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Old 5th December 2008, 08:30 AM   #11
Mike T
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 64

I think windsurfing and longboards are having a bit of a resergence due to Stand-up board craze. With the new SUP boards with mast tracks and dagerboards it makes sence for people in light wind areas. Mainly because it's a multi use board that everyone can have fun on. It's also fun for famillies, I take my my 6 and 8yr old kids SUP and when the wind picks up they like going for rides in the Gulf of Mexico. I would love to see more people out windsurfing but as Steve C said people change and they move on to other sports like Kiteboarding, and maybe they move on to something else latter but to each his own! Even after 27 years of windsurfing it's still a rush and I still get grumpie when I can't go. So grab a longboard, a FW board and just get out their and have fun, maybe we can inspire the younger generation with SUP and then when the wind picks up slap a sail on it and teach them to windsurf. It beats sitting in a beach chair getting sun burned! Warm winds and keep smiling! Mike
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Old 5th December 2008, 05:16 PM   #12
C two four nine
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"In my opinion, the idea that the windsurf industry is responsible for the downturn in, or the destruction of the sport, is a flawed argument."

Okay, an opinion is one thing - facts can be another.

Darkos mentioned that he started windsurfing in 1983. Looking at a typical mag from that year, one sees article after article espousing only high wind windsurfing. One article (from the world's #2 pro) comments about the negativity of the contemporary attacks on light wind windsurfing. Another says that you HAVE to ride a sinker or else you will be an embarrassment to the sport.

It is a fact that cannot be rationally denied that in the year Darkos started sailing, many areas of the sport were promoting only strong-wind windsurfer. Yet, as Darkos said, many people stopped sailing.

They are unlikely to have stopped sailing because they were bored with light winds at a time when the sport was concentrating on telling them to sail in strong winds. So it would have been something else that stopped them sailing.

Guys like Ken Winner (#2 in the PWA of the year), Barry Spanier (coolest sailmaker of the year) and apparently Svein himself have blamed the high-wind emphasis on the sport's drop in popularity.

"Moreover, I think that a focus on someone to blame for the changes that have affected the sport over time is unquestionably off the mark."

Surely can work out IF decisions made by people were responsible for the sport dropping in popularity by so much?
What do you want people to do when discussing factors that could impact on the future - completely ignore the past?

Why should we ignore the possibility that people made the wrong decisions?
Look around at GM, Ford, the financial institutions.,.....there are lots of very, very smart people who have made the wrong decisions. Why are those "in charge" of windsurfing sacred? Why can't their choices be looked at?

"If anyone's to blame, one only has to look at the folks that abandoned the sport and moved on to other interests or responsibilities. But really, how can anyone even blame them?'

Why on earth would anyone blame anyone for giving up on a fun pursuit that no longer gave them enough fun?

"The sport of windsurfing requires a lot of dedication and a level of interest that not everyone can commit to over the long haul. Frankly, that's a stark reality that's undeniable."

It's completely and utterly deniable. Windsurfing DOESN'T need dedication, if all people want to do is to float around on a lake on light wind days. It DOESN'T need a lot of dedication if people just want to have a bit of fun when it suits them.

It's only when we discourage such people that windsurfing becomes a hard-core sport.

"Went folks more recently bailed from windsurfing in big numbers and moved to kiting, who's to blame for that? No one really, those folks simply lost interest in windsurfing and eagerly migrated to something they felt was more interesting."

How many people went kiting? Have we seen any facts that indicate that the numbers who went to kiting are as big as the numbers who dropped out of windsurfing?

Why look at the minority who went to kiting, instead of the much larger numbers who do less extreme water sports like canoeing, boat sailing, etc, if we want to work out how to promote the sport?

Facts - plain, simple, undeniable facts - are that many more people choose to float around on a sailboat or a canoe than fly arouind under a kite. When it comes to working out how to attract new people into a sport, windsurfing doesn't know as much as those other sports. Plain, simple, fact as proven by the numbers of people who do the sport.

"Rather than dwell on the past looking for someone to blame, I'd prefer to look to the future and think positive."

There's a difference between blaming someone for negative reasons, and trying to work out and illustrate where humans may have gone wrong for very human reasons - just like we all make mistakes at times.

