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Why isn't windsurfing more popular?

Posted by Benson 
Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
22 August '09 | 1:44pm
A question that has been in the back of my mind for a while is:

‘Despite being such an amazing sport why do relatively few people windsurf?’

In ‘The Windsurfing Movie’ (watch it if you haven’t yet) they have a small section on the beginnings of windsurfing and they have a statistic that 1 out of 3 households in Europe owned a sailboard in the late 70s.

I don’t know of anyone having any estimates on how many windsurfers there are in the UK at the moment, or how many there really used to be, as a third maybe seems a bit over optimistic. (Maybe the RYA would know?) Is it the general consensus that there are less windsurfers around than there used to be? And is this perceived problem just in the UK? For anyone who’s lucky enough to live somewhere else, how’s wsurfing doing where you are?

On the Boards website I was looking through some of the poles they’ve done on windsurfers, this one may be relevant….

What age bracket do you fit into?

< 20 – 15%
20 to 30 - 20%
30 to 40 - 38%
>40 - 26%

I don’t know if that says more about the people that read Boards or the actual state of windsurfing, but to me that’s not looking too good for younger people joining the sport.

I’m afraid I wasn’t around in the golden era of the late 70s/early 80s, but maybe if anyone who was there could explain how this massive boom in popularity happened and why it tailed off again?

I think it’s fair to assume that windsurfing as a sport is probably more fun and easier to learn now than back then due to better wsurfing kit and wetsuits which aren’t fluorescent pink. So surely it has the potential to be massive again, if not more popular??

And finally, maybe the most important question. Should we be frantically telling everyone we know about this hidden gem of a sport? Or are we happy to keep the sport fairly elitist and underground?

Discuss….
johnny crash
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
22 August '09 | 8:56pm
I must say, I don't know what made windsurfing so popular in the 80's, but as someone who loves and observes the sport, i'd say

the press coverage is terrible right now. windsurfing rarely gets on tv, and if it does, then if we are lucky it is bryony shaw at the olympics (which is good) but more often it is a presenter falling off a longboard which is a DREADFUL advertisment for the sport. for things to look cool, we need the most exciting stuff on tv, jumping, or superfast slalom. kids need to pick up the sport, and kids like the cool stuff. and even on stuff like MPORA, which is an extreme sports video site, there is not much windsurfing. this HAS to change.

it is very hard to learn and can seem expensive / hard work to get started in. compare it to surfing, it is a LOT of effort.

the pwa doesn't market itself well. the site is ok, they do what they can, but WHO markets the sport. who is out there telling people it is cool? who is getting the press coverage? I can only think that in the 80's, windsurfing had a better image and was more aspirational. the actual sport exists now, better then ever, but it needs to be marketed. what happened to SSM? did they go bust?? weren't they pushing the sport a bit?

kids, it is all about kids. we need more, support them, support the parents. but keep the kids interested. make it look cool, put kauli out there, and kai lenny, kids need to see them.

and no offense, and i really mean no offense here, but please, to the magazines, PLEASE stop having articles with Dave White and the guys from a different era. We need kids, and we need a youthful approach, get John Skye writing articles, get Kai / Ricardo telling how to jump, get bryony talking about racing. MOVE ON. move with the times!!!
Old Git Damian
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
23 August '09 | 9:19am
johnny crash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> and even
> on stuff like MPORA, which is an extreme sports
> video site, there is not much windsurfing. this
> HAS to change.

Well now that MPORA's owners have just bought themselves a windsurfing magazine, one assumes it will.



johnny crash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------.
> and no offense, and i really mean no offense here,
> but please, to the magazines, PLEASE stop having
> articles with Dave White and the guys from a
> different era. We need kids, and we need a
> youthful approach, get John Skye writing articles,
> get Kai / Ricardo telling how to jump, get bryony
> talking about racing. MOVE ON. move with the
> times!!!

I think the Dave White era is still pretty current. I can't think of many who could take him on in a speed sailing contest. As well as being passionate about windsurfing, he also has the advantage that he can actually write, and takes a belter of a photo. I do agree with you that more 'yoof' stuff is needed though, even if I'm not exactly its target.That doesn't mean you have to throw out the more thoughtful stuff as well and turn out a mag just for 12 year-olds. Not least as it's the grown-ups who tend to have the cash that the advertisers are chasing.

