RE: increase sales and promote sport
George is right about the need for knowledgeable information about rigging and use. Like sailing, windsurfing takes some understanding, focus and a strong willingness to learn.
Really though, the thread initiator has brought up an insightful and thoughful point, at least for those of us that are familiar with Costco. Hey, Costco has marketed surfboards quite successfully at an attractive price, yet some in the custom surfboard business have been infuriated with the discount approach. Nonetheless, the really hard point isn't really a Starboard issue, but more to do with the distribution network. Should national distributors compromise the local retail dealors that exist now?
In the real spectrum of things now, there are windsurfing stores in popular windsurfing locales, and there are web based firms servicing larger national or regional interests. Although reasonable distribution agreements could be negotiated to protect local operations, the rub comes with national web dealerships.
If growth of the sport is paramount, maybe a Costco type perspective is worthy of serious consideration. While some web firms could experience a negative impact, the Costco approach might influence a more substantive growth outcome for the sport. In this discount distribution model, Starboard could realistically taylor suitable rigging and use information for the new user without too much difficulty using existing company based web concepts and strategies.
The thing to remember is that many areas do not have local shops, so support is truly nonexistent. Costco type firms could energize the entry market like no one else.