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Future of Windsurfing
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14239

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider yourself fortunate to live that close to your sailing. Many of us spend a few thousands on fuel and a few thousands more on WSing vacations each year.
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 416
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

prevett wrote:
So, with regard to cost per session, I do feel that windsurfing can be relatively inexpensive.


And that's how I justify to my wife sailing as many days per year as possible!
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4159

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spend $2500 per year on new gear. However sell about $500 on average. So it costs me $2000 per year. I get an average of 80 days per year of sailing, so the cost per day is about $25. This is a bargain. If I'm skiing, it probably costs me $140 per day.
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 416
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just a cheap bastard. I spend about the same per year, but it only costs me about $13.50 per day.
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tomg



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 198

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a few WS camps here in the SF / NorCal Area. And maybe some kids learn when their parents take them on warm water vacations. But it eems the weakness with keeping the sport alive is treating these camps like farm teams. What is the next step for these kids once they learn how to uphaul and maybe use a harness? Who will drive them to the beach, help them buy gear? What about trading up?

There is a youth program starting up in the Berkeley Area. There is also a low cost WS and sailing coop. Got to get the cost down to get more people into it.

And speaking of gear, why won't one of the companies put out a generalist kit and acknowlege that there isn't THAT much difference between the gear, especially for the beginner and intermediate? (yes i saw the 20 page thread on quad vs twin fin boards) There is a model for this in Berkeley: a skateboard shop where I got a board for my 10-year old daughter. They had plain boards, generic trucks and wheels. All good quality. And all you would pick is the graphics for the board. All one [reasonable] price.

Tom G.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4159

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be intellegent for the top 6 or 8 manufacturers to joint venture a single entry to intermediate board line consisting of 3 boards. They could put their logos on all the boards, masts, booms and sails. How much would this lower the entry price for new consumers? A JP, Naish, Goya, Starboard, Tabou, Bic, and F2 board.

The manufacturers could then focus on their higher end lines. (racing, surf, B&J). They could all also cooperate on beginners clinics, demo days, rental shops. In other words cooperate for the greater good.

I'll bet they don't make a dime from their entry level boards anyway.
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dennis_c



Joined: 05 May 1998
Posts: 651
Location: Rio

PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember when Giant, the bicycle manufacturer, started marketing bikes (low end ones, originally) under its own name. Cobra boards?
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rich1



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 156

PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ironically enough, I remember when Cobra started as a brand. There were in fact Cobra boards. They weren't on the market for all that long. The two things I remember about them is that they were nicely finished and they had a cloth-over-foam deck pad that was recessed into the board. That would have been in the late '80s
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gregnw44



Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 246

PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
Great thread... I'm just a visitor to "this section" reading more windsurfing stuff to get my fix, ha-ha Smile
I've been windsurfing longboards since '80 and shortboards since '84. And still sail both. I've lived my whole life in Seattle... but have sailed all over.

I'm just a recreational sailor with only intermediate skills... but still love it.
I've taught windsurfing a LOT... I've done a fair amout of club racing, for fun only... I've organized lots of fun, social sailing events... etc.
But of course, like was said... I have WAY more miles and hours, free-sailing than racing. But I still have fun with racing. I don't compete with the leaders... but I have fun trying to catch the guy in front of me... and trying to keep the guy behind me, from passing me Smile

