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Is Windsurfing Still in Decline

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Created by cammd > 9 months ago, 18 Apr 2017
RichardG
WA, 2632 posts
20 Apr 2017 8:04PM
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I think to be a growing sport it needs participation at the grass roots. In the 80s windsurfing was cool and popular and the new thing with significant grass roots uptake. The Windsurfer One Design or similar could be purchased for the whole family to use and have fun on. These days the equivalent is the all round SUP which can be purchased for all and sundry with a lower degree of difficulty and accessible. The rest of Windsurfing is too high end and for the enthusiast so it has a narrow market. It is still the greatest sport in my opinion but I don't think we will ever get back to the 80s level of popularity.Those days are over.

JonesySail
QLD, 935 posts
21 Apr 2017 8:36AM
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Clearly it's not anywhere near why what is was in the 80-90's that obvious, has it declined in the last 10 years? Maybe maybe not, but the average age is certainly a 'lot' older* the lack of under 30's windsurfing is the real concern for future numbers.
*Here in Australia that is.

There would be pages of ideas of what the hurdles and problems are, or perceived to be, the list is long!

Exposure to the public is one big thing, lack of events for the public to see is a big one, on any windy weekend You could see 50-100 kites on a drive through the local coastline, you would be lucky if they saw 1-2 windsurfers. There may be 20 windsurfers out , but they are all tucked away in non popular locations out of site, not the main seen public beaches..so the 'perception' by the public is rightly that no one Windsurf's anymore.

I don't think there is much value in always looking or comparing to kiting, there is a massive market out there thats not doing either, and plenty that wont kite for their own reasons, so how do you get them interested? Pretty hard if they don't even get a chance to see the sport in action. All they see is kites and Sups so that all they know.

Weirdly Europe with its freezing winters the sport still is big, so what's done differently there to here, what's different about the people, conditions or the sport there? Maybe there is something to learn off the Euro's.

In the meantime get your friends to plug a sail into their SUP , give them some basic pointers and sail in spots where you may actually get seen by the public and you'd be doing your bit to promote the sport.

NotWal
QLD, 6946 posts
21 Apr 2017 9:33AM
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Yes it's in decline but it's April, what do you expect.

Jupiter
2156 posts
21 Apr 2017 12:21PM
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windsurftom said..
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


You are correct to a degree about costs. However, one does not have to buy new always.

olskool
QLD, 1412 posts
21 Apr 2017 2:29PM
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Well its definately declined since the 90s. Im just getting back into it. Bringing my girlfriend and her two daughters into the sport. Theyre loving it. Its great the support the other sailboarders give. Good crew to be a part of. Awesome sport!!!

Jupiter
2156 posts
21 Apr 2017 12:43PM
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I may be biased, and I can be on many issues. I believe that the way windsurfing was being pushed by the magazines and media is partly responsible for the diminishing up-starts.

I recall the days when I desperately trying to look cool by strapping a board on my roof-rake, plus of course that dreaded one-piece mast that threatened to skewer some one at any moment. The path forward for me and many of the young and not so-young kids was to just be able to cruise away, and being able to tack or gybe back safely, preferably remained dry !

It was very much a family and friends event. Little girlfriends laid out the neatly cut sandwiches, sipping a bit of juice while socialising with each other's little girlfriend. The brave souls struggling with the lump of floating Titanic with a sail which back-winds easily in gusts pretended to be under control. To be able to sail away, do a few passable gybes, and sailed back alive was good enough for us all.

Then the new generation of cool dudes decided "f-that". They wanted to turn windsurfing into an extreme sport. Looping is on every brave soul's "to-do" list. Not contend with a loop, double loop is even more extreme. And magazines and media are pushing such moves as "the norm".

Now how many people actually wanted to risk breaking bones, not to mention smashing gear? So it is no longer just a social event where group of like-minded folks having a week-end of fun. And how many of us can do one of those risky moves? Too hard? Beyond the average Joe?

