Old 28th January 2008, 03:25 AM   #41
Britt
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Hi SteveC,

I love my Serenity. It is SO much FUN in light winds. The neatest thing is that in 3-9 I come back smiling and stoked that I didn't miss the day on the water. The second neatest thing is that even in that wind, the board rewards proper technique with much better performance. It reminds me on lechners in that regard, but faster in that wind.

Britt
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Old 28th January 2008, 03:49 AM   #42
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Floyd, you're assuming that the decline was natural. Maybe some drop was coming (or maybe not - if the manufacturers had developed and promoted light wind gear like they developed heavy wind gear who knows what would have happened?) but was it going to be a drop as big as the one we have experienced?

The sports that inspired the creation of windsurfing, dinghy sailing and surfing, have also boomed, yet neither has gone bust as badly as windsurfing. If windsurfing's drop was all part of a natural cycle, why was it so much worse than surfing or windsurfing?

Notably, surfing and dinghy sailing (in its most popular country) have both grown once more as they have moved towards gear that performs best in real-world, non-ideal conditions. This is, of course, what modern boards are doing......all I'm saying is why not take it further?

Other sports like sea kayaking have boomed on low-tech gear recently - there is an audience out there. Looking at sea kayak marketing, it seems that it's about simple family fun just like windsurfing used to be. They don't market people doing loops or surf or racing, and their sport is booming. Windsurfing pushes the areas that most people cannot do, and it's declined. More than a cooincidence, surely.

In all these cases, it seems that the boom started AFTER windsurfing declined. I can't find any evidence that these sports took people away from windsurfing. In fact their growth seems to indicate that there were still people out there, looking for something - and they saw what modern windsurfing had to offer, and turned away.

As someone who was working in the sport in the boomtime, I think there was a lot of marketing control over the sport. Influential people were openly laughing at people who sailed what they called "goatboats"; World Cup sailors were publicly heckled and abused when they sailed D2s; magazines said it was social death to sail anything that didn't sink.
We still see it today, when shops sell high-wind gear to beginners and people who tell them that they are going to sail in a light-wind location where longboards dominate for very good reason (we have FW gear with proven FW sailors and slalom gear with ex world team sailors too, but that gear rarely works well here).

If marketing doesn't work, why do we bother to try to market the sport by world cup events, pics of people looping etc? Why do other industries spend vast amounts on marketing if it fails?

I can't see why we can't applaud the industry for developing the gear we now have, AND blame them for harming what we did have. In fact maybe the high wind gear would have developed more if the industry had also pushed light wind gear, because the companies may have been bigger and more profitable and may have had more money for R & D. Note also that many of those who guided the sport early on admit that the high-wind push was a mistake. They were there, don't they know?

And there's no evidence that the performance of the gear has improved any more than it has in dinghy sailing, for instance. When the first Windsurfer came out, it was given the same racing handicap as an International Moth dinghy. Cottage-industry builders and amateurs have transformed the ply or GRP Moth into a full carbon hydrofoil. Ironically, it's similar in overall speed to the Formula boards, according to those who race good FWs and Moths against each week. In other words, the performance differential between the Moth and the board is very similar to the way it was 30+ years ago. Sure, the speed records have gone up, but that's not something that a significant section of sailing cares much about.

Surfboards seem to have progressed a lot less, but the sport has done very well since moving to longboards.

For some reason, those of us who argue for the promotion of light wind sailing AS WELL AS strong wind sailing are seen as attacking windsurfing and strong wind sailing. We are not - we're just trying to get a wider view of the sport and its attractions. We have never said that you and Steve shouldn't enjoy strong wind sailing - just that the sport should be more open minded and innovative.
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Old 28th January 2008, 04:59 AM   #43
Floyd
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Poster 18
Manufacturers simply feed demand.If there were a market ; they would fill it. Sailing today (at my local beach) there were 30 (approx) boards. No dingies; no sea Kayaks and no light wind gear.Thats the norm. (And about half a dozen kiters on beach and on water when poss)Everybody again went home when wind dropped.
Jut dont understand your demands on manufacturers (etal) for them to have to create and then fill a market to suit your view of the sport. The Serenity no doubt is fantastic but it will only ever be old in tiny numbers.If you read the blurb on this site it even states that the Serenity "can challenge" div 2 board performance.(Which we have had for 25 years) The kit for light wind sailing is already available and has been for 20 years. It just does NOT sell in numbers.Fact.You are asking manufacturers to
a) Create a market
b)Fill it with more exciting low wind kit.
In the real world they can do neither.
????
I applaud your obvious enthusiasm but dont agree that anyones to blame for decline in non-planing WS.To the vast majority of sailors its just a stage you have to go through to get to planing sailing.
That is NOT knocking anyone that sails in light winds.
Good sailing.
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Old 28th January 2008, 05:14 AM   #44
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PS
"Sold in tiny numbers"
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Old 28th January 2008, 06:30 AM   #45
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Floyd has really sums it up very well. However, to Poster 18 rest assured you are in good company. It has been said before that those interested enough to contribute to the Forums are really keen on the sport, even a bit addicted. I like to think that I have my addiction under control - well it is a healthy one to have anyway!
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Old 28th January 2008, 07:04 AM   #46
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Starboard have helped bring windsurfing to a wider audience and made learning easier. Thatís probably why they have succeeded in a very competitive market.

To me light wind non planning is a different sport to high wind planning. I prefer high wind planning because of the adrenaline rush and the gear is smaller, lighter and easier to use. Less effort more reward.