I guess one of the good things about digital media is that we can each consume in different ways and so a 'mag' can better serve a range of readers. Something Boardseeker does rather well.
..
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
23 August '09 | 12:14pm
I am only 17 myself, and i think most of the articles in boards and windsurf mag is great. Dave White, Guy Cribb and Peter Hart all write excellent stuff for the technique sections.

I think it is difficult for kids to get involved in the sport because it is expensive, and you should have access to a car, because you need to get to differents spots for different wind directions or conditions. So unless you know lots of older windsurfers, live very close to a good spot or your parents windsurf, the kids usually ends up racing instead of sailing wave or freestyle.

The big brands need to promote the sport, but not in a desperate way. It should not be too much hype, or too much focus on kids, but basically focus on presenting the sport itself in a cool way. I think both skateboard and snowboard is too much "lifestyle" related. A lot of kids are more focused on having the right clothes or looking cool while they skate, than the skating itself. I dont want that to happen to windsurfing.

I think what Mistral did with comitted reloaded was cool. It showed good wavesailing, and focused on young and talented windsurfers, without loosing focus on the windsurfing itself. I want to see more free windsurf movies, i think for instance Fanatic should make the addicted to ride movies available for free, because it would promote the sport and their brand, and would pay off in the end.
P@BLO
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
23 August '09 | 4:02pm
hello

I think everyones got some very good points and i agree with with all of theme.
Thanks to my father, i being windsurfing from a very young age and i always find very hard discribe my hobbie to my freinds, etc..cause they got this old images of this sport in they mind.

i was looking at the Red Bull X-Fighters - Freestyle Motocross early on the tv today and i doubt that they is a lot of guys out there who can do back flip with they bike or even jump half the way they do.
Its a vey small sport but they still get a lot of tv and media interest.
i dont think we need more windsurfers to become more popular to the rest of the world.

sorry for my bad english by the way.

pablo
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
23 August '09 | 9:23pm
> why do relatively few people windsurf?

it is: why do so few windsurf ANYMORE. Used to be a plague almost (early to mid-80s). Big diff.

> I wasn’t around in the golden era of the late 70s/early 80s, but maybe if anyone who was there could explain how this massive boom in popularity happened?

Was huge. Was a plague, like locusts.

> there are less windsurfers around than there used to be?

Much, much less.

> how’s wsurfing doing where you are?

I move between US, Canada and Australia (long story), and mostly the same everywhere.

> windsurfing as a sport is probably more fun and easier to learn

More fun: remains to be seen. Less wanking then. One or few boards, no great choices, less of a Tupperware party then. People would concentrate on skills, not equipment.

Easier to learn: if that is so much easier now, then why is it that just about nearly everyone who wanted to windsurf could do it then????? At least 80% of everyone who'd take it up: cousins, girlfriends, neighbours - would success. Today's gear is easier, but the rate is much less. These are "I want it now and easy" times...

> we need the most exciting stuff on tv, jumping...

Everyone I know that don't windsurf knows about jumping. Yet they still don't want to take it up. That kind of exposure does nothing for newbies.

> it is a LOT of effort.

Was much more then in the old days (old boards), yet everyone could take it up - proof is the crowd on the waters then !

> PLEASE stop having articles with Dave White and the guys from a different era

I sorta agree, but Tubes of people doing backloops does NOTHING for new people taking the sport - au contraire.

> move with the times

New times are the quiver and 5 boards and 10 sails and 20grands worth of equipment. That's what shops sell, scares newcomers, that's it. The big Tupperware party. I wouldn't take it up if I was a newcomer.

> you should have access to a car,

Sorry, can't be the reason: was always the case in the 80s.

