We all know the windsurfer is an athletic contest at the moment, and was in the IMCO days as well; it is not going to make much difference whether you stick with longboards or go formula; upwind in this type of craft is more strategic than tactical (i.e. right side of the course; leverage over key competitors vs. roll tacking on every single little shift).
DOwnwind, anyone that says planing craft are less tactical than the plow to the mark subplaners probably has not spent much time on them. Formula is hugly strategic and tactical downwind because gybes are planing gybes and you have a constant VMG tradeoff that can be leverage to screw up others; ditto for other planing craft as well. I have to tolerate this crap from the keelboat guys I sail with, who claim my planing yacht (downwind) is 'not tactical' (and therefore in their eyes rubbish) even though I have yet to see any tactics downwind in them sailing with virtually no place changes race after race straight at the downwind mark and very minor manipulations of the rules; by comparison the gains or losses and ability to put the hurt on with a downwind gybing machine like a formula board is far more IMHO.
Upwind ok sure there is less tactics to sailing a Tornado (I am told) than a Finn because of the relative losses in tacking vs. fully powered up boat speed. Are any windsurfers truly tactical other than slalom racing? (I don't know the answer, and hope someone can answer).
Once they allowed people to plow into marks, to touch eachother and to have full kinetics, you already have pretty much relegated windsurfing to be a relatively non tactical sport. I suspect the height of tactics would have been the period of the Div 2 boards, where you can not lose too much by tacking and where in light winds it was not the pump fest it has evolved to - unlike the current crop of boards (including formula) but they are all much the same except perhaps the Kona racing which theoretically doesn't allow pumping; obviously if it ever evolved to Olympic level that would be almost impossible to police.
The only way the Kona could be the biggest selling model is that they haven't changed the model year on year for 3 years now, and there is really only one model of board. by that criteria, the WOD and the IMCO are probably bigger sellers than the Kona. Smoke and mirrors - although a lovely mirror, it is a great board. Volumes are definitely miles lower than what would be implied by saying it is the world's biggest selling board; I think they mean it is the world's biggest selling single model of board when calculated over the life of the board and excluding any boards not still in production. Which it probably is ;-)
PG - formula needs to be prepared to have racing in slog conditions if they want to be olympic; there is no way around it. The same as the tornados and 49ers which look just as lame in those conditions, but it is part of the game. We saw most of the world spending serious cash in order to optimise their body weight and even rig plans (e.g. tornado American team custom kite) to deal with that. The windsurfer is far easier, as it is possible to simply create a board tilted towards those conditions, and let everyone have that board. For Formula, that is in general the earliest possible planer, with the ability to still race in sub planing mode. The skill is high but the viewing spectacle of Dempsey in Greece was probably enough to convince most people that no matter what board you put someone on, racing a windsurfer in sub 3 knots is pure pumping, pure pain and purely painful to watch.
A mega fin is probably what is required. Sure it will look stupid, be a luckfest and people will complain, but that is not significantly different to the moaners in Greece, Aussie, LA etc who weren't happy with the lack of breeze and the viewing spectacle of windsurfing in light winds. That's the sport of sailing. I don't bother in sub 3 knots unless to race, but as an Olympian or yacht racer or any sort, you have to be prepared to go out in that or come last.
With board rig development formula could be considerably better than it is now, that I think is part of the concept of Apollo project, and I was very surprised how well the board sailed in one of the first iterations 2 years ago (I am not that good and was quite easily able to plane up in about 7 knots and then point up and down from there); I am sure it would be more advanced from there.
To compare longboard surfing now with 30 years ago, it is easy to forget the boards are cmopletely different in weight, strength and how easy they are to use, even though they may superficially look very similar. If windsurfing is to do the same for longboards, then it probably needs to go through a modernisation smiilar to what surfing did; the market for the original longboards e.g. atlas woods era remains very expensive, very small and very focused on art rather than actualy riding the boards...because let's face it surfing on those old heavy boards is way harder than using quality modern gear.
Same same for the windsurf industry - if they can sort out the weight issue then the longboards stand a good chance of earlier planing and more market acceptance. e.g. my GF can handle a formula board (weight 8kg) she cannot easily even lift most of the longboards which are up around almost 20kg. And yes, with a smaller rig she can sail either. She just struggles to get the longboard to the water.
We are talking about two completely different issues of course; olympics and general public. But they are somewhat interlinked as the Laser Radial new rig for olympics/women/youths has shown.