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Old 20th January 2011, 10:58 AM   #1
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Question Are manufacturers killing/promoting the sport?

How do we promote windsurfing?
By introducing another class of board like what NP has done?

Do we need RS:One, RS:X, Kona, Mistral-1-design, raceboard, formula, formula experience & BIC Techno293 to promote fair competition? Windsurfers who are interested in competition are being spread among so many classes!


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Old 21st January 2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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Hi,

I would like to hear from windsurfers who have been in this sport for 10 years or more.
I used to race when Mistral 1 design was the Olympic board because everyone used the same equipment and the same set of rig and board can also qualify for the raceboard class. The equipment was affordable and relatively cheap. There were many racing events for this class in many countries. The equipment was suitable for youth, ladies, masters, grandmasters, olympic sailors or weekend sailors.
Fast forward to present day, the racing scene is rather "quiet". I want to race again but RS:X seems to be the only class widely organised. However, I do not like RS:X firstly for its price and secondly, it is heavier than Mistral 1 design. I'm not young anymore and would prefer something easier on my body.

So it makes me wonder what has caused this sad state of windsurfing to happen and hence my questions in the previous post. Is there something that can be done by the manufacturers or ISAF?

By having so many different class of board, has it brought more people to the sport? ;-)


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Old 22nd January 2011, 08:56 AM   #3
Philip
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The way I see things the gear has got a lot simpler to use as everyone figured out what works. The ultimate in streamlined design has to be those higher wind boards and the sails to match. Of course there are design flourishes that probably make zero difference in real sailing conditions. Given good modern gear it still comes down to the time honoured TOW - that is something that never changes!
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Old 23rd January 2011, 12:32 AM   #4
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I donít think you will get any argument over the fact that the windsurfing industry did abandon the longboard , light wind sport of the 80ís for the higher wind freeride/wave industry of the 90ís and beyond. But the argument that windsurfing would have maintained its popularity of the 80ís if the industry stayed with promoting longboards carries no weight.

The biggest blow to windsurfing came from outside the sport. The development of the plastic kayak in the early 80ís overwhelmed the windsurifng industry for family watersports. The kayaks cost half as much, were about the same length and width, required less up keep, didnít require you to lift a heavy dacrons sail-impossible for kids- could carry more people at once and required far less training to use. The only disadvantage to the kayak was in weight.

I used to take both my kayak and windsurfer to the local lakes. The kayak got all the use. Kids only wanted the windsurf board to paddle on or jump off. For the adults the windsurfer was a novelty to try once before going for a kayak ride. Rental companies made far better profit renting kayaks as far more people could use them and far less rental damage repair costs. A family of four could load up a lunch and go explore a lake, something not easily done on two windsurfers.

My perspective over the last 20 years is at an aquatic center that offers both windsurfing and kayaking along with many other water sports. From what Iíve seen the windsurfing industry move to high wind venues may have saved the sport. The people who wanted "easy" were going to go to kayaks anyway and the more adventurous would have gotten bored with tooling around a lake on a windsurfer and turned to jetskiís or kiting.


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Old 30th January 2011, 06:29 PM   #5
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I donít think you will get any argument over the fact that the windsurfing industry did abandon the longboard , light wind sport of the 80ís for the higher wind freeride/wave industry of the 90ís and beyond. But the argument that windsurfing would have maintained its popularity of the 80ís if the industry stayed with promoting longboards carries no weight.

The biggest blow to windsurfing came from outside the sport. The development of the plastic kayak in the early 80ís overwhelmed the windsurifng industry for family watersports. The kayaks cost half as much, were about the same length and width, required less up keep, didnít require you to lift a heavy dacrons sail-impossible for kids- could carry more people at once and required far less training to use. The only disadvantage to the kayak was in weight.

I used to take both my kayak and windsurfer to the local lakes. The kayak got all the use. Kids only wanted the windsurf board to paddle on or jump off. For the adults the windsurfer was a novelty to try once before going for a kayak ride. Rental companies made far better profit renting kayaks as far more people could use them and far less rental damage repair costs. A family of four could load up a lunch and go explore a lake, something not easily done on two windsurfers.

My perspective over the last 20 years is at an aquatic center that offers both windsurfing and kayaking along with many other water sports. From what Iíve seen the windsurfing industry move to high wind venues may have saved the sport. The people who wanted "easy" were going to go to kayaks anyway and the more adventurous would have gotten bored with tooling around a lake on a windsurfer and turned to jetskiís or kiting.


Coachg
Kayaking had been around for decades before that, so it wasn't just kayaking - some of those who were IN the plastic kayak industry say that windsurfing hurt itself by focussing too much in strong winds.