Unless we are claiming to be 100% perfect, we must make mistakes. Why not learn from those possible mistakes?

"The sport of windsurfing offers incredible opportunities on so many fronts. Not everyone will see the opportunities, but I'm confident that some interested folks will give it a shot, at least for a while."

Sure - so why not also promote the fronts that DON'T present the sport as being hard to learn and suitable only for dedicated sailors?

As you said, it's a sport with incredible opportunities on many fronts. Why not promote them ALL, instead of just a few limited opportunities that do not seem to be open to the majority who have jobs to do, houses to pay off, kids and spouses, other interests, etc?
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Old 6th December 2008, 02:12 AM   #13
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Well Chris, no question in my mind that you're sincerely dedicated to wearing your warpaint full time. What are you going to do those offending individuals, magazines, or companies once you've caught them and backed them into the corner?

Seriously, we should be clear about one thing, I have nothing against anyone doing "any" kind of windsurfing, and I've never tried to discourage folks from participating in the sport as you seem to suggest. Moreover, I never said anything about "the sport being hard to learn and suitable only for dedicated sailors". But honestly, windsurfing is not for everyone, as many folks want nothing to do with the water.

However, I will hang tough on the fact that windsurfing does take dedication, but that doesn't mean that it can't be fun too. When looking at the equipment and logistics associated with windsurfing, even if you only have one board and one sail, one must be dedicated to dealing with it and maintaining it. Just carving out the time to participate takes a degree of dedication, particularly if one has a family and other issues to contend with. What does the poor guy do when his wife doesn't like windsurfing and is not willing to support it positively. Also, not everyone lives close to the places they might sail at, so often there's the expense of traveling around.

What do you do with your windsurfing gear when you're not using it? Not everyone has a garage to put the stuff in . I don't. In fact, right now I have a Starboard Serenity sitting right next to me in my front room. All my other stuff in stored in a van (my only vehicle by the way) that's dedicated to the sport of windsurfing. If I wasn't into windsurfing, I could be driving a subcompact car that get 35 miles per gallon.

I could go on and on pointing to factors that highlight the fact that windsurfing takes a notable degree of dedication, particularly over the long haul. How many folks do you know that have been windsurfing on a regular basis for over 23 years, especially advancing into their senior years? Darko is right that many folks only do for a few years before moving on to something else.

Regarding folks moving to kiting, all I can say is that the majority of my older windsurfing friends and aquaintances (and that's arguably over 90% of them) abandoned windsurfing for kiting. And none of them have come back. Now I can't say that all locales exhibit this kind radical change, but I live in a community along the ocean that normally has fairly light winds. The fact that kites are better suited to light wind wave riding has really been a strong lure and driver feeding the exodus from windsurfing.

Overall, I have little doubt that you won't soften on your endless campaign on the "blame" path, but you might want to give it a shot. It would certainly be an escape from the grudge you nurse and maintain against many.

Last edited by steveC; 6th December 2008 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 8th December 2008, 01:39 AM   #14
Cee Two Four Nine
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1 - there's no warpaint or blame - it's simply trying to put changes in the sport in context. It is merely trying to understand, because without knowledge of what has happened how are we to know where to go?

2- Dedication? All you really need to windsurf is one board, one or two sails. Buy an ancient Wayler and chain it to a tree at a beach if you can't carry it. Put a pair of roofracks on your hatch. Sail once a fortnight.

Sure, there is SOME dedication required, but what sport or activity doesn't need some dedication.Fishing, hiking, SUVing, golf, canoeing, chess, running, bike riding all need some level of dedication - but those activities don't only promote the part that needs the greatest dedication. Why should windsurfing just promote the high-dedication end of the sport? Why not promote the whole sport like more popular sports do?

3- "How many folks do you know that have been windsurfing on a regular basis for over 23 years, especially advancing into their senior years?"

There are lots of people around here with 23+ years in the sport, including some approaching their senior years. There'd be about a dozen with that much experience in our club alone, as well as a fleet of under-15s. Some of them in the fleet are pretty good; one did the Olympics the year after you started, won two World Cups and the Aloha Classic, then did the last three Olympics, teaches kids most days a week and is trying to show them the full width of this sport rather than just a little bit.

