|27th February 2008, 04:00 AM||#34|
Bill, I think the "each to his own" attitude is great - that's all some of us are trying to say. It's great if people want to follow a different part of this fantastic sport, we just don't want them abusing those who have different tastes.
You're right, modern boards are faster in some conditions. However, most modern boards are slower than old boards in light and/or gusty winds, and in most of the world the wind is normally light and/or gusty. So today's boards are often actually slower than older boards a lot of the time - perhaps most of the time, depending when and where you sail. So maybe neither is simply "faster" or "slower" - just suited to different stuff. As you say, to each his own.
In some ways they are more fun, but in other ways they are less fun. Not everyone judges fun by planing speed. Some people find exploring bays fun, or racing in light winds, or simple gear. Again, to each his own.
If light and stiff is so important to Joe Average, why is Joe Average surfer getting longer heavier boards; Joe Average dinghy sailor sailing the same old boats; and Joe Average kayaker buying a heavy flexy plastic kayak?? Sure, to some people light and stiff is vital, to others long-lasting and tough is more important.
The industry is not perfect when it comes to satisfying the marketplace. This is the same industry that tried to sell lots of hollow, fragile Div 2 boards; then lots of tiny sinkers that people couldn't sail; then lots of skinny DSBs that people couldn't gybe; and ignored widestyle boards that could lower the planing threshold. It's been said that the Kona One is the world's top selling board, yet that concept was utterly ignored and ridiculed by the industry for years.
In other words, the industry has got it wrong many, many times before, just like many much bigger industries (the UK and US car industries, for example) got it wrong for decades.
If the industry is always right and always responds to consumer demand, why did they ignore light-wind planing for so many years? And most of all, how come windsurfing has declined over the long term, at a time when similar sports (dinghy sailing in some places, surfing, kayaking) where about to increase???
I admit that I can definitely be an inverted snob about buying new gear. To me, it often seems as if people are blaming something else (last year's gear and those who created it) for their own lack of technique. And inverted snobbery is an unfortunate but perhaps
natural reaction to the gear snobbery that we often see.
So sure,modern gear is great in many ways, but the current route is not the only one to follow to grow the sport.