Forums > Windsurfing General

Is Windsurfing Still in Decline

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Created by cammd > 9 months ago, 18 Apr 2017
cammd
QLD, 1641 posts
18 Apr 2017 2:38PM
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A foil article in the windsurfing news section states windsurfing is still in decline and on the brink of existence. Is that correct?

Youth windsurfing is one of the largest one design fleets in the sailing world, I have heard local retailers report growing sales in windsurfing gear. Windsurfers nearly always out number kites at my local which btw has a nick name of "kite beach". Doesn't feel like its on the brink.

Is this article just a beat up to sell foils or is the sport still on the decline

da vecta
QLD, 2325 posts
18 Apr 2017 3:06PM
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Certainly not. Especially in the Whitford household.

Subsonic
WA, 1214 posts
18 Apr 2017 1:29PM
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Dunno bout worldwide, but to me in Perth it doesn't seem so.

John340
QLD, 1785 posts
18 Apr 2017 4:32PM
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The GPSTC is certainly alive and kicking, at least while our anti-inflammatory drugs work

Stuthepirate
WA, 3316 posts
18 Apr 2017 2:32PM
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Australia seems to be in a unique position where we don't have a European link or a promoted event (bar maybe LOC) and a huge travel distance to overcome. South Africa can boast same time differences so attracts a lot more Euros (good thing ) but we definitely don't have the exposure as the European countries or Maui. Have a look at the Proffit Diaries in Cape town. The beaches are packed with windsurfers. Then again, go to Corros on a good day and we outnumber the Kites 2:1
Further development in the Juniors is necessary and would be good to see AWA/Government assistance in developing the sport among the juniors in areas outside the Olympic racing classes.
I for one would like to see more continuity between states through the AWA to develop State and National Titles.
The current system seems sporadic at best with no communication between states and disciplines as to what direction they see the sport going.
Just speaking for WA, it seems the WWA have been in a good position with a lot of dedicated volunteers to help run junior training clinics and days and provide financial assistance where necessary.
I suppose it starts at the grass roots. If we can promote at a community level and use that momentum to promote the sport at a state and national level - Newspapers, local community TV then we can hope to see more engagement and swell in numbers. If we become complacent and lackadaisical then we only have ourselves to blame for the demise of this great sport.


Belly25
NSW, 62 posts
18 Apr 2017 7:25PM
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Im at Lake Macquarie NSW. Took up the sport 10 years ago and am fully hooked now. In the last 2-3 years I've noticed a lot of previous windsurfers returning to the sport as well as plenty of juniors coming up (thanks to some awesome people organising gear and education on the water). I'm not gunna suggest it's a resurgence but there is definitely more sailers at my local spots that than when I started

nerdycross
99 posts
18 Apr 2017 5:43PM
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I believe kiters are coming back in to it for when the wind gets stronger cuss it's safer.

Mark _australia
WA, 17588 posts
18 Apr 2017 5:56PM
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Agree with Stu

This season just gone, I counted 60 windsurfers vs 28 kiters at Corro and another day (previously posted here) about similar numbers.

Seems the windsurfing is dead mantra was pushed by some with a vested interest and still believed by some who enjoy trolling. I don't care, and have fun windsurfing.

Stretchy
WA, 305 posts
18 Apr 2017 7:04PM
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Windsurfing seems to be considered an old mans sport atm, but give it time and I reckon it will become cool again, for those who want a real challenge .

It is indeed satisfying knowing that I am an ultra cool middle aged dude, even if my family don't seem to understand that yet

hardie
WA, 3925 posts
18 Apr 2017 7:07PM
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"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain

and who cares if you're the only person on the planet doing something that makes you feel good, imagine all the cheap gear around, uncrowded waters, getting fit doing what you love

Faff
VIC, 576 posts
18 Apr 2017 9:15PM
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Select to expand quote
Stretchy said..
Windsurfing seems to be considered an old mans sport atm, but give it time and I reckon it will become cool again, for those who want a real challenge .

It is indeed satisfying knowing that I am an ultra cool middle aged dude, even if my family don't seem to understand that yet


The average kiter is not exactly a spring chicken.

