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Old 3rd March 2008, 03:01 AM   #21
pierrec45
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Default Not fringe because difficult, IMO

> given it's difficulty
> many people are excluded from participating due to ... difficulty.

Can't be that difficult, anyone I've ever taught, who was serious, got to learn. And in the old days, about nobody would "fail" to learn.

> Not only that, it's equipment intensive and terrain specific, so
> many are excluded due to their finances and lack of beach access.

Ditto: it needs not be equipment intensive, plenty of 3-7 year-old cheap gear around that sails just fine.

However you're right: people see expensive gear out and *think* it's expensive. It's like sailing (I also own a sailboat): it's much, much cheaper than people ever think. It just that it looks difficult and expensive from afar.

Cheers for now.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 05:03 AM   #22
steveC
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Let's be honest pierrec,

Being prepared for all outcomes (and really having fun too) requires a fairly focused stable of stuff. Regardless of the product's presence on the current market at this immediate time, I can agree with you to some degree, as 3-5 year old stuff isn't necessarily bad at all. But, the condition of the product, and its quality (in its prime) says everything. So, low dollar fishing on the old market undoubtedly requires some expertise and knowledge to ensure reasonable success. Buying somebody else'e dud is not helpful overall. Believe me, I've tried to sell those as quickly as possible, even at an attractive value.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 06:20 AM   #23
Philip
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Yes I think 'specialty' is a better description for sure. Also I think antiquated gear should be taken to the recyling plant; I know many of us learnt on such, but not so many stayed for the long haul did they? Todays gear is of course so much better to learn on and keep people interested. Why go back in time when other sports like mountain bikes and snow skis are modernising at a rate of knots. Modern gear can be had at a reasonable price.
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Old 4th March 2008, 05:58 AM   #24
C249
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Philip, it's hard to keep people in for the long haul when the industry is telling them that the sailing they do and the gear they do it on is old-fashioned and slow and should be thrown away, and replaced by something that won't normally work as well when they head down to the beach. I'm sure that now the sport has moved to widestyle boards that plane early, we'll agree that the '80s and '90s gear people were levered into after the sport's boomtime was NOT well suited to the conditions most of us sail in. Don't blame the gear that created the boomtime for the collapse that may have been caused by the gear people bought AFTER the boomtime (sinkers for lake sailors, DSBs they couldn't gybe, etc).

On the average day in most places in the world, the really old stuff is often better performing than the new stuff.

I don't know what's happening in skiing but I'm not sure the MTB analogy is right. The modern MTB seems to be at least as tough as the originals; modern boards aren't. The modern MTB goes better on the average day than the originals; modern boards work better only when there's a fair amount of steady wind (unless you want to drag a big sail around, and even then you still need a fair whack of wind to be faster around all angles on the typical waterway). Modern MTBs are easier to own and use than the originals; I'm not sure that a modern board is easier to own and use for most of a typical day on a Bavarian or Parisian lake, Queen Mary reservoir or outside of Des Moines or Sydney and I'm positive it's often slower.

The development of modern windsurfers seems to be a bit more like the development of specialist downhill MTBs; great for certain specialised conditions, but not for normal use on t the average day for the average rider in the average area. It's great stuff, but perhaps also a recipe to create a fringe sport.

Also note that neither dinghy sailing or surfing, the two sports that created our own, have developed dramatically in technology in terms of what the average user owns. If anything, surfing has moved to longer, cheaper pop out boards. Yet neither surfing or dinghy sailing has suffered a drop like windsurfing. And if you blame old gear for the fall off in the numbers who windsurf, then how do you explain the fact that the sport is still pretty small?

I'm not having a go at the gear per se, but more the fact that arguably it is aimed at a narrower spectrum of sailors, areas and conditions. Other sports have widened the available choices (MTBing itself was a widened choice of bike riding, surfing has gone from about one style of board to many, dinghy sailing has opened itself up at each end of the spectrum, etc)

Windsurfing alone of these sports has concentrated on one aspect (planing ie medium/strong wind) performance and windsurfing alone has shrunk dramatically in recent decades......
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Old 5th March 2008, 01:20 AM   #25
steveC
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Come on C249, let's be fair. I know you have a recurring bone to pick with the windsurfing industry, but you have to admit that many of the leading brands have a full array of board designs for all the possible conditions out there, including the very very light wind scenario. I find it hard to buy the concept that the industry is unduly twisting the customer's arm to make poor decisions.

