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Old 20th October 2009, 03:17 AM   #21
Ken
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In its heyday (for me in Texas - mid to late 80's), everyone was in the same boat so to speak. Beginners and experts were on the same long boards and sails. The experts also had custom glass short boards for the windy days, but on a typical summer 10-15 day, I would see 50-75 sailors on the same beach with their families and friends, sailing and picnicking. Those that were more advanced worked on their basic long board freestyle while everyone else was learning or just cruising.

It was not an intimidating sport and equipment choices were simple. While I applaud the advances in equipment, it is much more complicated for the beginner. It isn't really, but from their perspective, it looks that way. There appears to be a very large gap between the advanced sailors and the beginners in both equipment and skills.

Society today have been trained / conditioned to find the easy way for fun and recreation and the other options vying for our free time are easier than windsurfing. Instant gratification is the name of the game. Few really want to accept the challenge of learning to windsurf.

Available water, launch site, wind, weather, equipment and transportation make windsurfing a challenge for everyone, even if highly committed.

I have no answers, but for us oldies (I am 64), it's a kick.

My frustration today is that it's 75 degrees, sunny and blowing 15 - 25 knots and I can't go out. I just had a cancer cut from my ear two hours ago and will wait at least until tomorrow to hit the water. The down side of being a senior windsurfer. For those of you that don't use sunscreen and wear hats, your time will come. This makes at least a dozen I have had removed plus 100's of pre-cancerous lesions (keratosis).
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Old 20th October 2009, 05:21 AM   #22
Philip
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I agree with Ken. It is remarkable that during the boom before the GFC our numbers were not rising faster off what-ever baseline. It might have something to do with a then community ethic that given enough $ most things could be bought, except WS technique is a function of TOW. I like SteveCs comment about the estoteric aspect of the sport.

Complexity of WS is surely part of the rite of passage. The challenge is to get newbies through the initial thresholds, just like any other sport.

As for cost I had not noticed much of a decline in snow skiing even during the GFC - now there is a sport that costs an arm and a leg - but once bitten what can you do?

Last edited by Philip; 20th October 2009 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 20th October 2009, 06:05 AM   #23
joe_windsurfer
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Last Friday it was really cold , winds about 10-15 knots and i was not feeling well. As I was pulling my W/S gear outta the van, a small car like a Toyota pulled up with a few young fellas , perhaps about to smoke an illegal substance or have a snifter . In any case the driver asked, " Ce n'est pas trop fraite?" which translated means isn't it a bit f'ing cold ? Explained to him that in fact it was a day for the "crazies" and sickos :-) He replied, "Non, c'est COOL." which is international :-)

There were two other W/S'ers on the water, man and his other and she was in a dry suit.

Later about 5 kiters showed up and they were in the 30 to 55 range. Many of them put 2 to 3 layers and had 16 sq meter kites = crazies n sickos ...

Moral of the story - the young would probably do W/Sing - they think it is cool. It is after all very fast, can do tricks and flashy equipment. It is not so far from snowboarding or skateboarding for that matter.

Here what is missing is W/S schools, access points and just plain trial equipment. Even I had to put out over $1200 for stuff I had never tried...

Was actually thinking about starting a weekend school, but someone in a near town never replied as to how it was workin out for him. The other fellow is spending the winter in Hawaii and goin' on a world tour. Musta worked out for him :-)

Interesting thread, but my management question is:
What can we do to ensure this does NOT happen again
ie how do we get the local kids n teens back on the water
and non, i am NOT a manager :-)

happy windsurfing n boardsailing you old farts :-)
when i die , i'll be on my board gettin run down by some motorized maniac, who will be 20 years my senior {and i am 50 } :-)

Last edited by joe_windsurfer; 20th October 2009 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 20th October 2009, 06:53 PM   #24
Darko_Z
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Places where you have always same winds and windsurfing conditions and therefore you can use only one board and one sail are probably rare. Actually I donít believe that such place exist, it would be a windsurfing haven. Sometimes one day of windsurfing in perfect conditions can be worth more than many days of windsurfing in only good enough conditions. To miss such day because you didnít have right gear is every windsurferís nightmare.

In any case, I think prices for windsurf gear are much to high considering production cost, and of course much to high to attract many new people to this sport.

Of course some young people do start windsurfing, nobody can deny that, perhaps not so many we would like and some of them quit after a while. But if we compare this to other sports we can se that masses of young people start participating in those sports and after a while almost all of them quit. Statistically average participants in such sports are very young.