Dar
106 posts
18 Apr 2017 7:28PM
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I was also under the impression that windsurfing was dead. It certainly was killed in south africa by a combination of a volatile Rand currency (thanks to our insane banana republic politics)as well as the popularity of kiting. I was also a die-hard wave-sailor that moved to kiting. Cape town is flooded with windsurfers for 5 months of the year but is absolutely dead from now till may-august.

I am also amazed by the number of active sailors in Europe ... just look at defi wind.

There definitely are not enough juniors getting involved especially here in SA.....is my personal opinion

MarkSSC
QLD, 319 posts
18 Apr 2017 9:56PM
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Where I live the numbers vary but that could be because of the conditions. Increased coastal development creates more wind shadow, resulting days where it is gusty or just too light. On the water, there can be a lot more boat traffic, jetskis, fishermen, kayakers and sups. Kites outnumber windsurfers on most days but that does not mean they are any better or worse as a sport.

Tardy
2187 posts
18 Apr 2017 8:17PM
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There are less ,true
but we aren't dead yet.

cammd
QLD, 1641 posts
18 Apr 2017 10:18PM
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da vecta said..
Certainly not. Especially in the Whitford household.


Yep, I have done my bit with 3 of my kids now windsurfers.

The AWA should start an annual competition with a prize awarded to the most active windsurf recruiter, double points for recruiting youths

MartinF2
QLD, 443 posts
18 Apr 2017 10:47PM
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Well if anyone wants to promote windsurfing tomorrow in Brisbane, Wednesday 19th April, here is your chance and to be on TV. Check out what was just posted up here: www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Windsurfing/Queensland/Windsurfing-TV-Filming-Brisbane-Wednesday-19-April-2017?page=1
Really hope some people can make it and help our sport with some publicity.
Cheers
Marty

SmoothSailing
25 posts
18 Apr 2017 9:09PM
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Select to expand quote
hardie said..
"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain

and who cares if you're the only person on the planet doing something that makes you feel good, imagine all the cheap gear around, uncrowded waters, getting fit doing what you love


Truth. I prefer less people. Makes me feel special, and Lone Ranger stints over the water are epic.

Piv
WA, 368 posts
18 Apr 2017 9:40PM
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Its not declining. Few people understand it. Most people, even kiters and regular boat sailers are surprised when i say i have mates who regularly do 40 knots on the river or estury and usually their jaw drops when they hear about 47knot runs at shark bay. Its just completely off their radar. Frankly i am quite glad the 2000 odd girls (16 courts 14 players per court from 8am to 5pm) who play netball every saturday at our local courts arent into windsurfing. Its bad enough getting a parking spot at melville already. Windsurfing is a niche sport, we all love it. There is just enough interest to keep gear production going and that should keep us happy. My three girls give it a go, and they also like netball which is way more accessible and one likes horse riding, which is way way way way more time consuming and expensive but has far more participants than windsurfing. Overall i reckon windsurfing is in a good place at yhe moment.

Laonyx
6 posts
19 Apr 2017 1:50AM
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Select to expand quote
Stuthepirate said..

Australia seems to be in a unique position where we don't have a European link or a promoted event (bar maybe LOC) and a huge travel distance to overcome. South Africa can boast same time differences so attracts a lot more Euros (good thing ) but we definitely don't have the exposure as the European countries or Maui. Have a look at the Proffit Diaries in Cape town. The beaches are packed with windsurfers. Then again, go to Corros on a good day and we outnumber the Kites 2:1
Further development in the Juniors is necessary and would be good to see AWA/Government assistance in developing the sport among the juniors in areas outside the Olympic racing classes.
I for one would like to see more continuity between states through the AWA to develop State and National Titles.
The current system seems sporadic at best with no communication between states and disciplines as to what direction they see the sport going.
Just speaking for WA, it seems the WWA have been in a good position with a lot of dedicated volunteers to help run junior training clinics and days and provide financial assistance where necessary.
I suppose it starts at the grass roots. If we can promote at a community level and use that momentum to promote the sport at a state and national level - Newspapers, local community TV then we can hope to see more engagement and swell in numbers. If we become complacent and lackadaisical then we only have ourselves to blame for the demise of this great sport.