All the best folks. We're all wind- and equipment snobs. This is what happens.
blenderson
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
24 August '09 | 1:33pm
In the late 70's early 80's when men were men, The cold war simmered on and the western world was riding a wave of technological innovation. It was quite normal to want to be the fastest at any thing at that time, (We had commercially available supersonic air travel! for Christs sake) So boards got fast, You could buy a replica of Bjorns board, 'The F2 sputnik' Which was great if you had a single digit slalom ranking and all the wind in the world. The magazines warned you needed a phd in speedsailing to even dare place a toe on the deck of this thing. So of course, we all wanted one. But no-one needed one. I think this was when windsurfing went tits up as far as I can remember. I dont think it was because no one could sail a sputnik, It was because manufacturers realised that you put a world champion on a board and it will sell. The marketplace soon became saturated with a board for every conceivable condition imaginable. Then as the "windsurfing generation" got older, and softer, they had to make boards that were easy to sail as well to sit along side the pro range. Add to that a new discipline (freestyle) many hyped up, 'must have' concept designs that were shite. It all added up to too much kit and made the whole thing daunting for the beginner and hence we have a low uptake. The ignorant shop owners did'nt help looking down their noses at you either .
I was attracted to windsurfing because it looked impressive( hard) - a challenge and that it was fresh, fun and looked cool. It is still that for me, nearly 20 years later. I would dispute that it is easier to learn with the kit these days. It being easy is not why I took it up anyway, so why is that important?
I do find it sad that the sport is not embraced by more people. I take comfort in the fact that I have a skill that most people dont have and have experienced truly memorable times connecting with nature in a unique way.
iaingbrown
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
24 August '09 | 11:23pm
I got the gear out after a gap of two years and was wondering about this myself.
Decided to go back to the coast I've windsurfed since 1981 because I have been out of the sport so long.
The town is recovering from the death of a popular local man who sounds as if he was beginner to intermediate level kitesurfer. Picked up by a gust and slammed on to rock sustaining a fatal head injury.
I have no idea why the sport is not popular. The gear is dear. Most of my stuff is a couple of years old and I invested heavily after a trip to Tiree when it became obvious my 10 year old gear was not performing. Carbon booms and wider high volume boards make the sport much more approachable. Having said the gear is dear ; the gear stays together and doesn't fall apart. Fifteen years ago it wasn't a decent day at the beach without a broken bit of gear.
I am not sure. I see lots of kayaks on car roofs which suggests quick returns from low input of skills at an early stage then a chance for bigger challenges. The trips to the coast when 'the wind wasn't right' were innumerable but anything above 15 knots should be good fun with all the new lightweight gear. Lots of pals dropped off to mountain biking, catamarans and less time- consuming sports. Unless you live at he beach then drive time rig time derig time and gear on and off roofrack clocks up 2-3 hours minimum.
I have bought some horrendous unsailable ( and unsaleable) boards including low volume heavy pop-out 'custom' wave boards. Then stepped on a Bic Electric Rock and couldn't believe it was the same sport ( circa 1985!) and enjoyed some great years. The kites are more popular than boards in my wave spots but as I've mentioned; I think the injury rates are much higher.
Agree with all the posts about 'the image' - picking up a windsurf mag from any years over the last fifteen include the same dross. 'Secret ' wave spots;innumerable tests of gear that has rarely changed the face of the sport; a testosterone heavy coverage of poorly attended and spectated events around the PWA and nothing to popularise or grow the sport from beach up..
I live in Scotchland; previously half a dozen or more windsurfing shops and hang outs. Now , all I speak to buy on the internet. Unfortunately, I have all the reasons why I think it's not popular and no solutions. Haven't managed to carry a single family member in to the sport and three pals have all chucked it. It's not my problem; I accept I am in a minority sport and have no local shops anymore. I do have access to the greatest free sport locations and still get a kick from it. I certainly would not invest in the sport and can't see the recession looking kindly on a niche sport with niche manufacturers of products that are needlessly complex and confusing for anyone new to the sport. What the hell. I had the best day for a long time and am determined to get out more. As ever it was interesting to be asked technical windsurfing questions while hopping around on one foot trying to get wetsuit off and jeans on. Maybe the better endowed could rekindle windsurfing interest?
Craigm
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
25 August '09 | 12:42am
Its two different sports these days. Intermediate / Advanced windsurfing is an expensive and technical sport enjoyed by pretty fit, pretty wealthy folk. Beginner windsurfing is nowadays on a par to hiring a pedalo on holiday.

