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Old 21st September 2008, 01:48 AM   #16
steveC
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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I thought I might clarify my earlier post just a bit, and include some added thoughts.

First, when I was referring to a planing design, I should have added the qualification that Svein so rightly noted in his post above. A planing design, sans the daggerboard.

Also, in my comment about "the doors being open to all types of windsurfing opportunities", my thought was about participation in the sport, and not specific to the racing issue, which really, only a very small percentage of folks actually do. Without a doubt, the windsurfing industry leaders have expanded their model lines to cover just about any view or reality in the sport. So windsurfing can be performed in virtually no wind at all the way to the high wind extremes, and on top of that, the industry has also presented a broad based model lines for all the major disciplines. You can pick light to heavy wind wave boards, freestyle, slalom, speedsailing, freeride, etc.

However, because the model lines are so expansive, it's difficult for retailers to stock everything. In light of this, it's often incumbent on the customer to make a choice and order the type of board they want. While it might be argued that this scenario poses some difficulty promoting the sport, it should be remembered that there's a distinct division of labor/business concept in play here between the brand's manufacturing efforts, the regional distributors and the local/regional retailers. Based on the demand in any given area or locale, a retailer can offer a stock of equipment most suited to the customer base. For a special interest sport like windsurfing, it makes sense.

Now, the comments offered by Kevin Pritchard on his website/blog, I think that C249's interpretation is unduly slanted to play off the concept of the raceboard scene (and similar boards that include daggerboards) as being victims in the FOD proposal. I've had the opportunity over the years to talk directly one on one with Kevin a number of times, and I can honestly say that his stoke and interest in windsurfing is broadminded, sincere and it readily reflects a huge dedication to the sport. It should be remembered that Kevin has professionally competed in many different disciplines over the years, and he's arguably one of the most talented and successful multi-discipline competitors in the world today. Certainly Kevin is very interested in seeing the FOD concept winning an Olympic chance, as it's almost a given that he would compete in such a challenge.

And finally, I think that Svein's view of FW being the largest windsurfing class today is predicated on the fact that some of the finest course type sailing out there is FW, as the best professional level of the competitors in the world are focused on it. That's not to say that some of the best folks competing on racerboards aren't great sailors worthy of respect and attention, but I don't think that there's much question that they are not up on the highest professional level recognized today. One only has to look at a guy like Antoine Albeau and his stature in the sport, I seriously doubt that anyone the raceboard pool measures so high. In my opinion, FW includes windsurfing's creme of crop. I would love to see them battle it out in the Olympics, and certainly, I can't be alone in this.
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