If the wind is light I hit the surf, again an adrenaline rush for a very small financial outlay.
Nearly everyone I know and see at the local surf breaks use a short surf board. Long boards are cool but very few surfers use them.

The next time you see a Laser dinghy look closely at the sail and compare it to your windsurfing sail.

For me the most exciting development has been in shorter, wider, floater boards and lighter, more maneuverable bigger sails that lower the wind strength needed to have planning fun.

In my neck of the woods the sport is growing and the gear just keeps getting better. There has never been a better time to windsurf.
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Old 28th January 2008, 07:42 AM   #47
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Hey, an updated responsive is definitely needed, at least from my perspective.

Poster 18, while can understand your frustration, the idea about structuring our outlook based on the past is a bit foolish and too old overall. What happened 20-25 years ago is frankly somewhat ancient on the current stage. Why whine about what happened so long ago? I'm 58 years old, and I've been on the game for quite a while, but the last thing I want to do is live in the past. Hell, I don't even listen to the music from back in the 60s and 70s that most older folks like me usually do. I'm thinking more about the future.

Like I tried to point out in my earlier post, the Serenity concept has my focus now, and who knows, maybe my soul. Let's be more targeted to the future and its opportunities.


Floyd, although your developed and strongly felt outlook has reflected very well with mine for so many years, I have to disagree that nothing has been done to develop a low wind kit. Quite frankly, I think Starboard has been a real innovator with the Serenity.

Of course, I have to "do the walk" so to speak, but I think that I already understand that it will be differently focused than the planing aspect of the sport (which is as you rightly say, the true majority of interest out there). Nevertheless, I have to believe that poster 18's dream of a light wind concept of windsurfing can be a reality.

Check out Remi's latest video. Rather than focusing on disappointment or other unrelated ventures, I'm thinking that the light wind focus may have rewarding benefits.
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Old 28th January 2008, 07:47 AM   #48
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Last post.

I'm not "demanding" anything, just discussing the growth of the sport.

About creating and altering demand - it's what advertising and marketing do.

A big reason Serenity-like equipment hasn't been used much for 20+ years is that it's true that the way marketing went in its short-sighted attempt to keep production lines running, you were publically laughed at and heckled for using a D2, as World Cup champ Nathalie Le Lievre once described to me. I don't know of any other sport where magazines have attacked the biggest section of their own sport with printed advice like "it's social death to sail anything that floats" as they did.

Lots of people seem to be in denial that this happened, but it did and still does; more recently someone in the old Starboard forum threatened serious physical harm to anyone who put a longboard in his local shop. Surely it's got to be accepted that marketing and feelings behind such actions played a significant part in curbing light wind windsurfing (as the world's biggest sailmaking guru and the #2 sailor in the boomtime, etc say it did).

I'm not saying the whole sport has to really start pushing light wind sailing, I am saying that people should stop being negative about it......just let some people do what they do without telling us that we are not "really windsurfing" and similar things. And it's easy to create light wind kit that is more exciting that 99% of the stuff being sold today.

What is happening in some spots and what current sailors look for are not guides to growing the sport, because the modern sport that is typified by those attitudes is much smaller than what it used to be. If those of us who were into the sport in the '70s have been guided by what was happening at our spots then, we wouldn't have started windsurfing in the first place. To grow the sport, we can use our imagination and not just look at where we are.

Anyway, enjoy your sailing.
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Old 28th January 2008, 08:18 AM   #49
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Poster 18, maybe you should be the prosecutor in the much needed trial to be held on the world stage concerning the responsibilities and liabilities for windsurfing's lost potential, particularly targeting those in the industry who are deemed most culpable.

Irrespective of that fantasy, can't you be a bit more positive about the future? Are you so attached to that old bone that you have a hard time moving towards a more current reality and viewpoint?
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Old 28th January 2008, 08:56 AM   #50
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Well, almost last post...... :-) Two replies to my previous popped up while I was writing.

Steve, good luck with the Serenity and I hope you enjoy it. Not everyone will like light winds, but it's great that you opened yourself up to the idea.

I'm not looking at structuring our sport based on what used to be; just using it as inspiration and looking at why things happened.

Bill, I see Laser sails about every second day - when I go training on my Laser. I've got or had a lot of higher-tech boat sails (we've got or had skiffs, high-performance cats like Tornadoes and F16s, and fast dinghies like Moths and Int Canoes) but for what it's meant for the Laser sail works very well, and it's better than a modern windsurfer sail in the light and shifty winds most places normally get (as Jim Drake says "Most of the really good beaches, both fresh water and salt water, have winds in the 4 to 8 knot realm").

These sails do what they do damn well, just like a modern windsurfing sail does something different damn well. By the way, that allegedly old-fashioned sail is now getting record fleets in some areas and 'round here there are more Laser dealers and more Lasers sailing than there are boards. There are many more kids who are into racing Laser 4.7s and Radials than racing FE or FW or T293.....you don't see board fleets with 300+ kids like you do in Lasers.

PS while looking for the Jim Drake bit about wind strengths, I noticed this line from Jim about widestyle boards - "Be prepared to be ridiculed by the skinny board north shore Maui crowd in return for more water time at more places. "

There is it again, from the father of windsurfing - those who want to go light wind sailing will be ridiculed. Why can't we just let people like their own vision of the sport? Oh, and it shows someone from the industry who is actually creating and pushing a vision - just like the Kona One which is said by some to be the world's top selling board.
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