I recall those old pommie magazines depicting happy sailors hanging around tiny little lakes. These places have proper club facilities to keep them well watered and well-fed. It was very social. Perhaps now we have so much more entertainment out there. Facebook allows you to connect without having to get yourself wet in the water. Big screen TV keeps you within the house.

KookieMonster
QLD, 64 posts
21 Apr 2017 3:34PM
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Jupiter said..
I may be biased, and I can be on many issues. I believe that the way windsurfing was being pushed by the magazines and media is partly responsible for the diminishing up-starts.

I recall the days when I desperately trying to look cool by strapping a board on my roof-rake, plus of course that dreaded one-piece mast that threatened to skewer some one at any moment. The path forward for me and many of the young and not so-young kids was to just be able to cruise away, and being able to tack or gybe back safely, preferably remained dry !

It was very much a family and friends event. Little girlfriends laid out the neatly cut sandwiches, sipping a bit of juice while socialising with each other's little girlfriend. The brave souls struggling with the lump of floating Titanic with a sail which back-winds easily in gusts pretended to be under control. To be able to sail away, do a few passable gybes, and sailed back alive was good enough for us all.

Then the new generation of cool dudes decided "f-that". They wanted to turn windsurfing into an extreme sport. Looping is on every brave soul's "to-do" list. Not contend with a loop, double loop is even more extreme. And magazines and media are pushing such moves as "the norm".

Now how many people actually wanted to risk breaking bones, not to mention smashing gear? So it is no longer just a social event where group of like-minded folks having a week-end of fun. And how many of us can do one of those risky moves? Too hard? Beyond the average Joe?

I recall those old pommie magazines depicting happy sailors hanging around tiny little lakes. These places have proper club facilities to keep them well watered and well-fed. It was very social. Perhaps now we have so much more entertainment out there. Facebook allows you to connect without having to get yourself wet in the water. Big screen TV keeps you within the house.





Sorry Jupiter, I think I disagree to an extent. People are not put off surfing by watching someone take on Jaws. People don't quit skiing after watching the latest action vid.

As some other folk have mentioned, windsurfing participation has stabilised, but the cohort is aging. If you want young people to join in, the sport must look exciting and cool. I think what puts young people off is the image they have of their ageing uncle on a wally with a neoprene flapped cap. Teenagers want to be like Kai Lenny not uncle wally.

When I show colleagues and friends videos of the PWA pros going huge, or modern freestyle moves, they are amazed and become interested. Most people are just not aware of what an exciting sport windsurfing can be, when they see Jaeger Stone pull off a double forward it blows their mind. Of course we are not all going to do that, but it's great to watch and the more people who watch windsurfing, the higher the profile and the more participants.

Not that I'm knocking longboarding, but I'm not even sure it's the same sport. Long board and short boards require different skills, provide different sensations and appeal to different people. The biggest barriers to people starting windsurfing (short boards), especially young people, is that the initial learning curve is very steep, the cost is not insubstantial and most people don't have a mate to show them the ropes.

The good news is that modern gear has made the learning curve easier. Anyone who is keen to see the sport grow, or at least remain sustainable, should keep a short wide high volume Starboard Go or similar in the car and be prepared to spend a few hours helping their mates learn the basics. The worst thing we can do is let people buy an ancient Tyronsea 360 and cloth sail for $50 on gumtree and leave them to flap about in the mud until the universal joint breaks and they give up.

Just my thoughts...

kodyn
WA, 65 posts
21 Apr 2017 1:50PM
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Its the European windsurfers who have declined. When I first started the summers in Gero used to be flooded with euro windsurfers and that was what got my attention. Seeing that many crew out there having a fat time made me give the sport ago. Now it seems the locals numbers a fairly similar but the non locals have declined in numbers, hence it looks like theirs not as many sailors. Whether that is due to the dollar or what who knows.

