Joe, I can understand your point, "why does Newbie need expensive equipment"? I used to be a competitive cyclist, and find it laughable when I see today's newbies on their $4000 full-carbon bikes. Last week, I was riding heavy steel, single gear bike, and wearing full backpack and flip-flop sandals. My amusement was to catch "triathlete" type on the road and watch his frustration as realizes guy in flip-flops is just as fast
However, unlike cycling, windsurfing has reputation of being "steep learning curve". You mentioned you learned on "crap" for years -- what if you had wide-style board/light gear back then. Maybe you could have progressed much faster? That's my hope.
Also, as 40yr. old guy, I know my back has seen better days. The other day, I strained my back just downhauling the sail! And my height: 5'-7"..., I don't have much leverage for uphauling. If more money on lighter mast will save my back, I probably should do it!
Roger, thanks for the tip on sinking RDMs. Would this be a factor even for my board (Rio M)..think it's 195L? Maybe I'll stick w/ SDM.