"In my opinion, the idea that the windsurf industry is responsible for the downturn in, or the destruction of the sport, is a flawed argument."
Okay, an opinion is one thing - facts can be another.
Darkos mentioned that he started windsurfing in 1983. Looking at a typical mag from that year, one sees article after article espousing only high wind windsurfing. One article (from the world's #2 pro) comments about the negativity of the contemporary attacks on light wind windsurfing. Another says that you HAVE to ride a sinker or else you will be an embarrassment to the sport.
It is a fact that cannot be rationally denied that in the year Darkos started sailing, many areas of the sport were promoting only strong-wind windsurfer. Yet, as Darkos said, many people stopped sailing.
They are unlikely to have stopped sailing because they were bored with light winds at a time when the sport was concentrating on telling them to sail in strong winds. So it would have been something else that stopped them sailing.
Guys like Ken Winner (#2 in the PWA of the year), Barry Spanier (coolest sailmaker of the year) and apparently Svein himself have blamed the high-wind emphasis on the sport's drop in popularity.
"Moreover, I think that a focus on someone to blame for the changes that have affected the sport over time is unquestionably off the mark."
Surely can work out IF decisions made by people were responsible for the sport dropping in popularity by so much?
What do you want people to do when discussing factors that could impact on the future - completely ignore the past?
Why should we ignore the possibility that people made the wrong decisions?
Look around at GM, Ford, the financial institutions.,.....there are lots of very, very smart people who have made the wrong decisions. Why are those "in charge" of windsurfing sacred? Why can't their choices be looked at?
"If anyone's to blame, one only has to look at the folks that abandoned the sport and moved on to other interests or responsibilities. But really, how can anyone even blame them?'
Why on earth would anyone blame anyone for giving up on a fun pursuit that no longer gave them enough fun?
"The sport of windsurfing requires a lot of dedication and a level of interest that not everyone can commit to over the long haul. Frankly, that's a stark reality that's undeniable."
It's completely and utterly deniable. Windsurfing DOESN'T need dedication, if all people want to do is to float around on a lake on light wind days. It DOESN'T need a lot of dedication if people just want to have a bit of fun when it suits them.
It's only when we discourage such people that windsurfing becomes a hard-core sport.
"Went folks more recently bailed from windsurfing in big numbers and moved to kiting, who's to blame for that? No one really, those folks simply lost interest in windsurfing and eagerly migrated to something they felt was more interesting."
How many people went kiting? Have we seen any facts that indicate that the numbers who went to kiting are as big as the numbers who dropped out of windsurfing?
Why look at the minority who went to kiting, instead of the much larger numbers who do less extreme water sports like canoeing, boat sailing, etc, if we want to work out how to promote the sport?
Facts - plain, simple, undeniable facts - are that many more people choose to float around on a sailboat or a canoe than fly arouind under a kite. When it comes to working out how to attract new people into a sport, windsurfing doesn't know as much as those other sports. Plain, simple, fact as proven by the numbers of people who do the sport.
"Rather than dwell on the past looking for someone to blame, I'd prefer to look to the future and think positive."
There's a difference between blaming someone for negative reasons, and trying to work out and illustrate where humans may have gone wrong for very human reasons - just like we all make mistakes at times.
Unless we are claiming to be 100% perfect, we must make mistakes. Why not learn from those possible mistakes?
"The sport of windsurfing offers incredible opportunities on so many fronts. Not everyone will see the opportunities, but I'm confident that some interested folks will give it a shot, at least for a while."
Sure - so why not also promote the fronts that DON'T present the sport as being hard to learn and suitable only for dedicated sailors?
As you said, it's a sport with incredible opportunities on many fronts. Why not promote them ALL, instead of just a few limited opportunities that do not seem to be open to the majority who have jobs to do, houses to pay off, kids and spouses, other interests, etc?