Perhaps statistically average windsurfer is getting older, not because young people donít start but because older people donít want to quit.

If this is the case than addiction factor of windsurfing is much higher than with other sports. If we consider high price, no wind frustration, travel limitations, job, family and many other limitations and deterrents from windsurfing and people over 45 still donít want to quit, than there is no doubt about it, we are addicted.
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Old 20th October 2009, 08:43 PM   #25
Farlo
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For a few years I've been using the same board and two sails 80% of the time. Don't sail very often though, maybe once a month in average, but don't feel frustrated either. You raise a good point with old windsurfers not willing to quit. Nothing wrong with this, there are lots of old bikers too. Maybe the biggest distortion is with the image WS wants to retain of a young sport: spectacular moves, flashy colors, long hair... but this aspect undoubtly still exists.

Last edited by Farlo; 20th October 2009 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 21st October 2009, 01:56 AM   #26
Bill Weird
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Thumbs down Ageism?

Based on Windsurfing Magazine, you would think that all windsurfers were in their 20s. I have yet to see an "older" windsurfer (30s, 40s, 50s) actually featured in the photos.
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Old 21st October 2009, 04:48 PM   #27
joe_windsurfer
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as an "old" windsurfer I keep W/S mags in the can/bathroom
was reading an article in the American W/S Magazine called Who is Today's Windsurfer - July 2006 page 44
Although it does not follow statistical sampling methods , the results are interesting just the same.

Name: John, runner up Dave - yes majority males
Age: 41
State: California - next Florida
Weight: 171 lbs
Height: 5' 10"
Job: Engineer
W/S'ed: 13 years
Boards: 5 - most used 121 - biggest 171
Sails: 7 - most used 6.9 - biggest 8.1
masts:5
booms:4
fins: 8
wetsuits:4

if average is 171, why is heavyweight 180 ??
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Old 21st October 2009, 06:59 PM   #28
Darko_Z
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If you use one board 80% of the time, you still have to use second board for 20% of the time, so you still have to own two boards. But even if you own only one board, my point is:

Prices for windsurf gear are blown out of proportions.

The fact that windsurfers are addicted to sport and therefore older windsurfers donít want to quit is positive. It means there is something special about this sport and this is reason why windsurfing will survive.

If you want to show picture of windsurf slalom champion in magazine you have to show picture of Antoine Albeau and he is 37 years old. Perhaps young windsurfers shown in magazines are not so young you would think. For windsurfing you need physical fitness and agility, this is usually associated with youth, therefore when we are watching windsurfers, we automatically assume they are young.
Perhaps we are so surprised that average windsurfer is older than we think, just because windsurfers generally look younger than they really are, if thatís comfort for anybody.
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Old 21st October 2009, 08:18 PM   #29
Farlo
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Hello Darko,

Two boards & four sails cover the wind range I want to sail in (12 ~30 Knts). Sure I have a few others but even with one left I would still enjoy 80% of TOW. My point is nothing forces you to have tons of gear. By the way half of mine is old stuff I keep for spare. Over the past ten years I bought only one new board for around 1200 €. The others I got at half price or less (admittedly I spent much more in sails).

Maybe WS is a reflect of society. In western world people are getting older and keep doing things. You don't necessarily see them in magazines because age does not sell. However in special test editions the team is often a mix of young guns and older sailors, some with considerable experience.

Last edited by Farlo; 21st October 2009 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 02:14 AM   #30
michelb
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Hello All,

I think we are mostly older guys...

Me 41 years, 100 kg, married with 5 childs ( from 19 to 4 years). My ws equipment is as simple as 1 Formula Board ( F161) + 1 boom + 1 mast + a extendo and 2 sails ( 10 + 11)+ 2 fins. Wind covered from 8 to 20+ knots.... ( 96% of time in my local spot).

I find this is the better replacement for my old sailboard ( a Browning with a 6,3 with 3 little batens and that boom that moves up and down on the mast).

Any of Us can be critic with the WS company's and with WS in general, but if you has the time and the posibility, just get a old WS and rig the dacron camless sail with this boom (just try to put this boom on the alu mast) and you will get the answer to why we never surrender. Ws was so difficult and now we find it easy, with the wide boards you can be WS in hours. Even you can plane in the first lesson ( Tandem in a Gemini).

The problem I think is the new generations they need the instant gratification, and WS is not a easy sport to learn.

For sure we are addicted.

Michel
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