Select to expand quote
Dar said..
I was also under the impression that windsurfing was dead. It certainly was killed in south africa by a combination of a volatile Rand currency (thanks to our insane banana republic politics)as well as the popularity of kiting. I was also a die-hard wave-sailor that moved to kiting. Cape town is flooded with windsurfers for 5 months of the year but is absolutely dead from now till may-august.

I am also amazed by the number of active sailors in Europe ... just look at defi wind.

There definitely are not enough juniors getting involved especially here in SA.....is my personal opinion




With regards to the windsurfing scene in South Africa, the greatest majority of windsurfers are Europeans who come for our windy summers (Cape Town) which skews the perception of the local industry.

As a 'Junior' getting into windsurfing, there is very little support in areas outside of Cape Town/Langebaan. I've had to depend on this forum (thank you) and youtube videos, meeting the odd windsurfer here and there (all significantly older).

Most of my friends are too na?ve to know the difference between windsurfing and kitesurfing, to my frustration. I would like to see more club type set ups which allow gear rental to intermediate level, afterwhich purchasing of ones own equipment isn't as uninformed - buying expensive equipment which is wrong can easily put someone off.

I guess I am just so passionate about the sport that I want everyone to share in it's joy. I don't think it's dead nor that it will die, It just needs to be more accessible as well as appealing to the younger generation.

Kit also has evolved so that quivers can be minimised and transported easily, complexity really can't be blamed, only cost.

Boombuster
QLD, 483 posts
19 Apr 2017 10:05AM
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Windsurfing is strong at Wellington Point Qld on a good day there is 15 to 30 out in the old days maybe 60 but we don't seem to get the wind like we use to so it's not like it use to be but we always out number the kites.

Mark _australia
WA, 17588 posts
19 Apr 2017 11:55AM
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Who was the windsurfer here, who a few years ago, used to approach kiters on the beach pretending to be clueless and ask "have you ever tried that windsurfing thing...?"

Jupiter
2156 posts
19 Apr 2017 12:39PM
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I think it is hard to believe one way or other. If you are to look at the windsurfing shops perspective, many have gone. I know for a fact that Geraldton did have a few of them, and they were full of goodies. But that was quite while ago.

I believe the sport has reached a point of "stabilization". It won't get much bigger, but it will not shrink much either. With the competitions from all corners, faster, fancier, more hyped up toys are there for the taking. One does not need the skills, patience, or invest time to learn these sports. I am talking about those noisy petrol-powered water crafts.

If a young dude wants to impress his little girlfriend, the last thing he wants to do is to keep falling backward, sideway, and every each way on a windsurfer. Too much work for little gain. But that I believe is the change in our attitudes and aptitudes. We have shorter attention span, and we like to be swayed by new things. Above all, we want instant rewards that requires little investment.

Faff
VIC, 576 posts
19 Apr 2017 3:08PM
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Select to expand quote
Jupiter said..
If a young dude wants to impress his little girlfriend, the last thing he wants to do is to keep falling backward, sideway, and every each way on a windsurfer. Too much work for little gain. But that I believe is the change in our attitudes and aptitudes. We have shorter attention span, and we like to be swayed by new things. Above all, we want instant rewards that requires little investment.


AFAIK, those things peaked years ago. *New* Honda jet skis are 2009 build.

choco
SA, 3276 posts
19 Apr 2017 4:20PM
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Don't know about windsurfing but a lot of hair in decline

Richoa
NSW, 353 posts
19 Apr 2017 6:23PM
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Gees I think it declined absolutely no doubt. I was wind surfing in the early 90's and it was huge. Mid 70's through to mid 80s catamaran sailing was massive, 300-400 boats at regattas, Hobie 16 and18 were king. Many migrated to sailbords so much less time. Didn't need to store it in such a big area etc etc. many reasons. Same goes for sailboarding I think the generation of wow went to I'm done. Or moved to kiteboards, jet skis, dirt bikes had a huge rsurgence.
I don't think it is going to keep declining it's just levelled to a realistic proportion of its market portion, it will have little surges in pockets where a group may influence others or a good retailer offers support whilst living in his car to pay the bills.

