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Why isn't windsurfing more popular?

Posted by Benson 
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
13 May '10 | 8:23pm
Hot Ice Wrote:
> TallJames Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I'm pretty bored of people wailing on about the
> > death of windsurfing being due to a lack of
> > longboards and move away from light wind
> options.
> I agree with you fully. I spent years sailing long
> boards and they were a pain.
> Long boards are for people who live life in the
> slow lane and digest rule books for breakfast and
> spend the day on the water shouting starboard,
> whatever that means.
> Speed and waves are drugs that long boards don't
> come near.

"starboard" actually means that You have to give way if You're sailing port tack winking smiley
It would be nice if people obeyed this rule anyway...
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 8:46am
Both emmech and Tall James sum it up. i.e. do what pleases you and ignore the snobbery, pressure to conform, or magazine/dealer mantras of this is right, and everything else is wrong.

I use both long and short because I HAVE to be on the sea.It's in the blood and always will be.(I'm also a long term kayaker, short board surfer, and catamaran user, so have a finger in other pies.)

To those who wish to limit themselves to a single aspect of the sport (short board sub 5.0 metre conditions) good luck, but you won't get the time on the water if you live in the real world.

My gripe is that the mags and dealers between them effectively almost killed the sport by concentrating on the 'high' end only. I'm just buying a Kona Mahalo large tandem board to use as an expedition cruiser carrying my camping gear, as I do when kayaking. But then I'm just sad. I should be sitting at home with my quad wave board, desperately searching the charts for the next gale. Everything else is just rubbish, isn't it?
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 2:39pm
Why isn't windsurfing more popular seems to be a major bust looking at the above. So summarising :-)
-too expensive
-too difficult
-too disconnected from the average joe
-too many other sports and pastimes to compete with
-poor admin at the top of the sport
-lack of time
-poor weather conditions
-too complex i.e. too many boards, sails, disciplines etc
-too dangerous

Hmmm I better give up now lol

Perhaps we as windsurfers never seem happy. That is we always have the wrong gear or weather :-) I guess this might more be about attitude. I think someone said in the thread somewhere, "how fantastic the sport is"!! I know that there are plenty of options for all i.e. long or short board, racing or freestyle, pootling or freeriding. Whatever you do as long as you are having fun it works.

SO as seen in the UK, National Windsurfing week has had some success in driving new people into the sport but what about each of us? Do you know someone you could get involved. Regardless of the list of negatives above there is always a way to participate if you get someone hooked on the sport. Go out there and encourage friends, family and colleagues to have a go. Sail or play in every condition when you get the chance and talk to the interested people on the beach I find that they are always intrigued by windsurfers.

Looking forward to the feedback ;-)
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 3:44pm
"Sail or play in every condition when you get the chance and talk to interested people on the beach. I find they are always intigued by windsurfers."

Exactly marcws. It's what I do and always have done over the last 30 years of windsurfing. When you frequent particular places people get to know you and see for themselves just how much fun you seem to be having.

BUT, it's the lighter wind days and non intimidating conditions that makes them want to try it themselves. That's why being out on a longboard is so important in inspiring others to give it a go.( Apart from which I'm having fun just being out, also.)
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 4:32pm
Around here (South Carolina coast) there's a community of veteran windsurfers (mostly older guys) and me. I just started last year with the desire to be able to light wind wavesail (very common to get 10-15 knots in late afternoon during the summer here). Most of the community are not interested if it's blowing < 20 knots so I'm regularly out on my own. Beautiful blue sky, warm water and humming along on my Kona wave board - not planing - but having fun out on the water and in the small waves (still learning smiling smiley ). I'll come in and sometimes there'll be one of the veterans on the beach hoping that the wind will come up a bit more and make it worth while... It seems a shame to just stand on the beach and watch....
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 5:30pm
Hi. I learned on an original windsurfer in late 70's 78 or 79 when the world championships was held here in Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas. A local marine store owner bought a dozen or so rigs used in the races and several islanders, myself included, bought one. We were all in our 20's to 30's age group and loved it. It grew slowly 'till there were about a couple dozen of us but because of the lengthy learning curve fewer and fewer got into it. Eventually, someone would drop out for a number of reasons until now there are only about a dozen left and i'll be 55 this year. I think there could be more personal involvement in training family and friends to get a beginner over the learning hump. I still love it and go when I can and the wind cooperates.

Chris G
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 5:56pm
I started in 1978 on the only board available at that time. A polyethylene windsurfer with a mast known as the blue noodle, a triangular bag for a sail and a boom made of teak. Heavyyyy! Actually the board was only 20 kg's or so. This is way to heavy for most of the softies of today but compared to the next "lightest" bit of kit, a dinghy, it was not considered heavy. I mean you could actually lift it off the car by yourself. It was also faster than anything else on the water. The only thing that could give you a run for your money was a Hobie cat. His mast alone weighs more than all my windsurfing kit. So you can see how all things are relative. The lightest, the fastest and off course the coolest. How about that, no wonder it became so popular. Oh and it was affordable R600.00 (South Africa). That included board and sail. The sport was known as board sailing. Windsurfer is a brand name.

