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Old 6th February 2008, 06:37 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 160
Default The thing about windsurfing

There is an excellent and technically informed thread about the future of windsurfing which tends to concentrate on equipment and WS formats. However, I beg to offer an alternative view.

What we had in the early days was organisation. The 'fleets' of the original WS and later the long race boards were the thing. They provided a structure for younger people to engage with the sport.

Formula WS did not destroy this structure, it happened along as the structrures were decaying in many parts of the world and I don't think the contemporary Olympic board selection had much effect either.

WS structure was driven by retailers wishing to build the sport from scratch. It had to be the retailers because they were most plugged into this new thing (remember too this was pre-internet times) and they had (have) the physical infrastructure to organise.

My own observation is that those areas that provide the structure have a happening WS scene, other areas are 'getting along' by word of mouth. Young people tend to engage with sports with a coaching and competition format like cycling and running in their manifold 'club' formats in their local communities. Where is our feeder group?

WS has to be organised at the local level before we can feed into regional and national levels. Pretty obvious. Whether the time has passed for retailers to lead the charge again (is that even a reasonable assumption?) is something I can't answer.

The best sailors in my small part of the world think regional and national, by-passing the local scene. This might of course all be a local aberation. I would be interested in the experiences of others.

Really I think the issue is with us sailors and not the gear makers. It might be of course that the majority of the WS community prefer not to be organised; if so, there is growth to be had but at a lesser rate.
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