In the 70s and 80s no-one could do it properly and everyone had the same kit, and the sport was basically larking about with a group of mates. Nowadays people who try windsurfing on holiday or on an adventure sports week or whatever have to have to grasp that what they are doing in 5 knots of wind on a metre-wide plank is actually the first stage on a path to the sport they see in the mags or even on their local beach.

Despite the fact that the work by organisations like the RYA and "gurus" like Harty, Jem Hall, et al makes windsurfing one of the best coached "extreme" sports, I think this "gap" is now simply too great for most people to get a handle on.

Whereas you can get on a mountain bike or a kyayak and pretty much "get" the sport without too much effort. Even kite surfing seems more attainable. Ditto snowboarding. All extreme-lite. And folk like attainable when they only have 20 - 50 days per year to fit their hobby in to their lives. Not everyone moves their family to a house less than a mile from two popular windsurfing beaches and does work that allows them to go sailing when the conditions are right (I did, but I know that a lot of my non-windsurfing friends think I'm daft).

Also,

1. If you do manage to bridge the gap between beginner and intermediate, you are then faced with a mountain of kit to buy. For sure you can spend the standard £1000 that all adventure-sports require* but that only gets you a fraction of the kit you need (or at least you "think" you need).

2. There is the issue of conditions. Take yesterday on my local beach there were 6 or 7 guys out in what was (to us) amazing conditions. Southerly force 6, gusting 7 (topping out occasionally at an 8). The sea state (being West Coast of Scotland) was pretty choppy. Obviously overhead was pretty grey, with occasional rain (but also the odd glimpse of sunshine). Basically we windsurfers (and some of the tougher kiters) looked out and saw a playground but most "normal" people (even folk who bomb down hills on bikes or boards or skis) would look out and see a pretty threatening scene. My wife who is mega supportive of my addiction, doesn't like to see the conditions I love to sail in because it frightens her to think of me going out in them and she is not a wimpy, worrying person by any means!

Also if your internal wiring is sufficiently messed up to want to venture into the sea on a day when most folk are staying indoors, then you get stuck with the flip side of it never being windy enough on the right days, at the right tidal situation, etc. Someone mentioned TV - one of the problems with windsurfing and TV is that you can't show windsurfing live. You can't (anywhere in the world pretty much) say, okay we start the contest at 3pm and finish at 6pm and during that time the action will rock. So instead the only TV footage you get is packaged highlights set to a sh*tty rock or hiphop-lite soundtrack - there is no sense of connection to the participants, no drama, no suspense. In short it is all just a bit "same-y" and people don't like to watch it. Without live action, sport and TV are much harder to mix.

* Someone pointed out somewhere that pretty much all popular adventure sports cost about £1000 to get fully kitted out for (a grand buys you a decent mountain bike, it definately buys you a surfboard and a few wetsuits, it gets you a snowboard, boots, bindings and the requisite stupid-looking jacket, etc, etc) Windsurfing is an above-a-grand sport, and that puts it at a competitive disadvantage.
BunrattyKiwi
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
25 August '09 | 1:27pm
I started here in Ireland 3 years ago because it was a local alternative to skiing - and a fraction of the cost. There are good places within an hour or 2 of travel. In the 3 years I have progressed almost to intermediate level, so rewarding. The sport does have a huge following which I witnessed at a recent holiday to La Tranche, France. There were 3 hire companies competing with each other on the one beach. One had the completely new, 2009 range of JP-Australia gear, and contant trickle of windsurfing sailors out blasting. Sea temps were around 16C - not much different to the 14C (June) in Ireland. But at the beach there was a special area marked with bouys for windsurfing ie. no boats parked, no swimers. But the bay geography was typical - nothing special. Soon after I left there was a massive, well promoted, race to Ile de Re planned. i.e It seems to have momentum & popularity, and support from the local french business community.