Also we used to have several choices for lesson where as now its a battle finding someone to hire and/or teach windsurfing. If this doesn't change as the locals age I reckon there will be a decline over the next number of years. I know online has made it hard for the shops to survive but again back years ago with several shops in town there was places for people to go and chat regarding gear and lesson etc. I recently had a workmate tell me his son wanted to give windsurfing ago and asked me who in town he could go and see. Besides a 1 local lady that I had to ask around for there isn't many others that I know of. No one to teach = bugger all new sailors in the future.

Might mean bugger all but thats my thoughts.

cammd
QLD, 2344 posts
21 Apr 2017 4:08PM
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I asked the question about the sport still declining in response to a article in the news section, personally I don't think it is, I think it now a mature sport and will obviously never experience the growth of the 80's again. Kiting has probably reached its maturity a lot faster than windsurfing did.

I do think it has or is experiencing growth again however that shouldn't be taken for granted. Proactive activities are required ongoing to ensure new participants, people will always drop away for many different reasons so it needs people within the sport to actively recruit and train newcomers.

But the news article that prompted the thread made the claim the sport was on the brink and foils were going to save it. I thought that was a bit of BS, mostly because I don't think its on the brink and secondly foils seem like a another level of complexity.

Are foils the answer to promote increased growth

ps: longboard windsurfing and short board are the same sport and the fundamental skills are the same as are the sensation's, not sure about foil's as I have never tried one

jirvin4505
QLD, 1012 posts
21 Apr 2017 4:51PM
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There has been growth where I camp during school holidays

When I started at the lake 2010 you would only see the odd windsurfer

over time there has been a steady increase. Both newcomers and returners

just need to make atmosphere friendly and inviting. I always take extra learner gear to help spread the love

video taken a few years ago -



Regulars tell me the beach was once full of beach Cats many years ago - are catamarans in decline?? ;-)

Jupiter
2156 posts
21 Apr 2017 11:55PM
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kodyn said..
Its the European windsurfers who have declined. When I first started the summers in Gero used to be flooded with euro windsurfers and that was what got my attention. Seeing that many crew out there having a fat time made me give the sport ago. Now it seems the locals numbers a fairly similar but the non locals have declined in numbers, hence it looks like theirs not as many sailors. Whether that is due to the dollar or what who knows.

I believe you are on the money about the Euros. I remember some 15 years ago, there were Euros everywhere in Geraldton. The largest group was the Dutch, then the Germans, Poms, Swiss, Sweds, some French, and even a couple of Russians !

It was a very vibrant place with all nationalities mixing and enjoying the sport. Then I noticed the Dutch stopped coming, then less and less poms. Now I believe only the Germans and the Swiss are the 2 main Euros still come to Geraldton.

So why? I asked the Euros. It has to do with the financial situation with the EU. Financially weaker nations like France and the Netherlands, and to a degree, the UK, meant it costs a lot more to visit Straya. Then there is one more nasty fact...Terrorism. Tighter travel controls. Stringent luggage checks, and top it up with higher luggage surcharge cooled the enthusiasm quite a bit.

Airlines are struggling to make a profit. So they impose a higher surcharge on long, bulky items like windsurfing gear. Talking about killing the goose that lays golden eggs !

Some of the keen Dutch and German guys I befriended with had decided it is easier to go to Morocco, or Spain, or somewhere closer a home. I have not seen them for the last 15 years.

Mastbender
1901 posts
22 Apr 2017 4:49AM
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A current anecdotal story, a good buddie of mine who I used to w'surf with often, just got back into it.
10 years ago, he started missing really good days with big surf and great wind, he said it's because his son is starting in sports and he wanted to be a hands on dad, coaching him thru his school sporting endeavors. Soon after telling me that he sold all his gear to get rid of the temptation, I even bought some of it.
Last week, after 10 years, he showed up at our w'surfing spot saying "I'm back, my son is in college now, and I need everything!", so he started asking everybody if they had any surplus gear he could have or buy, so we all pitched in. He ended up with 3 boards, all different sizes, a full quiver of wave sails, masts, booms, almost everything he needed.
Yesterday was this third day on the water and he was shredding, almost back to where he left off. I go up to him and say "Seth, you were ripping today!"
"Yeah, it feels great to be back out there again, I forgot how rewarding it is, I feel like a kid again!" He's 49.
"So tell me Seth, how much money have you had to spend to get equipped again?"
"So far, only $275."

