I have been following the longboard thing for a year now and thinking of getting back into racing again.
now the following is all my opinion about whats hot what is not and maybe just maybe : what will be.
Right now there seems to be three forces at play. Formula at one end, longboard at the other and the "weak" hybrid in the middle.
Lets start with the Hybrid:
IMHO its on the way out, and this includes the RSX .
Why?? well here is a big reason, Starboard has for all intents dropped their line, no doubt after much deliberation . When the biggest Board Co. does that : its NO small move , its is a big thing!! The only contrary notion to this argument is that hybrid ( Bic) is Olympic and a big feeder in france is the Bic hybrid (and dont put france on the back burner, that is a sailing country!!)
To add the RSX is a dog, many racers ( steve bodner for example , tried it for an olympic bid then sold ...fast ( and I almost bought his used setup)
Its slower then a longboard in light airs and slower then a formula in medium heavy.
Its got the tough job of being the middle.
Its tactical yes, that its only strong point , BUT so is a longboard at all windspeeds.
If it loses to a formula setup in the Olympics , send you flowers to the Hybrid funeral.
Which brings me to Formula.
I would say formula was going to wane a bit , except for the starboard push.
Board durability, big masts and sails with resultant big money is finding middle of the road adherents giving up and getting back into the longboard or not trying it at all. Now this is not just me saying this, this is the word on the street in the US midwest. A place where a longboard revival going on.
People looking for a durable OD class will pass it by.
If it gets it olympic due, it will get bigger. But for many which some former racers,trying to race agiainst longboards in open reagattas, they are too tired of sitting on the beach .And the costs are just too extreme.
Which brings me back to the longboard.
Longboard revival:the fact people are talking is a big deal. It appeals many, the beginner , and the person who wants strict One design racing without the costs ie: kona.
appeal is there for the all out racer with the 380 designs.
Sail manufacturers are jumpiong on the longboard sails bandwagon , thats a biggie too.
So i would say in my opinion the longboard is stronger and getting stronger.
Hybrid well sorry, the writing is on the wall, people are out to get it , and well other then the olympics its "just dont fit" .
Formula will always have its adherents , albeit a specailized group, and it could fly higher with olympic tenure.
But the big winnner is the longboard.