Here there is less populariity, & atmosphere. Life guards are not neccesarily windsurfer friendly - lack of specialised areas, cluttered with boats moored. I get asked by some interested friends - how far do I go out & do you need to be a great swimer - they lack confidence to try, and see few others out. However, there seems to be a significant revival of surfing. But this has some potential for some spill-over. If the windsurf manufacturers had promotions - specially with the outdoor adventure pursuit companies - week camps for kids, that would be good. The few local retailers could organise more local events, clubs, local salom races e.g local race every saturday and publisize in their local (ie.100 mile radius) community, promote special deals for lads or girls weekends. The sport is easily more accessible to begineers than other sailing activities - so portable, cheaper equipment if the hire is available - doesn't need a trailer - stick it on a roof rack and go. A single person can easily launch. Doesn't need 'just the right wind' like kite-surfing or heaps of tuition to get started. I've faith - windsurfing has a great & profitable future if marketed better, and it probably will be, the fashion hasn't cycled around to today's teenagers yet.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
26 August '09 | 10:23am
I think a lot of it is down to the mags- take Boards for example, its like picking up Model Airoplanes Monthly! The techniques sections are good and sometimes the travel sections are ok when they go off on proper quests but really you get the feeling they write articles just to fill the pages.

I know the average winsurfer is male, aged between 30 and mid 40's, with a family and a decent income but wouldn't it be great if there was another option in terms of diversity and a fresh approach from the mags?

When you look at the phtography and format used in say Wavelength mag I wonder if there is a market for this type of publication within windsurfing?? I think it would certainly create more appeal with younger generations and that can only be a good thing for the future of our sport....I dont want to get to 60 and be the only one out on the water when its good!
Mr happy
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
26 August '09 | 1:16pm
Ive been windsurfing since the 80's and im now in my 50's.

Most beaches I goto I see guys (not girls) between the ages of 30 and 60.

I see the same ole faces as well.

The main problem is, most of us work during the week and only have weekends off. For the 52 weekends how many are windy enough to actually plane? Given this, it is extemely hard to get good at windsurfing and progress to the exciting stuff. I have managed it by sacrificing family life to some extent and to use every possible day off and holidays to go windsurfing. I would guess that not many "normal" people would be willing to do this and would just find another sport.

Given the available time versus the cost, then its bl**dy expensive, if you also factior in petrol, car parking, breakages, keeping gear uptodate etc etc.

Anyway, Im not really bothered there isnt much new blood coming in, I dont want the best beaches overcrowded. Selfish, yes. If someone can tell me how more people coming into the sport would actually benefit "ME", i might change me mind :-)
lovewindsurfing
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
26 August '09 | 7:50pm
To start with I think most people would agree more people doing the sport would be a good thing for everyone in many ways… and at the top end of things overcrowding in our often rainy and not so warm all the time country is probably not the biggest concern.
A few points I disagree with along the thread:
Jumping and any of the top end of the sport will attract newcomers –its radical and at the cutting edge of the sport-and what’s wrong with aspiring to a dream you may never reach anyway
The first time I saw someone blast at full speed and do a forward loop I knew it was the sport for me, combined with how nice it is on a good day at a sunny beach out in the open sea with such freedom hardly available in any other sport.

Someone else made a good point in the large numbers of people who watch motocross and its image/ media coverage relative to how few do it and especially as anyone getting into it will certainly not be doing superman backflips too soon! (Much quicker and safer progression to backflips windsurfing incidentally!)

A point I want to raise is printed magazines.
I wonder what the readership numbers are and how they’ve changed over they years and also what other ‘extreme’ sports were upto at having their high and low periods. Didn’t bmx and skateboarding have massive similar booms and downfalls, and look at them now all over extreme with x games etc.
If you have a good read of other sports mags, surfing, snowboarding to name a couple, and I suspect most windsurfers don’t- those readership age stats are quite telling- you’ll notice how much better a read they are, more quality and fun articles, and heaps heaps more rad photos throughout.
Any techniques stuff is presented in a concise way, not 6 odd annually regurgitated pages of blaahdy blah. Tuition with renting gear (and perhaps buying 2nd hand gear helping that part of the market) on holidays is more widely spread and successful. People learn while they do it! Not sat on the sofa!
Similarly for testing? Is it really so valid as to take up so much time and space? -especially when there seems to be such a general lack faith in honest criticism, or rather the ability of most test editors to be able to do so under industry constraints/influences.
(Even in the current climate you don’t hear about car manufacturers hounding top gear when jeremy slates a car do you? Or do you?! A completely different scale of industry but similarly people go on advice from other areas and a on a test drive! In which there is lots more opportunity to do so these days.