Really, its up to the customer to pick what's right for their local venues. I think that you need to give the customer more credit here, as most windsurfers are adults who take responsibility for their decisions.

Of course, the windsurfing industry is trying to sell new product, and I think that makes sense from a business standpoint, but customers can elect to buy from a used market if they see a better value for their needs. Without a doubt, many do that and are quite happy with the older gear they acquire. When it comes down to it, when the session is over and there's a smile on someone's face, that's all that matters.
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Old 5th March 2008, 03:24 AM   #26
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All good points made above. For myself I had a background with long race boards and loved the way the things railed up and pointed. When teamed with a quality rig (of the time) then in stronger winds I would be all over the top of the run of the mill slalom boards. Also I had a DSB and remember some good times and iffy gybes.

That said, there were some very ordinary long boards out there and the average rigs were well, very average. A couple of seasons ago I had a try on a 'nth' hand long board a friend had bought. Pretty ratty condition all round. I could not sail the darn thing it was so bad. That is the kind of gear that should be taken away and minced.

Sure there will be older hardly used gear. But even then I see so many returning WS people buy such and a month later have moved onto (second hand) modern gear and are progressing happily.

Among more experienced WS I see some moving down to smaller volume boards and more hi tech sails and after a bit moving back up in volume and down in rig complexity as they seek their comfort level. The point being there is a happy medium for everyone - each to their own! There are certainly some good 'plug and play' boards out there and I have experienced the humiliation of being blown into the weeds by such when on my steep learning curve required of some 'specialist' gear. But the payback is there.
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Old 5th March 2008, 05:42 AM   #27
C249
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Steve, I kept out of the discussion partly to avoid getting back on my rant box and partly to avoid being seen as attacking the industry - until there was a reference to how old bad gear supposedly was. Then I thought I should pose a counter view.

There is a vast amount of evidence that the consumer's choice is very heavily influenced by an industry and advertising. Hell, even economists are realising that people are not particularly rational consumers. I'm not saying that I don't suffer from this as much as anyone else and I probably go too far the other way, but all I'm saying is that it is a very important factor that we cannot just ignore in our consideration of the future of the sport.

More importantly, it's in the industry's short-term interest to ignore the benefits of older gear so the consumer doesn't get to hear about it - which is a balance that some of us are trying to redress.

I certainly don't see much gear for really light winds out there; the Serenity is the only board I can find and it must be hard finding people who are interested in it in this environment. As a mag editor recently admitted, it's almost impossible to find windusrfers who haven't bought into the whole "windsurfing is planing" idea.

The Konas etc are slower than original Windsurfers in light winds in the testing we've done. The long Raceboards (Warp X 380 etc) are developed from a class originally intended to race in winds of 12 knots or more, and which has rules that prevent a Serenity type from being made. In the biggest class (admittedly, not the pro class) in the biggest UK event last year, an original Windsurfer with horrible old floppy dacron 6m finished second, ahead of about 180 modern boards. In what other sport could the original product beat all the high tech stuff in fairly average conditions?

And seeing the crashes that other industries have suffered, I can't accept that the windusrfing industry MUST be right. There were a lot of very smart guys making not-so-great decisions in the US and UK car industries and just before the tech wreck, too.

Phillip, you are 100% right, of course, there is a lot of terrible old gear out there. One thing I do find amazing is the incredibly low quality of the cloth on those old sails, when even in those days there was good stuff. But as you say, some of it was well designed and with some updating (ie better rigs, although not necessarily typical current gear IMHO) it can perform very well. I just don't think the gear that created the boomtime can be blamed for the crash that followed when OTHER gear was then promoted.
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Old 5th March 2008, 10:45 AM   #28
nobody
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Default Here's the photo...

