Having a windsurfing shop in your city offers lots of benefits. While getting the "best price" is always important, being able to try on booties, wet suits, harnesses, vests, gloves, hoods, and helmets has been a big plus. Having a selection of fins numbering about 40 provides lots of options. Checking out the two dozen booms for grip diameters and head designs/function, etc. are all important for the novice and intermediate sailor. If the shop doesn't have what they/I want, they order for prices that are comparable to those on line.
Roll out a new sail and rig it on your mast to see how it rigs - get rigging tips to see that it is done right, or rig your sail on a new mast to see if they are compatible.
Advanced and expert sailors pretty much know what they want without going to a retail outlet, but to keep the sport growing, having a shop to walk into is critical.
The shops are great for getting new sailors on the water with lessons, swap meets and knowledgeable sales people.
In Dallas, TX - Mariner Sails is our shop and they host 2 or 3 "swap meets" a year. All the used gear gets checked in the week prior and tagged for sale by the equipment owners. At the sale, shop employees and knowledgeable volunteers do the selling, doing our best to match equipment with the skills of the sailors. Owners can't push a 95 L board on beginning sailor.
The seller has the option of taking 100% of the sales in store credit or they can take 90% in cash with the store keeping 10%. A win win for everyone.
However, Mariner Sails can't make it with windsurfing alone. They also are a sail loft, a Hobie dealer as well as carrying a big line of kayaks.
I don't work for the store, but I appreciate the benefits of having one in town where I can go in and visit my buddies as well as touch and see much of the current gear that is on the market. If I ever have a problem with gear, it's easy to find a resolution with the dealer looking after my interests. They keep me happy and I keep buying from the store.
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.