If you imagine any kid picking their extreme sport reading through a few mags, or any that are already into some of the others, and they read bits or look through for lots of good pics in the windsurf mags they’re gonna just laugh at ours by the time they get past all the testing and technique! Lots of rad shots in the snow or surf with girls and parties and that’ll be it. Windsurf mags in other parts of the world seems to have more pics than uk why is this? When surely everyone’s struggling just the same and our uk market is relatively a decent size isn’t it?
Plus just because mum, dad and grandad may not have something nice to read in it anymore that does not mean the kid is not gonna get some kit bought for them! They’re more likely to push harder to be dropped off for lessons or get their school class to do it if they have a mag filling them with stoke and excitement not half filled with dreary boredom. Also the uk has its fair share of rocking conditions- mags don’t have to be filled with glossy images of Hawaii all the time do they and forgetting about local coastline and schools the British isles all over as well as at lakes too where there’s always some folk blasting around for up comers to aspire to if they want to go fast etc? There are english surf mags that have almost the whole mag filled with awesome shots of home waves. This plus the local rippers and instructors at the beach drives groms learning at surf schools and clubs whatever level . Sure surfing is way easier logistically but potentially all it takes with windsurfing is a bit of organisation en-masse to get similar results.

I’d guess that that there are heaps of people who used to regularly buy the mags but are over it these days!
Hopefully the new guys MPORA taking on Boards will make a change, be up for taking a risk?! and rock it! For sure we’ll gain -and re-gain- a lot more readers than we’d lose.

Referring to another point on kit and cost,
kit is so well designed now you can have fun all over the place most of the time with just one board and 2 sails!

Yeah adding up all the best stuff its pricey (but no more so relatively than it used to be with inflation etc over the years) but there’s loads of effort in making it simpler isn’t there eg.
Severne’s all-in-one 1st timer rig?
And those that are designing greater sail size range around less number of or even 1 mast?

Its all lighter and better and easier! People learn faster and love it! And it can be fun at all levels in all winds. There’s so much stoke and good stuff around within the global industry as a whole lets get on it people! Go for it!
craigm
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
27 August '09 | 4:02am
In terms of there not being enough fresh blood coming into the sport, is that the fault of the RYA? In as much as when you are a kid and you learn to windsurf suddenly it is pretty much all about course racing whereas surfing and snowboarding are more just about messing about with your mates.

I'm sort of joking of course, but all of this Team 15 malarky is perhaps a bit too Blue Peter when compared to more "rad" sports.

Plus despite what anyone says, windsurfing is fundamentally not a class of sailing and should be governed by a separate body that focuses on creating more of a coherent "brand" for the sport.

Of course it is never going to happen, and people will always point out that "look how many of today's UK professionals got their start in RYA squads" to which I'd point out two things: 1) They had no choice, the course racing nazis made them do it and 2) how many (outdoor) world champions have we produced?

Whilst the RYA sends our best young sailors around the world to pump their way around courses in 6 knots of wind, kids in other countries learn how to wave sail, how to freestyle, etc on their own terms. And it seems to me this gives them an insurmountable head start. But thats just my personal opinion of course (and is probably coloured by the fact that I was sh*t at course racing when I was a kid...)
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
27 August '09 | 8:33am
I have to say I totally agree with what ilovewindsurfing says.

The mags should definatley focus more on UK spots with maybe some road trip stories through Europe and the like. I for only occasionally by Board if I am at an airport or travelling but most of the time I buy surf mags because they are far more entertaining!
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
30 August '09 | 11:12am
Good thread.

blenderson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So boards
> got fast, (...) The marketplace soon became saturated
> with a board for every conceivable condition
> imaginable. (...) It all added up to too
> much kit and made the whole thing daunting for the
> beginner and hence we have a low uptake. The
> ignorant shop owners did'nt help looking down
> their noses at you either .

Wow, spot on, IMO. Here are a few observations on the 'new' sport.

