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Why isn't windsurfing more popular?

Posted by Benson 
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
4 April '11 | 12:36am
the facts are:
1- too expensive, also you need a car to carry all the stuff
2- lack of schools
3- hard to learn. People want things instantly
4- nearly no media coverage

Im from Chile, 38 years old, windsurfing for 25 years, and now after all these years we still the same riders. Anyways we like it unspoilt. Hey, check my web for info in chile www.windmaster.cl
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
4 April '11 | 10:21am
What you guys say about kids, women and how unfriendly windsurfing is to anything else than the 'standard grown up male' person is just so true unfortunately.

I was a kid myself in the 70s when it all started, I fancied windsurfing and I tried... 10min. It immediately occured to me that an inherent discrimination existed because of the size of the gear. I simply could not handle it by myself. So I've had to swallow my 'dreams of freedom and independence' for so many years until lighter boards, rdm masts and booms became mainstream. In the meantime I've grown up obviously but, I still find it difficult to pick a board small enough (in the 60l range) from the mainstream manufacturers. Ironically, I have a buddy who is at the other end of the spectrum 100kg+ and he too finds it so difficult to pick a suitable board that he has recently decided to order a custom.

So, yes, I believe that one big reason why windsurfing is not so 'popular' could be because it is aimed at a very narrow bandwidth of the population.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
8 April '11 | 10:34pm
i don't get the re-occupation with popularity, i like it now, it's better than 20 years ago, i sail for myself not to "be cool" and i don't have to complain about crowds like back in theday...
Bistie Cuffs
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
27 March '13 | 9:31pm
So I'll be honest here I haven't read all of the comments but I would like to put my view across.

I have been Windsurfing since I was 14 that's 17 years and have been involved in competitions, teaching it and coaching it. What I find is that Magazines are still flogging the same format, Boring! There's little or no media coverage, the cost of equipment that I once purchased brand new and sometimes a full quiver at a time is beyond my price range now. I have found that being an outsider to the sport was extremely hard to gain any kind of acceptance with in the many cliques that exist, unless you came from some kind of wealthy or sailing background.

Windsurfing has been infected with the slightly nerdy element that other sports such a Kitesurfing, Snowboarding, Skatebording, Surfing and so on Have managed to avoid. What I think we need is a counter culture within our sport of Hard Core, Couldn't give a F'#k!! Balls out Celebrities to grab the Kids of today's attention and say our sport is Cool!! These people should be celebrated. I look at the sport of Windsurfing these days and say Media coverage of our sport, Advertising of our sport hasn't change much over the last 17 years and I put that down to the fact everyone has grown up with the sport and forgot to cast of the drift wood and give it a fresh lift.

I used to love going Windsurfing and meeting new people watching them learn and laugh (sometimes) when it all went wrong, learning from each other and giving someone a big cheer when they finally pulled off a new move. Now there's no one.

In the 70's/80's the sport was new all you needed was a Board and a Sail, well that's all there was to it back then, you would wait until the summer and fill your days with sand castles, sunbathing and Sail Boarding and there lies a few reasons why now it's not as popular as it once was, it's not new any more, I'm sure that a households disposable income has shrunk considerably, do we all still go to the beach when it's sunny or is there a greater choice of things to do now, that Windsurfing has to compete with.

I will say this about our sport there are some really good youtube and vimeo videos out there check out www.winsurfmoves.com

I know this thread has been going for a few years now, it just saddens me that with all the other extreme sports I partake in windsurfing is the one that's suffering. I could go on for hours about my feelings on the sport. I'll still be out there doing something I love, I'll still be teaching my mates and although I no longer feel obliged to read the same boring crap that gets published every month, I will Windsurf for as long as my physical state allows.

I wonder If this will ever be read?

Aloha! Every moment on the water is precious use it wisely.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
24 April '13 | 8:39pm
Standup has become very popular and growing. Why?
Easy to have fun right from the start.
Fast learning curve.
Can find a spot on almost any body of water.
Lots of fun in marginal conditions, even for seasoned surfers.

Kiting has become very popular and growing. Why?
Frustrated windsurfers have taken it up in large numbers.
Faster learning, more action in less wind, many more places to get on the water.
Windsurfing demands special conditions to be good.
Lots of time spent on the beach waiting for wind and or waves,
and getting skunked on vacation trips.
Windsurfers get in a rut and stop learning.
Windsurfing demands better physical conditioning.
Kiting places fewer demands on the body.
Kiting works better in surf that is very difficult for windsurf wave sailing.
Smaller kiteboard has advantages for radical moves in surf.
Kiters turns so much more easily and quickly and catch many more waves.