Tim Niemier, called "the Malibu teenager who made sit-on-top kayaks the most revolutionary innovation in the kayak industry" said that windsurfing stuffed itself up around 1986; "One of the things that happened was that windsurfing got too technical and the sit-on-tops moved right in on that"

There's more stuff in a similar vein online somewhere that I can't find, but the point is that one of the leaders of the plastic kayak movement says directly that windsurfing made itself too technical and that is where the move to kayaks started. Certainly you CAN say that windsurfing would have stayed stronger if it hadn't abandoned the loingboard, and according to websites Svein is now saying just that, as are many other windsurfer manufacturers from AHD to Maui Sails.
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Old 23rd January 2011, 05:21 AM   #6
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I'm looking at helping bring back the weekend racer in my part of the world. We have a lot of interest, but with the same questions listed above. The biggest problem is if the manufactories and suppliers don't market and have available their equipment, then that style of board will not succeed in that area. I'm not listing brands or types of boards here, but if one comes up with support that is affordable then this show commitment that we will work with. Until then I know your concerns and hope something will change soon. I believe it will as the interest in weekend racers is high again, as I helped host a race yesterday and with winds being so low we still had plenty competitors with different centre board style boards, including SUPs. Maybe we might be heading towards what we had in the 80s. Let's hope.
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Old 23rd January 2011, 04:59 PM   #7
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It wasn`t outside attractions that pulled windsurfers away.They lost interest because of lack of organisation on larger scale promoting events/racing etc and because of the poor image attached to the sport at the time.It was pressure from within attracting people away ! Sailors developed skill to sail in waves;high wind ;slalom conditions etc and were drawn down the dead end of lack of sailing days;after which you then question the viability of a sport you only enjoy a handful of dayds a year.(and often abroad)

The mags/trade were responsible for this.It was said at time this would happen. Magazines were full of Robbie Nash; Mark Woods;Duncan Coombs etc etc with pictures of them "ripping" it up in waves with not a single page for what was actually happening at home. Our sailing became unexciting;boring etc and we were told not by "plastic canoe" manufacturers but our own mags/peeers/trade/shops .

The old Div1 race scene should have been promoted... it wasn`t .

Attracting back in is loads harder than keeping hold...

Just get any magazine from 80`s. I used to buy them (occasionally) it had nothing to do with what I was doing or any of mates. In 80`s I could have listed a hundred sailors from my area (80 miles inland) perhaps ten now. None of those that left bought canoes/went kiting .

It would have been possible by now to sell a board (such as Sailboard Sport complete(first one)) for next to nothing; (Price of a cheap canoe?) Promote events in mags; make it "fashionable" (Mags ????) ..
Industry wanted to sell us carbon fibre/cambers/tube battens.
"Why sell a cheap board when a dear one will do job" was the mantra and it still goes on !! (Kona and carbon rig ???)

We will never reattract those numbers back. WE SHOULD HAVE KEPT THEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rotomoulded poly boards could be made as cheap as canoes .The canoeing world embraced polyethylene ; us snobbish gits said it was for washing up bowls ! (aided by mags/trade)
I`m afraid our sport became esoteric and full of its own importance chasing big waves; strong winds and speed records none of which really interested 95% of grass roots sailors going out on local lake on a Sunday afternoon !! It persists.

A group of us in the 80`s (involved in trade at time) used to think selling the new kit it was like us trying to sell snow skiing kit to people with no snow which is exactly what it became..

Remember an 18 stone bloke at our lake had bought a chapter with at most 90 litres. Shop had told him it would be fine !!!!! Thats why folk left.. They were actually cheated by trade / mags. Really.
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Old 23rd January 2011, 09:51 PM   #8
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Partly true but dont forget an awful lot more grew up, got married etc etc and dropped out through lack of time.
Personally, I think its a shame that the Mistral One Design (or even the Windsurfer OD) didnt survive.
So simple.
OK it probably needed some updating but I dont like the muscling in by NP.
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Old 24th January 2011, 02:37 PM   #9
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Personally, I think its a shame that the Mistral One Design (or even the Windsurfer OD) didnt survive.
So simple.
OK it probably needed some updating but I dont like the muscling in by NP.
Yeah! now i know i'm not alone feeling that way about NP.
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Old 26th January 2011, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Partly true but dont forget an awful lot more grew up, got married etc etc and dropped out through lack of time.
Personally, I think its a shame that the Mistral One Design (or even the Windsurfer OD) didnt survive.
So simple.
OK it probably needed some updating but I dont like the muscling in by NP.
The Windsurfer One Design has survived here in Aus. We have the nationals on here now. With over 50 entrants.
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