Today it seems a lot of people have very high expectations. You must at the very least be planing (this is good) and preferably be doing forward push spock flaka cheese loops in big beautiful waves. This is all well and good but be aware that you are setting your self up for a lot of disappointment if that is what you need to be happy. Modern kit has definitely helped with the planing bit. Formula boards with 12M sails will plane in very little wind but, that odd board, which looks like a liberated boardroom table from an advertising agency and that giant sail just doesn't fit your idea of glamor. OK, so don't plane - drink beer instead and moan. You could try a Kona One with a 9.5m free ride sail. You can now be blasting across the bay or the lake on really smooth water doing long distance, up wind, down wind, anywhere at all. Still not cool? OK, don't plane - complain.

Ah, today it is pumping, 29 knots consistent, side shore, clean chest high to logo high waves rolling in from the west and pealing perfectly from left to right. BUT today is Tuesday you have got to work. You cant even be sure about the conditions because you cant see the beach and you live at least two hours away. Arrgh, the real world sucks! Get your beautiful wave board out of the garage and put it in the lounge, look at it longingly and drink more beer.
Don't worry, sometimes, just sometimes, the wind, the waves, the weekend and the two hour drive will all coincide. That is the day, the 1st of Octember. (Dr Seuss)

I live in Cape Town, South Africa (lucky bastard) and its true that we experience some of the best sailing conditions in the world. Strong south east trade winds for the entire summer, all kinds of ocean conditions as well as beautiful flat water locations. In winter we get strong north westers and giant swells. I own four boards, a Kona One, a 115L Free ride, an 84L wave board and a 68L wave board.
I also have eight sails from 9.5 down to 4. Yeah, the little wave boards are definitely cool but what's the deal with that big stuff?

Put it this way, I never, ever, never want to not sail. I love this sport. I can be on flat water in light winds or the ocean in strong winds and I am totally happy. Sometimes I actually find myself giggling, it makes me that happy. I am not a super duper high performance guy. I can carve gybe, planing all the way round and I can do basic jumps and simple surfing. Why not more? Well I'm probably not a good enough athlete, I don't get enough time to practice (I live in windsurfing paradise and I still have to work like the rest of you) and I'm to scared to trash my expensive kit in big scary waves. I don't mind, I get out on to water at every possible opportunity and get another serious dose of ecstasy.

OK, enough of waxing lyrical about my happiness. Why is windsurfing not more popular?
1. Cost, way to much money is needed to buy kit. The resurgence in recent years is due to older guys who were finally earning enough money to buy some nice kit. I am 45, damn that sounds a little pathetic doesn't it? I did stop for some years in the late 90's because it just became unaffordable. I got back into it about 5 years ago and once again prices have escalated in a crazy way. I see very few young people getting into windsurfing.
2. Attitude. People need to re-adjust their expectations. Just enjoy sailing. Being out there on the water gliding/blasting along is great. Sometimes you get a chance to do more, also great. Don't let the marketing people rule your world!

I'd rather be planing than complaining.

Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
14 May '10 | 7:09pm
Congratulations Robus, Ryan, and Chris G. Windsurfing will continue as long as people such as yourselves exist. "I never, ever, never want to not sail" says it all and mirrors my feelings exactly.

I''ve spent a fortune on water sports and don't begrudge a penny of it because I still (now 72) feel just as I did when I first stepped on a Hi-Fli 555. I'll run out of time long before running out of enthusiasm.

Thanks again gentlemen for stating your feelings, and telling it how it is.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
17 May '10 | 9:29pm
It occurs to me that a possible side-effect of the "waiting for the wind" approach to windsurfing is that it effectively makes the sport invisible.

What I mean is that, by the time it's windy enough for the windsurfers to get out, the beach has cleared of spectators who got tired of getting sand-blasted smiling smiley Light wind sailing means we're out in front of people enjoying the day and thus are demoing the sport and will perhaps get some people interested in trying it out. Certainly that's happening a lot with standup paddling - and it appears to be happening with kiting as well, though with their tendency to enjoy "buzzing" swimmers perhaps they're not always getting a positive association...

Just a theory.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
19 May '10 | 2:51pm
Well 35+ bracket and after a good 10 years of *life* I am BACK to windsurfing and with a vengeance.... sure snowboarding, mountainbiking and surfing and even shaping my own surfboards have been great, but since a short trip to a windy island last year I am definatly back to the sport I practiced throughout my teens and early twenties.

why is windsurfing not more popular? Maybe because the suit-wearing germanoid-dunkerclones that mass produced cobra/surftech machines made the sport look nerdo-dweebish? Maybe too many people drank the kite-poodlespanker coolaid? Maybe many of us *oldskoolers* had life get in the way?

