FOD or RS:X, my opinion.
Hi to all!
I have been reading comments on forums about choice for Olympics, FOD or RS:X. Interesting discussion, so here is my opinion.
I started to windsurf back in 1984. At that time we used only long dagger boards in winds 5 to 10 knots. Number of people windsurfing at that time in Europe, was much higher than today, but most of them were windsurfing 2 or 3 years and then they stop windsurfing. Obviously for most of them, windsurfing in low wind conditions was boring and not worth the effort. The rest of us started to windsurf in high wind conditions with short planning boards. All this was not because producers would stop selling long boards. From 1984 till today you could buy a long race board at any time.
Producers of windsurfing boards are not a charity institution, if they could increase their sale numbers by 80% selling massive amount of long boards they would produce and sell them.
The fact is:
People didn’t stop windsurfing with long boards because producers would stop producing and selling them.
Opposite was the case.
Producers could not sell enough long boards to make profit because people didn’t want to buy them.
This is a definite answer on question “What do most people race on”, or want to race on. Windsurfers I spoke with, could not understand why, would somebody prefer a torment of catching balance in 1 knot wind to windsurfing in 20 knots.
I believe that many amateur competitions are in low wind conditions and competitors are racing with long dagger boards. But this is only because they are forced to do so by their national organizations. I am sure privately they use short planning boards in high wind conditions, even if they have to wait for wind.
Next point is “board that works well in low wind 1 – 3 knots”. No board or any sailing craft works well in 1 knot of wind, you can go faster paddling. To force sailors to sail without wind is like forcing skiers to ski without snow. Imagine winter Olympics downhill competition without snow, where skiers would run down the track and carry their skis on shoulder. The fastest runner would then get the medal for best skiing. To have a windsurf competition in 1 – 3 knots wind is not far from this, the best in air – rowing (pumping) wins.
There are also comments like, formula boards are very expensive and competitors from poor countries could not afford to buy them. This doesn’t make sense, RS:X package costs more then 3800 EU. For this amount of money you can buy a formula board and two sails.
Some people even stated, formula boards are problem for transportation. Why would be a short and light formula board more problematic for transport than much heavier and longer dagger board?
I still have a long board with dagger, 20 years old, weight around 16 kg. How did they manage to make RS:X boards from carbon fiber heavier then 18 kg, there must be a Lead inside.
My proposal for Olympic windsurfing would be, not one design but one price system.
For example RS:X package cost close to 4000 EU, any producer who can fit their package in this price frame could make the offer. One board two sails, two boards two sails, all possible combinations. Each competitor would then choose what he think is best for him and his weight to do well in expected Olympic conditions.
I now this is perhaps too radical but than at least they should make RS:X boards lighter, because if development of Olympic windsurfing continues in direction no wind windsurfing, than the best choice for future Olympic games will be a standup paddle board.
High winds to you all, Darko