing regularly; once or twice a year in La Defi or Ledge to Lancelin is different; as is GPS speedsailing.
The numbers total;
1329 junior hybrid sailors (Techno 293, + a guessed 300 T15 kids on hybrids)
625 junior Longboard sailors (assuming 500 of the 800 T-15 sailors are on longboards)
556 Kona One/Windsurfer One sailors (many Kona sailors probably on borrowed boards).
405 FW sailors (an underestimate, one assumes, although the class does not list more than 100 sailors in any country in the ISAF report)
320 adult Raceboard sailors (not counting the French Raceboard sailors as they may be RSX sailors, but assuming 50% of all "US Open" sailors are raceboarders which is probably an underestimate given that they count FW separately)
195 adult hybrid sailors (not counting the French RSX/Raceboard sailors)
100 Youth Hybrid sailors (perhaps an underestimate as some of the national rankings are not broken down)
68 FW Youth/Junior
41 FE Youth/Junior (assuming all US FE sailors are Juniors or Youth)
As I said, very, very rubbery figures but better than just looking at our own backyards - mine would show 99% longboards which is definitely wrong!
It's hard to see how a board designed for "Olympic conditions" would work. For one, what are they? The RSXs had three windy days in China, which is normally deadly light; other classes had very little wind. Athens was also atypical; light for some classes, survival conditions for those that raced other days. This year, at the time of year when the 2012 games will be one, the site had 3 days of well over 30 knots (as the Moth worlds did at the same place) yet that isn't typical. Korea was going to be a light-wind Olympics but it blew like stink. We didn't get a single big westerly in Sydney.
And what of the other Olympic circuit regattas? Hyeres (?), Kiel, SIRS, Melbourne, Princess Sofia, Palma....the class has to work there as well, which is why the Aussie FW champ raises concerns.
Unregistered, the Kona claim comes from Kona, who are obviously biased; that's why I specifically referred to it as a claim rather than as a fact. However, I've never seen a figure to back the claim that the Go or Start was the top-selling board, either.
Longboard sales; I can't find the industy mags i got a lot of the info from. But here's some, indicating the rebound;
Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sydney, 1999; "World wide they now account for 60% of surfboard sales, less than 10 years ago it was just 5% and it's just not the grey haired getting back onto them."
"By 2002, longboarders made up an estimated 40% of surfers worldwide"; "The Encyclopedia of Surfing".
"shortboards accounting for 45 percent of the total, longboards 33 percent and hybrids 22 percent. " US Surf Industy Manufacturer's Association survey 2006.
"Bill Coward of Maroochydores Bad Company Surf Shop said longboards outsell their shorter versions in his shop three to one and females were really taking to the new cut down mals." The Daily, 2006
Same seems to be happening in skating; http://www.boardsports.com/the-longboard-sect.html