C249 said...
Quote:
In the biggest class (admittedly, not the pro class) in the biggest UK event last year, an original Windsurfer with horrible old floppy dacron 6m finished second, ahead of about 180 modern boards. In what other sport could the original product beat all the high tech stuff in fairly average conditions?
Interesting photo of the race you mention:
http://www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/t...TOPIC_ID=31813
Results:
http://www.boards.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=17949

I still have one of those "horrible old floppy dacron 6m" sails which I find good for light wind freestyle (if you can call what I do that) as I can fall into it without fear of damage.
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Old 6th March 2008, 01:29 AM   #29
steveC
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One thing that is quite obvious from the photo that nobody posted is how that old dacron sail really stands out from a visibility standpoint. One point that has been made in the past is that the transition to monofilm sails really took away from the eye catching spectator appeal found in the older dacron sails. Quite frankly, the colorful nature of today's kites has readily mined the interest of spectators that show up at the beach, especially in light of the active movement and their operating heights. Visual fascination is clearly one of the chief things that influences whether folks make the decision to ultimately participate and invest in a sport.

C249, regarding the issue of customers often being irrational about there purchases, there might be some truth to that, but I really think that usually the customer just isn't seriously following through on their commitments. Much of the fun in windsurfing is planing and moving around at speed, and I believe that's what attacts folks attention and potential interest in the sport. But, as you have correctly noted in the past, planing conditions aren't always available. As a result, many folks just aren't patient enough to optimize and play when the time is right. So, over time, half hearted windsurfers eventually bail on the sport.

Would it have been different if the potential customer originally targeted low wind displacement sailing over the higher wind planing alternative? That's certainly debatable, but I honestly think most folks that hang with the sport over the long haul are looking for excitement and they learn how to make the best with what nature and opportunity provides.

I personally believe that the turn down in the sport from the boom years was its true destiny and fate along the path. That's why many folks have old Windsurfers and the like in their garages gathering dust. Without real excitement and action, folks just got bored and the other responsibilities and interests in life drove them on to different paths. I look back and its so clear and obvious, but its also a bit sad too. Could these folks have been saved? Unfortunately, I have to say "no I don't think so". They simply lost their sense of commitment and it was just easier to move on to different things.

In the end, is displacement sailing in very low winds interesting and fun? For many years I really didn't think so, and I made no effort to invest in that arena. But, as you know from earlier discussion here on this forum, I have ordered a Serenity, and I'm looking forward to the option of sailing in very light winds and doing some casual exploration locally close to home. For many years I drove all over the place trying to optimize my planing time, but now with gasoline getting so expensive, I thought it would be fun and rewarding to play close to home more often and open some new doors. I remain optimistic and ultimately hope that I can find the kind of satisfaction and fulfilment that folks like you have found in light wind sailing. Time will tell.
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Old 6th March 2008, 04:49 AM   #30
pierrec45
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> how that old dacron sail really stands out from a
> visibility standpoint.

In Australia we say it sticks out like dogs balls. And it really does...

> if the potential customer originally targeted low wind displacement
> sailing over the higher wind planing alternative?

Nobody targets low wind, never met one. One extends interest in windsurfing and increases sailing time by catering to lower winds as well. I'm currently based in inland North america, from Australia. Sydney was all good winds and waves, here if I stuck with my Sydney ocean-side high wind standards I would seldom sail. (As some do here.)

So I decide to practice moves, do fun freestyle, social sailing, teaching kids, etc. Or one can just wait that the wind is good enough for them. Plenty of that here. Less sailing time, lot less. We don't all live in Hawaii.

> That's certainly debatable, but I honestly think most folks that
> hang with the sport over the long haul are looking for excitement
> and they learn how to make the best with what nature and
> opportunity provides.

Mmmh, here at least it's not the all-around crowd that switches to kiting, but the go-right-go-left crowd. I'd get bored, I find they do too. 5 years max. But perhaps it's just here...

Anyhow, all your points well taken, this is a good thread.
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