G30ff0
NSW, 123 posts
22 Apr 2017 9:08AM
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In terms of costs, my observations is that they haven't gone up in 20 years much at all, having recently bought new sails for 900 (8.6) & 950 (9.5) that are much better then the ones I replaced which I bought in 97 for 850 (7.5) & 925 (8.5).

Similary with boards, in 97 I got an ex demo drops freeride for 970 & this year a near new 2015 stb go for 1000.




Paddles B'mere
QLD, 2386 posts
22 Apr 2017 11:56AM
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Until you can buy your kid a windsurfing rig and board for the same cost as a plastic kayak, a boogie board or a second hand surfboard, it will never be part of "mainstream" beach culture. It is simply too expensive to set your family up to learn to sail with good beginner gear. For someone experienced who is returning to windsurfing, it's quite cheap.

Is the sport in decline? Compared to the 80's and early 90's, maybe.

Should the industry be doing more to promote the sport by making it easier and cheaper to learn? Definitely.

JonesySail
QLD, 935 posts
22 Apr 2017 12:52PM
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Lot of comments that seem to be common each time this topic comes up.

Foils won't revive or bring new comers, but they will add another dimension for expewrienced sailors, especially light wind and racing.

Kook's right , all successful sports and business promote their 'best high action product' and given that windsurfing is competing with kiting for wind/water sport market it does need to sell the sizzle even if that product is never achieved by the bulk of the market. It's the tropical warm windy ideal pictures that sold me the sport...not ploddinng around on an icy cold pond in 5knts!

The affordable basic simple innocent fun of the 80's one board, the family thing, is still there in fact it's even better, as the one board doubles as a SUP and the rigs are light as feather, especially i-rigs, and the SUPS are light too...so we have a way better and more economical point of entry than ever before. The starter family gear now is awesome and light!

Where windsurfing differs from many sports and business is that it really doesn't have a major commercial entity pushing and promoting the sport, each manufacturer has a crack in their own way, but never (from a distance is appears so) joining forces as joint collaboration. Would be similar to say the Sydney swans saying they were going to promote AFL on their own....they don't, they do it with the massive backing of a the industry body (the AFL) same goes for NRL, cricket, netball you name it...

The market place is so crowded for choice, people have less time than ever before and much shorter attention spans, so those that shout loudest will attract the interest.....so part of my answer is ..."it's not the sport, but the lack of promotion from the top"
For me the best value way to promote and get the sport decent exposure is 'high action events in great locations'
The dream promotion for the sport would be a national Pro/Am series of events/competition in high exposure windy locations.

Magic Ride
719 posts
22 Apr 2017 11:22AM
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Why not come out with a durable plastic composit board for beginners, like kayaks are made out of and slap an I-Rig with it.

Jupiter
2156 posts
22 Apr 2017 3:21PM
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Someone here mentioned better promotion of the sport. That is true. However, one needs to remember that windsurfing industry is a very individualistic one. What I mean is that each manufacturer, sails, boards, masts, accessories, all trying to be as individualised as possible, and be a stand-out. For them to pool money together and promote the sport is not going to be easy.

I believe windsurfing is unlike the mainstream sports like the AFL, soccer, and rugby, it is a "fringe" sport like sailboats, kayak, etc. Yoy take it up because of a few crucial reasons.
(1). The cool factor
(2). Being in with the "new" crowd
(3). A new challenge
(4). Just wanted to be different and away from the mainstream sports

I know for a fact that I wanted to be cool. I also believed that it can be technical. The wing theory. The board designs, and other things that challenged my technically inclined mind.

Now I think things have moved on. We have virtual reality which allows you to play games of golf and tennis without getting out of your door. Faster and more powerful toys like quad-bikes and jetskis ticked all the "cool" boxes. Not only are they cool, they are also "plug and play". Fire it up, and away you go. Little or no learning is needed. Doing donuts on the water and on land is as easy as point-and-click.