Loving the new angulo boards and ezzy sails and looking forward to portugal or canary island blitzkrieg next big swell...

the future? forward loops and fluorescent sunglassstraps.

Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
20 May '10 | 8:05pm
Why isn't windsurfing more popular? .............. cos there's never any wind to do it , thats why
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
20 May '10 | 8:41pm
Fell off chair laughing locolocal. ('Are you avin me on' as the sergeant major would have said!)

That's the argument in full against the short board only mindset. Anyone for long boards?
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
21 May '10 | 5:58am
It seems that the majority of people who don't live in permanently windy places now see windsurfing as a part time sport. i.e. if it isn't blowing over 20 knots do something else.

In view of the cost and commitment needed in starting out in this high wind part time side of the sport - which is the only one that now counts in most peoples eyes - can anybody wonder that other things now seem far more attractive and rewarding? (Mountain biking, kayaking etc - any place, any time activities.)

The baffling thing to some of us is that this insistance on the high end only flies in the face of common sense, leading to disgruntlement and annoyance. (Locolocals heartfelt outcry - skunked at Rhossy meet perhaps??)

Of course it's exciting, nobody disputes that, but only if it can actually happen! Why do so many expect otherwise!
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
21 May '10 | 8:24am
argonaught Wrote:
> When was the last time you welcomed a newcomer to
> your beach?

the last time a newcomer arrived at the beach. Where I sail, the warm welcome and camaraderie between windsurfers on the beach is one of the key drivers in keeping it going. Where do you sail argonaught? Sounds like you are in a different world to the one I sail in.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
25 May '10 | 9:23am
argonaught Wrote:
> When was the last time you welcomed a newcomer to
> your beach? That's why windsurfing isn't more
> popular.

Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
7 June '10 | 8:50pm
argonaught Wrote:
> Why isn't windsurfing more popular? Because it's
> hard to get into. The windsurfing guys (always
> guys) are sooooo cool (and self-centred,
> uncommunicative, dismissive, hostile,
> unfriendly).

I love the story BUT one thing:-
Yes we all concentrate on what were trying to do, but every windsurfer i see on the water is more than happy to give a wave or a nod as we pass, rigging up or down is always a nice part of the day (the only thing better than windsurfing is talking about windsurfing smiling smiley )
''What kit on?''
''Nice board, Dude!''
''How was it out there?''
I've even managed to get a date from being on the water so its not just guys out there, plenty of women on the since. (could be more mind winking smiley )

Just keep your chin up fella.

Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
10 June '10 | 8:42am
Perhaps the current protracted lightwind spell (not so unusual really) following our more traditional cold Winter which kept many windsurfers off the water may bring a change of emphasis from the industry. (Makers, mags, and dealers.)

Shouldn't more effort be put into building and marketing exciting mid range boards that don't need huge rigs and fins to perform? Twenty years ago some boards (e.g. A H D 310) could plane in 6 knots of breeze, or so the magazines told us!

If such exciting modern boards do in fact exist, as many claim, then why is everybody so fed up with the present run of light winds?
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
10 June '10 | 11:10am
I'd say there are two reasons

1. Ignoring learners/improvers, where you'll start on a big board for bouyancy, people tend to have kit for their ideal conditions which mostly arn't planing in 8 kts then aquire stuff to fill in the gaps either side as level of obssession and money available allow. In the majority of windsurfers thats one board. Those who have more than one board are a very small number compared to those who windsurf in general. I'm sure a shop owners out there who could comment on what they actualy sell the most of which would be intresting.

2. The stuff thats performance in light winds ( formula, whatever that Superlight JP on riks website is, slalom kit of the relevant size, Kona 10.5/tanker etc) isin't cheap new and there isin't a lot of it around second hand therefore people don't tend to buy it.

That said I reckon if the wind stays shit in the UK alot of people will be looking at lighter wind gear or giving up to become SUPers or mountain bikers untill things improve. I'm certainly looking at slalom/early planing shortboards to take a 8m or so but am put of by the cost of a new (to me) everything to go with it.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
10 June '10 | 11:17am
As a PS the current light spell is the worst I can remember. December through to early june with what 3 lows producing good SWlys of any note in Bournemouth, thats by far the worst spell I can recall in 15 years of sailing and windsurfing. Early last year was bad, but from May to December the wind was very good.
Re: Why isn't windsurfing more popular?
10 June '10 | 12:44pm
One of the local boys thinks its been the worst spell for wind in the last 22 years...

I havent had a proper good wavesailing session in this country this year.... However, the surf has been pretty epic so its not all bad...

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