And that, again, is all that some of us are saying. This sport is so great that we don't need to promote just a certain section of it, and that an image showing the whole sport could be a better way to show it off.
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Old 8th December 2008, 10:42 AM   #15
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Default getting "IT"

Interesting discussion.
It take a certain person to want to windsurf, they are NOT people who like instant gratification.
They are people who to mention just a few things,like a challenge, love the outdoors, water , the wind ,some or all of the above .
I believe with windsurfing , there is a go no go point. One gets to this point after a lot of effort, falling over and over again, getting back up and doing it over and "EUREKA" they have it!
Get a person to this stage and THEY GET IT!

The person feels the glide the sensation we all love.

Some will stop windsurfing , life and its demands will pre-empt the continuation of their windsufing story, other will contuinue at varying paces.
But even the ones that stop permanently got "IT".
They know what it is like and always will.
Like you 1st kiss.
I started windsurfing in 1982, my 1st board a rocket 99. I went throught the many incarnation, raced longboards, stopped that, then only high wind gear.

Went on many windsurfing vacations , felt i had done it all and felt burnt out.

I then tried keelboat racing. Bought small keelboat, crewed on a 40 footer for 8 years, now crew on a melges 24.

Even a boat like the melges, just DOES NOT compare.

I do both now BUT I am committed to windsurfing. I am now recreating the wheel, the one i once built and 15 years later buying an old f-2 race and going to do the longboard stuff again.

It just makes sense.

the costs are less, ....( sure i have 5 boards countless sails( some usless)but they all still work.

the big thing i only need me.
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Old 8th December 2008, 10:55 AM   #16
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Default P.S.

i can "feel" no similarities between the sports. I wrote the editor of outdoor magazine with this opinion,ie; why compare them they arent comparable ( they published my comment) when the "windsurfing has been cancelled" story was run by them.
Skiing and snowboarding are much closer IMHO.
it also suffers from severe wind directionality limits.
That is unlike windsurfing, strong offshore, straight onshore, is fraught with perils. As is launching in a sheltered bay , or in the lee of a wind obstruction.
and IMHO, eventually you will get hurt, like all the guys i know and hopefully not too bad.
Of all the kiters i do know that can kite worth a darn... about 3, two still windsurf ( more then kite) , one dropped windsurfing altogether.
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Old 8th December 2008, 11:45 PM   #17
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Posts: 537

Don't know if I got it that day in Sardenia, but I just hated windsurfing until the day I tried a custom board in strong wind / warm water. Planning, waterstart... I falled in love with it. Back home on cold & rainy lakes was less glamorous, but now after 22 years I'm still buying new gear occasionally and working hard to improve my gybes. Kiting probably much fun but I just don't feel the same excitement when looking at them.

Last edited by Farlo; 9th December 2008 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 12th December 2008, 03:49 AM   #18
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Default X - files

Hi to all!

In the past millions of people were windsurfing with long boards and they could all find out for themselves if windsurfing in low wind is fun. Obviously for most of them it was not fun enough to continue. If they would think it is, then no journalist or marketing wizard could tell them differently.

So the theory that magazines and commercials are responsible for this is not logical, they would need a special alien mind control device to achieve this, especially since many windsurfers don’t read windsurfing magazines. But then, of course if windsurf producers could take such influence, they wouldn’t bother with windsurf boards and carbon fiber. They would simply make people buy wooden planks and they would all be billionaires by now. I hope I don’t have to say, this would be a case for X – FILES, you can’t seriously consider such possibility.

Transition from windsurfing with long board in non planing conditions to windsurfing with short board in planing conditions happened because most people, especially windsurfers, like something more exciting and spectacular. This was natural development, windsurf producers and magazines were forced to follow, if they wouldn’t, sale numbers would go down not for 80 but for 99%.

I still have an old long board with dagger and occasionally I still use it, I guess I’m nostalgic. But even with long board I don’t go windsurfing if wind is less than 6 knots. Of course I know you can use a long board in high winds, but I also know it is easier and more fun to use suitable short board for high wind conditions. For me windsurfing in low wind is not enough fun to buy a new long board, windsurfing in high wind is more fun with short board, so why bother with long board, I use long board only because I already have one.