Despite all these, I still believe a sport that requires no petrol, produces no noxious gases, and still shrink your balls when a 2-metre wall of water trying to turn you into minced meat, is the sport for me.

bjornshak
15 posts
22 Apr 2017 6:21PM
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From old Sydney town, seems pretty stable to me. I seem to find more company in the last 2 years, so that would suggest the opposite to decline.

Interesting point to consider is the overall change in sailing. I have been racing keel boats and skiffs for years, recently it is all about foiling cats and monohulls etc. When we have boats with so much much technology the expense increases - essentially windsurfing is still the cheapest sailing for speed. The numbers of yachts is reducing, skiffs are increasing and associations fight for relevance and cash. Ultimately members drive the clubs who push associations. If we want to promote our sport, it starts with lobbying our local clubs.

Just a thought.

Mastbender
1901 posts
23 Apr 2017 12:38AM
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Magic Ride said..
Why not come out with a durable plastic composit board for beginners, like kayaks are made out of and slap an I-Rig with it.


Most of the entry level boards back in the 80's were basically plastic roto-molded boards, O'Brian, HiFly, Tiga, Mistral and others.
Indestructible but heavy. Plastic is inherently heavy, which is why we haven't seen plastic/composite boards lately, bad for business also, what company would want to build a board that never needs to be replaced?

Magic Ride
719 posts
23 Apr 2017 3:01AM
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Select to expand quote
Mastbender said..


Magic Ride said..
Why not come out with a durable plastic composit board for beginners, like kayaks are made out of and slap an I-Rig with it.




Most of the entry level boards back in the 80's were basically plastic roto-molded boards, O'Brian, HiFly, Tiga, Mistral and others.
Indestructible but heavy. Plastic is inherently heavy, which is why we haven't seen plastic/composite boards lately, bad for business also, what company would want to build a board that never needs to be replaced?



The trick is to reinvent a new beginner, small, light weight wide, plastic board. It would with stand dings and wouldn't crack if you drop it. It would hook beginners into the sport so they can advance faster. I think this could become very successful if marketed correctly and sold at the correct stores. A perfect start would be to sell them at sporting good stores, West Marine stores, windsurfing shops. How about windsurfing schools getting into the action.
Windsurfing has always been a complicated sport to get into. The problem is, no body has come up with an idea with a board to make windsurfing easier and more attractive. This really surprises me that nobody has come up with a simple, basic windsurfing board. It's about time the I-Rig came out, now it's time for a modern, durable beginner board for all.

The only Way to get a board like this to explode with sales is to advertise and sell it at popular retailers and it's gotta be affordable and it's gotta include some kind of I-Rig like sail with it. I really believe a complete beginner windsurfing kit can be sold for under $500 at any West Marine, sporting good store and maybe even Walmart. The sail would probably have to be a cheaper version of the I-Rig to fit the price tag. Dang if I was wealthy, I would totally create this opportunity.

P.S. A plastic board being bad for business? That's a bunch of BS. Talk to me later when someone makes a fortune off this idea! Oh, and this board should be advertised also as a multi purpose windsurfing kit. It can be used as a raft, can be used as a party toy on a lake, I can go on and on. The sky is the limit. Windsurfing doesn't have to be a specialty sport anymore with this kind of kit.

Belly25
NSW, 86 posts
23 Apr 2017 7:25AM
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I love the idea of inexpensive durable easy to use introductory level gear. I also feel that just as important is this gear needs to be extremely easy to use and allows for easy progression from sub-planing to planing. I only took up the sport 10 years ago. New gear was cost prohibitive so I had to rely on cheap second hand gear which often wasn't well matched and really wasn't suited to a learner, resulting in a prolonged development.