- precious few people teach anymore - this is a selfish world.
- we used to teach friends and cousins all the time then
- those few who teach, often do it on wrong gear - too small, offshore, booms wayyyyy too high
- we live in a "I want it now" world. People used to stick at it for days on to learn it.
- now it's more "gee, too difficult" after 10 minutes (I know, I teach a lot)

There is little replacement in the sport. Nobody teaches mates, the very few schools around bring little replacement.

Shops: blenderson is soooo right. About 1-2 a year, out of my travel in North America, I was in a shop and pretend I'm a newbie. The crap I get is unreal. First, many shops try to convert me to kiting. Then, try to sell me multiple, very expensive gear. When I claim to be on low budget, they tell me I'll never plane with this budget (who cares). And so on, you get the drift.

So daunting is the right word here, Blenderson.

PC.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30/08/2009 | 11:13am by pierrec45.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
8 September '09 | 10:25pm
Re 1 board and 2 sails I seem to remember a Boards SB sail+interview with R.Naish and he said he usually used one board and 2 sails (4.9 and 5.5?)! I agree not v practical for the UK.

I started in the mid 80s aged 15. As my folks could not afford to send me on the school skiing trip I persuaded them to help me buy a 2nd hand windsurfer from a W/S shop in Northern Brittany. Prior to that purchase I got my info from an early 80s board sailing library book. To me the freedom, the speed the excitement of windsurfing was irresistible. It was the thought of turning up at any beach rigging up and whizzing off into the sunset. All you used to see at the beach were people in dinghies, small yachts etc with all the associated hassle and this looked boring. Windsurfing seemed much more athletic, proactive and ..... dangerous. It captured my imagination & I was expecting to get a "buzz" from it. It was hard work learning on a 350 cm narrow custom French race board (bad buy) but once I had got onto planing (long before I got a harness) I was really hooked. To me it was the planing moment when I decided I would not look back. And I have not looked back over the last 25 years despite quite a few time outs due to work/injury etc. etc. I think for W/S to compete against the other """extreme""" sports it has to be getting people planing. It does not mean that racing long boards should be ignored, or not promoted, to the contrary, windsurfing is a very versatile sport but to me the "hook"/"buzz" etc is the planing feeling.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2009 | 10:47pm by Northern Lad.
lostboy
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
9 September '09 | 10:15am
See my posting the "Forum down" thread.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
9 September '09 | 2:30pm
The answer to the question can be another question.

Why is surfing so popular?

Spot the differences between the two sports and the attitudes the riders have toward each other and their magazines and the conditions and you have the reason windsurfing will never be popular all the while it remains up itself..
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
9 September '09 | 4:10pm
I assume here that you're talking about the attitude between longboarders and shortboarders in both sports?

to me there is a huge difference, and a very different mindset. longboard surfing is not viewed in the same way as longboard windsurfing at all. yes, it is slower, and suits (some would argue) an older participant, but it is cool, it still holds kudos. the boards are nice, the riders have style. longboard surfing is not seen as beginners surfing, it is seen as it's own entity, and one that has style and grace.

does longboard windsurfing have style? honestly, i don't think so, not like longboard surfing has. It is far more disconnected from the short board part of the sport then the two sports (long and short boarding) are in surfing, that is my opinion.

maybe these need to be connected a bit more somehow, possibly by efforts made to show the appeal of longboarding, think how heart and soul did it with the longboard loop, that was cool, and they made longboarding look fun. this has gone, no doubt it still exists, but it is not present in the press or from the manufacturers. Look at addicted to ride or any of the DVD's. Is there any longboarding? make this look more fun and maybe more kids will jump on. A kid can jump on a long surfboard and feel part of the crowd. Jump on a long windsurf board at the minute and you feel well, you don't feel cool.

who wants to see a picture of a longboard sailor heading out on a flat sea with his buoyancy aid on? not me, and i think i speak for the majority. Show that chap whizzing his sail around in bonaire and i'll read about him. you need to make it work so that it appeals. obviously some people love longboarding in its rawest form, but sorry, to kick a sport back in to action, and get press time, this bit needs to look better.

longboard surfer = cool older californian guy
longboard windsurfer = not cool, still old.
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