I dont think its its really that much to do with kitesurfing, those that went across would of been looking for something diff anyway, we all look over the fence at others toys and sometimes think that's for me, look at sups. Personally don't get it but many do and it's pretty easy much safer than both WS and Ks. The wife can do it with minimal fuss how can we compete.

enjoy what yr doing today, tomorrow is for the dreamers and us to follow.

ps there is one constant, surfing has just grown bigger and bigger. I pity you poor souls out there in the thousands. I thought it was bad when we numbered in hundreds. I think part of that is many guys stay on and keep surfing which is big change, you didn't see many dads out in the surf when I was a kid, they were wind surfing I think! Didn't care then.

joe windsurf
1293 posts
19 Apr 2017 6:01PM
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at the local beach it feels like there are more kiters than windsurfers
when you go further out, there are more windsurfers than kiters
on the east coast we go to Hatteras for our spring and/or fall fix
Makani and others have started up a long distance race @ Hatteras

obx-wind.com/long-distance/

there are a few windsurfers on the water !!!

Agrid
WA, 263 posts
19 Apr 2017 10:05PM
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Piv said..
Its not declining. Few people understand it. Most people, even kiters and regular boat sailers are surprised when i say i have mates who regularly do 40 knots on the river or estury and usually their jaw drops when they hear about 47knot runs at shark bay. Its just completely off their radar. Frankly i am quite glad the 2000 odd girls (16 courts 14 players per court from 8am to 5pm) who play netball every saturday at our local courts arent into windsurfing. Its bad enough getting a parking spot at melville already. Windsurfing is a niche sport, we all love it. There is just enough interest to keep gear production going and that should keep us happy. My three girls give it a go, and they also like netball which is way more accessible and one likes horse riding, which is way way way way more time consuming and expensive but has far more participants than windsurfing. Overall i reckon windsurfing is in a good place at yhe moment.


I remember the early/mid 80's when the Melville carpark was full and parking was bumper to bumper along the length of the road. Nobdoy who knew what they were doing sailed at the carpark end. Dutch Inn used to get so crowded with about 50 windsurfers out it became unsafe so we moved on to the northern beaches (Brighton, Triggs, Mettams, Seal Island). These days at Dutch Inn there's about 20 out on a good day with twice as many kiters. so I suppsoe that means windsurfing is in decline. Kiting doesn't look that challenging to me but seems like fun especially when the wind is light.

Mastbender
1671 posts
20 Apr 2017 1:44AM
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I'm really happy with the size of the sport now days, it used to be WAAAAY too crowded.
Then it became WAAAAY too crowded with kiters, but they have diminished in size as well.
Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

Deaths and wheel chairs put a bit of a damper on kiting, similar to hang gliding.
Gashes and stitches will put a damper on foiling, there hasn't been enough blood yet, but it's coming.

Jupiter
2156 posts
20 Apr 2017 4:30PM
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I believe that every sport has a story to tell. Windsurfing at the beginning, or later on when the swing-down boom was the perceived as the greatest invention/development for the sport, it was considered to be an "in" or "cool" thing to be seen with a windsurfer strapped to your roof-rack.

Of course, the magical stories spun about the even more magical waves over the other side of the world, like Hawaii, we beginners wanted to be one of those super cool, uber brave souls riding those huge waves on a highly "modified" Windsurfer One-design" board. Highly modified meant simply cut the back of the board off, and stuck a fin at the back. To learn to do a carve gybe was the one and only ambition many of use kept, but mostly failed.

Now, riding big waves can be done on a jetski, or a kite. People would prefer sports that is "plug and play", just like the HD TV. We lost the tenacity and stubborness to keep failing until success, well...moderately successful.

windsurftom
NSW, 186 posts
20 Apr 2017 6:59PM
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I reckon kiting is in decline more than windsurfing. However the median age of kiters is about 10 years less.

Windsurfing could have a fairly stable popularity except for the cost of the equipment for younger people who don't have a high disposable income

MarkSSC
QLD, 319 posts
20 Apr 2017 9:45PM
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Select to expand quote
Boombuster said..
Windsurfing is strong at Wellington Point Qld on a good day there is 15 to 30 out in the old days maybe 60 but we don't seem to get the wind like we use to so it's not like it use to be but we always out number the kites.


I think that the kiters migrated to Caloundra. Do you want them back?



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"Is Windsurfing Still in Decline" started by cammd