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Old 23rd November 2008, 01:30 AM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 639

"Anyway, my interest is in building more recreational sailors everywhere… to sail and have fun in whatever wind is at their home. And I think the industry needs more longboards… different shapes and sizes… like it used to."

I'm afraid that things won't ever be like they were back in the 70s and 80s with respect to longboards. However, I think that the windsurfing industry has been addressing the longboard niche in many ways now for a number of years. What we are now seeing are a variety of products targeting specific areas of interest, and they can be generally outlined as follows.

The classic raceboard
The Kona type concept
The SUPs with a mast track
A line of surf oriented longboards with footstraps
The Serenity

So actually, there are many good longboard choices today. Yet the thing about today is that the manufacturing, distributing, and retailing models are quite different today. When I started windsurfing in 1985, there were two windsurfing retailers in town, and they both had stock on the floor that you could buy. Really no production shortboards then, but a number of longboards in differing sizes and constructions. The thing that was notable then is that these products all were made in expensive molding technologies that really aren't used very much anymore by windsurfing manufacturers.

By the early 90s, the windsurfing fad started winding down and the retailers literally vaporized because they couldn't sell enough product to make a profit. Sure some special locales like San Francisco or Hood River still had retail shops, but there like small islands on a huge ocean. So things have kind of metamorphosized into what we have today. Quite honestly, really not the best situation to grow a sport. In present circumstances, if you want to buy windsurfing gear today, you need to order what you want from somewhere around the country, and this can often mean waiting for some time to receive it. When it gets down to it, this is the business model that's viable in today's world, especially given the technologies being used today to manufacture product.

The big question is whether folks will order the different longboards (or shortboards for that matter) now being made by the industry. You really can't make folks do what they don't want to, but where there's a will, there's a way.
steveC is offline   Reply With Quote