Windsurfing gear takes up so much space and cannot easily be taken on airlines,
which charge quite a lot to transport it.
Getting good on a windsurfer is much harder, as well as learning the initial steps.
WS industry fixation with the pros, pretty much kills the entry level interest,
And WS prices have doubled in recent years.
except in certain locations with very good conditions for an extended season,
places such as Maui, or Hood River or Bonaire.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
3 May '13 | 11:43am
I think a possible factor is TV coverage. Windsurfing is never on tv nowadays. I remember in the 90's Eurosport used to show some of the PWA and Sky sports had a dedicated section in 'Watersports world'. I think there was even a windsurfing tv program on ITV at one point. Nowadays theres nothing on tv - not even on the extreme sports channel, which I find weird.

Equipment cost is astronomical. I bought a nearly new motorbike last year at the same time as buying a new board and rig. Guess which cost more?!
Patrick Davies
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
4 July '13 | 11:24pm
Windsurfing was popular in the 70s to 80s simply because it was simple! There was one board, one sail, usually left wrapped around the mast, and one could be on the water after about 10mins rigging up. The industry improved board design by degrees: slalom boards, wave boards, speed boards or guns. Thus it became necessary to stack these various boards on the roof rack. Crucially sails became so improved that rigging up for a perfect aerofoil with a stiff monofilm sail was a major exercise taking 45 mins or more with powerful downhaul pulleys required and battens tensioned with allen screws!
Keeping all this kit free running and salt free became a big post sail chore to avoid kit seizing up solid. Small wonder then that the less expert decided that all this effort and expense was not worth the trouble. Club racing died out since the costly technology involved to get a competitive result, and annual planned obsolescence became prohibitively expensive. The industry clearly shot itself in the foot. The gap seems to have been filled by wave surfing.
I still have a couple of nice boards from the 80s which are capable of a good turn of speed in marginal conditions compared to the ridiculously fat saucer shaped starter boards currently on sale. Spare parts are not available for these relics so when footstraps or mastfeet become brittle and fail, some ingenuity is required in the workshop to cobble up a bespoke remedy. Failing this effort, the boards have become garden seats etc.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
23 July '13 | 8:38am
I agree with G.R.F comments, some one well known to the wave sailing scene once told me how he sent in a set of professionally taken photos to boards magazine back in the late 90's of himself ripping it up in Maui in well over mast and a half high conditions. To his amusement the editor or manager simply said "Well we cant publish these pictures because there's not a lot going on"!

I saw the photos myself and can only say I have rarely seen action shots as good they were truly inspirational to any British windsurfer.

(Probably somewhat similar to the photos of Belboch? tearing it up in France on a long board)

However all this tells me is that there is truly something wrong with the way the sport/ media has evolved.

With regards to the likes of Mr White, Hart and even Crib they had their place and are all talented enough in what they have done for the sport however their coverage in the magazines/media was far too great which essentially hasn't helped promote windsurfing to a younger generation.
Its an expensive enough hobby (sport?) as it is let alone making it all the more less appealing buy editing the same old carve gybe or loop article etc. Technique articles should only ever be a small part of any media. Windsurfing's association with the RYA probably never did much good either despite their Olympic/youth funding and vast array of cash it simply hasn't helped the windsurfing industry as a whole.

I firmly believe that any one who's any good at windsurfing ie those who are truly dedicated are very well grounded in all sports so would probably excel in many other disciplines. Therefore surely its a good time for the top sailors to take the reigns and help sort out the industry which means finding its own legs as opposed to trying to emulate surfing, skateboarding or even motorcross, instead of complaining about lack of sponsorship money etc.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
26 August '13 | 6:03pm
I live on the east coast of the US and windsurfing is still hanging on pretty well. Here is what we do:

Our local club offers 2 Intro to windsurfing clinics a year. There is a nominal fee for this.I think it is $30. With that you get a Learn to windsurf DVD and one day rental for a follow up. The boards are rented from a local shop that has gone out of business (former shop owner is still around) and instructors are club members that donate their time. It is rare that we have people at the end of the day that are not sailing around. The intros usually have about 30 people in them. After the intro their fee covers a follow up day of sailing on their own. This is usually the next weekend. There are a few instructors that are available for any additional help. After that we usually get about 5 people per event buying and getting into windsurfing. However, In our area we have a lot of places to sail and it is fairly windy. We still dont have then numbers of sailors you would expect. For that matter we dont have a large population of sail boat sailors either. I think the reason for this is that Americans ( and I am one) are just plain lazy. I have always said that if you cant shoot it or put gas in it Americas dont want to do it. Lets face it It takes dedication to get to the point of plianing and most people are not going to put that much time into it.

