When Svein Rasmussen was interviewed by Windsurfjournal (a french online website dedicated to windsurfing news), he told about how important it was to Jim Drake that women were included in the sport too, and he asked to the website readers if the had any ideas on how getting more women to windsurfing.
This is an issue that is rarely tackled, so I launched a debate on a french forum (Windsurfing33), and interesting things came out
_ first of all, not every woman will like it: at any rate, they have to be a litttle sporty and persevering; few of them like to push their limits like most of the men do.
_ the adapted equipment already exists (rdm for more comfortable and manoeuverable rigs, light sails, large and stable boards). Lightness seems to be a must, along with easy rigging and comfort. A heavy equipment along with a difficult rigging discourage most of the women if they don't have anybody to help
_ women don't like to practice alone, and most of the time their boyfriend or husband is already gone miles away at full speed. So they have to make an effort too and not leave their girlfriend by themself in the car everytime! The other solution would be practicing regularly in a club with friends.
_ they need good conditions, such as a sunny spot, not too cold, not too much waves, to be able to touch the bottom if possible. Cold and rain are a quite repulsive factors... Women actually catch cold more easily than men because their metabolism is in general lower and blood don't circulates as well in the hands and feet.
_ a young and handsome windsurfing instructor will also help ^^
All of this implies brands to make an effort in their ads: you have someting like 95% chances for the rider on the photograph to be planing, at top speed, to be a man, and to be alone on the water. (depending on the brands but that is still a general trend).
Once you have convinced your beloved one to try that wonderful sport of yours, there are still a few things to do so that she won't quit a month later:
_ women need attention and coaxing when trying this, because even if the gear is described as above, the progression can take a long time and the conditions not always as idyllic!
_ when she is good enough to practice by herself - with friends - do not leave her coping with all the house chores and babysitting that will eventually prevent her from sailing, and make her quit; if both of you want to sail, that requires teamwork!
If the whole family can be involved all at once and not everyone having his own little selfish pleasure separately everytime, that would be great too!
_ a nice trip on sunny spots from time to time is encouraging too
If you have any more ideas or experiences you would like to share, go ahead