Next issue I would like to point out is that many postings begin like “I have been windsurfing for 25 years” or “I started windsurfing back in”. The conclusion we can make out of this is that many windsurfers, including me, are old cranks, well over 40. There are not enough young people windsurfing. But we will not motivate young people to start windsurfing by telling old stories, how fun it is to windsurf in 1 – 3 knots of wind. Imagine 17 years old boy standing on long windsurf board, barley moving in 1 knot wind and his friends circling around him with jet ski, laughing. This is the image that turns young people away from windsurfing. Windsurfing events on last Olympic Games in Beijing didn’t help much to change this image.

If we want to motivate more young people to start windsurfing, we have to show them that you can go faster windsurfing than most ships and motor boats or you can do wave or freestyle. If there are more people windsurfing, perhaps some of them will feel that windsurfing in 5 knots wind is enough fun to spend 1500 EU to buy Serenity or perhaps even Phantom Race for 1800EU, but I think they will be a minority.

To make a windsurf board that can plane in less than 10 knots wind was step in right direction. This was also advance in sailing technology, to make a sailing craft that goes faster with less wind means higher efficiency.
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Old 12th December 2008, 03:46 PM   #19
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Greg, I agree with anything you said. It was great!
I never realised that. The problem is comming from magazines and videos from Hawaii. They showed us that there is only one way. The planning way.
I used to compete in Mistral One Design from 1995 to 1999. We had a training group. We were training every saturday and sunday (any conditions, no exceptions). There was one competition a month, and it's true, we use to be no more than 30 windsurfers. Then formula apeared. I stayed in Mistral, but all the racers moved to formula. Most of the races where canceled because there was no wind enough. You must now that we don't use to have more than 7-8 knots in Barcelona. Then training groups also disapeared and also local races. Yes!, now there is much more people with formula board than there used to be with mistral. The problem is that the boards are at home, and mistrals used to be in the water.
Now I live in a very beautiful place, with tremendous good conditions for wave sailing. I would like you to see my video in youtube to believe me. My level is not specially high...
But this only works from march to september. And even more, this 2008 it worked only 10 days!!! It was like some nightmare. So i decided to buy the phantom 380. Since september to now, there has been only one accpetable day for wavesailing. The rest are with 2-10 knots and disordered huge waves. With the phantom i'm sailing in the bay, without waves, every saturday and sunday, while my friends don't remember when was the last time they went to the water. Ah! and i use to go planning with it, because in the bay there is more wind. But they don't like to sail in flat water (because that is what magazines showed them). And I met a guy who has forumula board here. He told me to meet, to go sailing, but he asks for 8-20 knots and from the north, wich is the cleanest wind and without waves. So we still didn't meet, because there are never this conditions during winter.
My girlfriend got a Mistral Pandera (1986?), and she is having lot of fun also. She prefer it than Starboard Rio, because she can sail good in low winds also (she don't know magazines, only the windsurf i showed her).
Well, i would be able to write 10 more pages telling you all the days i went to the water while my friends are looking from the beach.
Ah! one funny thing. Last saturday there were arround 20knots of wind in the bay. I was with my raceboard, because i like to sail with it even in strong winds. I like to sail now with daggerboard, now without it, now i put my feet here, now i put them there. Now i go in the rail, and now i fly downwind. When i went out of the water, my girlfriend, who was looking from outside, asked me: "Why does other people sail all the time in the same place, across the wind? Isn't it boring?" She didn't know that with that boards the almost can't go upwind, and that they are afraid to go far from the beach because is not safety with small boards.
I'm editing my comment eveytime adding things. Sorry if it is too long. I want to say that we are not looking for the most efficient racing machine. That woudn't be windsurf, because for that we would need a cabin for the windsurfer. And, if you want to see fast boats compared to windsurf, see the video "everybody" in youtube. Windsurf is never going to be the most eficient boat in the water. Even if you are planning at 30knots, a jetski can pass you at 40, and a trimaran also. In windsurf we are looking for fun and sport. And i make much more sport in my longboard in 2knots of wind than at home watching tv.

Last edited by andretsin; 12th December 2008 at 04:09 PM.
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