I dont think it is a cost thing. People can justify the cost if they were to get an immediate gratification. Look at the big craze with jet skis a few years ago. They were everywhere and the cost was not really a factor.

As far as wind - I do freestyle in 5kts to 30kts. I have just as much fun in light wind as I do in heavy wind. It is all about perspective. I have a lot of people that ask me about sailing at the beach but few go beyond just asking. Once again - people are just lazy. They will sit on the beach and watch me for hours but few will venture into the water. It also amazes me about how many people are scared of the water. Yes they all can swim but if a fish brushes against then they flip out. I get the same question all the time, arent you afraid of sharks? I always tell them no I am afraid of jellyfish because that is what I am most likely going to run into.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
3 September '13 | 6:18am
Its not new anymore. People go for the latest thing.. Same thing happened to SCUBA diving and hangliding.
david g
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
16 October '13 | 3:16pm
Hi everybody I am looking forward to learning to windsurf, and let me tell you why. I have wanted to my whole life, but when I finally got somewhere in life and location to try it out, kitesurfing was all the rage. Now I will tell you why I want to learn to windsurf.

#1. Kitesurfing scares the hell out of me. I have never been able to learn, and I have been launched and dragged on the beach or tea-bagged several times. I'm not interested anymore.

#2. Half the times I go to the lake my friends who kite say, "Well, the wind isn't perfect for kiting but if you had a sailboard you could definitely go out and have some fun." Where I live it's windy 24 hours a day, same wind direction for 6 months straight, then off-and-on the other 6 months.

Nobody wind surfs where I live, but I am hoping to learn just as soon as I can get some equipment.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
2 December '13 | 4:54pm
I believe the reasons are these

- It's a challenging sport (more physically challenging than say SUP or kitesurfing)
- It takes longer to get to the intermediate level (while in kitesurfing you are at a good level in 20 hours, for windsurfing you will take somewhat longer to learn to get to the waterstart or planing jybe) (and SUP is just so easy...)
Also, people tend to learn this sport on holiday. Most people want to learn to be at an intermediate level in a two weeks holiday rather than over 2-3 years intermitently)
- The kit is expensive and bulky
- It isn't that popular anymore (in the 1980's it was publicised as THE sport to be doing.

If kitesurfing had appeared at the same time as windsurfing it would have been more popular than windsurfing due to its fast learning curve. People are impatient. The want it NOW. I am writing a post on the differences between windsurfing and kitesurfing on my blog [howtowindsurf101.com] and on an objective scale kitesurfing outdoes windsurfing except when it comes to safety. It is hard to explain how the experience of windsurfing and the satisfaction of the sport is just so much greater than in kitesurfing.

Learn to Windsurf at

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2014 | 9:42pm by HTW101.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
5 January '14 | 9:45pm
I have now written the article on what I think are the main differences between windsurfing and kitesurfing. Check it out at [howtowindsurf101.com] and let me know if there is something missing.


Learn to Windsurf at
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
22 September '14 | 10:00pm
One reason , and it seemed to be the biggest reason, here in Sarasota FL USA , is that most all the people, (and our sailing fleet consisted of about 40 people) we knew that sailed here in Sarasota in the early 1980's were in the 25 to 35 year age group, so when most of us starting having children, the time to devote to sailing was not there anymore and carting babies and children and all their equipment and the sailing equipment to the beach to sail was not a feasible thing to do at all. By the time our kids were old enough not to have babysitters, we had decided our windsurfing years were over. Only a handful of the diehard windsurfers here still windsurf and use the high tech high wind equipment. Not many go out for the leisurely weekend fun sailing anymore. Now that we are almost 60years old my husband and I decided to get back into it because we missed the fun so much. It was a good decision and we should have done this 10 years ago. So many people want to learn after they see us sailing and invariably each time we sail at least one person will come up to us at the beach and inquire about windsurfing and where they can get lessons. I overhear people talking about windsurfing as they watch us sail and they say things like," that's the hardest thing I've ever tried to do", or "that's so difficult to learn" or " you have to be really strong to do that". There is so much fear about the learning and I must say, a person really has to want to learn in order to be persistent in the endeavor and be able to begin to have fun and feel comfortable in all the various conditions. We had a great support group back in the '80's as my brother and friend /business partner owned a windsurfing shop. They gave lessons and got windsurfing popular in Sarasota until, like I said before, we all started having kids. Anyway, we are happy to be back into it and hopefully will inspire people of all ages to start learning, that is if they can afford to do so which is another issue with the sport. It's not cheap.

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