I agree with lots of the great points that have been made.
Other thoughts -
Windsurfing used to be expensive. But when it declined, there became a glut of gear. So because of "supply and demand" used gear is crazy cheap. The only thing that some would say, still makes it costly... is if you're only going to sail planing shortboards. Because that is more specialized, so you'll drive farther and put much more time and resources into it, and that costs $.
But to buy one longboard and one rig, that'll work in 2 to 20 knots of wind, is simple and cheap. Sure, you'll go slow in the lightest stuff... but you'll go fast in 20... work on hi-end skills... and get great exercise.
I'm sure there's a similar gear designed for wave sailing.
I know there is for hi-wind stuff, but you'll need 3 sails that fit on your 1 mast and boom.
Of course, if you get picky and want the perfect kit for every wind... then you're going to need a van, and a big garage Smile
But, it's a mistake for us to tell beginner's that they need that. Because they don't. Windsurfing can be very simple and fun... that's how it was, when it was the most popular.
And yes, it's an individual sport (like lots of others)... but most people are very social and enjoy doing it around other participants (just like skiing, biking, kayaking, etc). So, a "fun race" is just another fun part of the sport to enjoy. Even very experienced sailors will learn something racing, because it's different than free-sailing. Anyway, certainly most windsurfers around the world have never and will never enter a fun, friendly local competition. And that's fine... but for some, it's just another way to enjoy our cool sport.
And certainly, gear development did improve due to racing. "One Design Windsurfers" with teak booms went away cause they wanted to advance the designs with open classes...and all that, does trickle down to the rec. guys, like most of us. But do I need the latest designs? Nope, I don't. And for sure, I couldn't get the performance from the top race designs, so that would be a waste of money, for me.
And - It's too bad about your Enduro... it's been similar in Seattle.
Anyway, the National's will be fun for you, that want to participate. And I'd say, "Do it".
I did the National's in Hood River last summer (only the slalom)... and it was a blast. No, I'm nowhere near the leaders. I'm in the back half of the fleet. We all stay out of the way, of the good guys... and then we have fun trying to beat each other, at the back of the pack Smile
And you don't need any race gear. Like the guy in this thread that said he raced on wave gear... absolutely, anything will work. I sailed on rec. gear from the early 90's and beat lots of people. Having newer gear, makes no difference, if you're way late for the start... or you fall once every "8 buoy slalom" course. And most of us in the back half, do exactly that Smile
Anyway, your Enduro will come back when the National's are gone, summer '14... I'm sure of that, cause it's a good fun excuse to show up and sail with others. And have dinner afterwards.

Oh yeah, that idea just a few posts above, about the companys getting together to make some entry level rec gear is a great one. It's been talked about before, often around the talk of Olympic gear. Anyway, probably never happen... but it's a good one.

Hey, just be glad there's still a few windsurfing stores in CA. There used to be 20 windsurfing shops within 2 hours of Seattle... now there's none.

But like you, we have the computer now (which we didn't use to have, right).. so we can still connect... and meet-up at the lake... to sail !!

Have fun,
Greg Smile

PS - I've sailed just once, in CA. It was at Crissy Field for the '90 National's. I got last place Smile But, Eric Sanford did a 6 page report/article for Windsurfing Mag (RIP)... and put my name in the 1st paragraph. He didn't know me at all. But he looked at the results, and saw Nevin Sayer in 1st and me in last... and wrote about pros competing against rec. guys and how cool that was. I guess I must've improved, since I didn't get last place in last summer's National's in Hood River, ha-ha Smile
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soheilzahedi5



Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's face it windsurfing is a fad sport. It was extremely popular for a time (given how difficult and inconvenient it is...) and interest has been waning for some years now because people don't think it's cool anymore. When I tell people I windsurf, guess what the first question they ask is: "Have you ever done any kitesurfing?". When people at the beach see my rigged sail on the ground they run up and ask if it's one of those things that fly up in the air. When I tell them it's a windsurfing sail and not a kite, they lose interest and walk away.

Kitesurfing appears to have the buzz and the cool factor now... and windsurfing at one time did too.

I agree with the earlier comments that to grow our sport we need to grow the base and get more people (younger people!) into the sport. Get out there and teach your kids or your friend's kids, or support programs that do teach new people and youngsters to windsurf. If it's your local shop that actually has a learn to windsurf program, then buy from that shop by all means!

I don't agree with the comment that we'd still be stuck with dacron sails and longboards if the sport depended on racing for advancement. Virtually every advancement in the sport has come from the competition side of the sport (just like every other sport...). It is the drive to go faster, jump higher, spin more times, etc. that drives the advancement in the wave, freestyle and slalom/course racing gear. It is the competing pros in each of these disciplines that drive this advancement by testing the new experimental boards, sails, booms, fins, etc. and using them in competition. Then the manufacturer picks what works and trickles it down to the gear we all use.

So for the sport to stay healthy and not completely die out, it is important to grow the number of people entering the sport to at least match the number of people leaving the sport. But it is also important that our sport has a healthy competitive side (just like any sport) to drive the advancement in equipment. Competing is also a heck of a lot of fun. Those who haven't tried it go on about it being regimented, not fun, etc., but don't knock it till you've tried it...
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