In its heyday (for me in Texas - mid to late 80's), everyone was in the same boat so to speak. Beginners and experts were on the same long boards and sails. The experts also had custom glass short boards for the windy days, but on a typical summer 10-15 day, I would see 50-75 sailors on the same beach with their families and friends, sailing and picnicking. Those that were more advanced worked on their basic long board freestyle while everyone else was learning or just cruising.
It was not an intimidating sport and equipment choices were simple. While I applaud the advances in equipment, it is much more complicated for the beginner. It isn't really, but from their perspective, it looks that way. There appears to be a very large gap between the advanced sailors and the beginners in both equipment and skills.
Society today have been trained / conditioned to find the easy way for fun and recreation and the other options vying for our free time are easier than windsurfing. Instant gratification is the name of the game. Few really want to accept the challenge of learning to windsurf.
Available water, launch site, wind, weather, equipment and transportation make windsurfing a challenge for everyone, even if highly committed.
I have no answers, but for us oldies (I am 64), it's a kick.
My frustration today is that it's 75 degrees, sunny and blowing 15 - 25 knots and I can't go out. I just had a cancer cut from my ear two hours ago and will wait at least until tomorrow to hit the water. The down side of being a senior windsurfer. For those of you that don't use sunscreen and wear hats, your time will come. This makes at least a dozen I have had removed plus 100's of pre-cancerous lesions (keratosis).
Formula 160; iSonic 111; HiFly Move 105; Tiga 263; '85 Mistral Superlight.
Maui Sails TR 11.0; 9.2; 8.4; 7.6; 6.6; Maui Sails Switch 6.0; 5.2; Maui Sails Global 4.5; 4.0.