Sadly I still see beginners today using "garage Sale" long boards and battenless sails. Nothing against retro gear but Magic Ride is right, if we want to get more people into this awesome sport, gear development has to also embrace the beginners, not just the high end sailers. I'm just not sure the market is big enough in Australia. It's a bit of a vicious circle, for the sport to re-grow (or at least not contract any further) we need beginners, to attract beginners we need suitable gear and infrastructure, to do this we need a bigger market, to build the market we need beginners, etc.

We can all help by not selling our second hand "junk" to beginners, give it to them free or better, offer plenty advice and assistance to get them going.

joe windsurf
1459 posts
23 Apr 2017 6:26AM
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was hoping WindSUPs and AirPlanes/inflatables would bring the masses BACK into windsurfing
whenever I sold a newbie a full kit, I gave them at least one free lesson
that included rigging, on the beach sesh and on the water until I saw that contagious smile

legless
NSW, 794 posts
23 Apr 2017 8:57AM
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Select to expand quote
Magic Ride said..

Mastbender said..



Magic Ride said..
Why not come out with a durable plastic composit board for beginners, like kayaks are made out of and slap an I-Rig with it.





Most of the entry level boards back in the 80's were basically plastic roto-molded boards, O'Brian, HiFly, Tiga, Mistral and others.
Indestructible but heavy. Plastic is inherently heavy, which is why we haven't seen plastic/composite boards lately, bad for business also, what company would want to build a board that never needs to be replaced?




The trick is to reinvent a new beginner, small, light weight wide, plastic board. It would with stand dings and wouldn't crack if you drop it. It would hook beginners into the sport so they can advance faster. I think this could become very successful if marketed correctly and sold at the correct stores. A perfect start would be to sell them at sporting good stores, West Marine stores, windsurfing shops. How about windsurfing schools getting into the action.
Windsurfing has always been a complicated sport to get into. The problem is, no body has come up with an idea with a board to make windsurfing easier and more attractive. This really surprises me that nobody has come up with a simple, basic windsurfing board. It's about time the I-Rig came out, now it's time for a modern, durable beginner board for all.

The only Way to get a board like this to explode with sales is to advertise and sell it at popular retailers and it's gotta be affordable and it's gotta include some kind of I-Rig like sail with it. I really believe a complete beginner windsurfing kit can be sold for under $500 at any West Marine, sporting good store and maybe even Walmart. The sail would probably have to be a cheaper version of the I-Rig to fit the price tag. Dang if I was wealthy, I would totally create this opportunity.

P.S. A plastic board being bad for business? That's a bunch of BS. Talk to me later when someone makes a fortune off this idea! Oh, and this board should be advertised also as a multi purpose windsurfing kit. It can be used as a raft, can be used as a party toy on a lake, I can go on and on. The sky is the limit. Windsurfing doesn't have to be a specialty sport anymore with this kind of kit.


I agree with your idea but unfortunately your idea has been tried and it has not worked. Tiga made a range of plastic boards. Tiga is no more. Hifly made a range of plastic beginner boards and progression boards their twin fin Matrix was a fantastic board for blasting around and at 145 L made for a good progression board for beginners on but the closed down around 2008. Bic makes cheap beginner plastic board and ASA boards however although Bic has a office in Australia they only stock SUP's and Surf boards they do not stock there windsurfing range. Unfortunately no matter what people believe the reality is the windsurfing market in Australia is just to small and spread over to big an area in Australia making selling windsurfing gear in Australia barely viable. Thus why the windsurfing shops have been closing down or focusing on other water sports. There is an increasing move to overseas online manufacturer shops that Australians are sourcing there gear from again killing demand for local shop or locals risking investing any money in windsurfing as they will either be undersold by someone overseas or the stock they sell has to be discounted below cost because it is the previous years version.

It would be great if the windsurfing numbers would go up in Australia but I think we have to face reality and that it is not going to go up and that it is going to go on with a hard core group that teach friends and family and a few people that used to windsurf coming back to the sport.

Jupiter
2156 posts
23 Apr 2017 12:21PM
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One of the common advice some political analysts gave to a flagging party is "You need a narrative". Yes indeed.

The good old indestructable one-design and some of its knock-off copies did have a narrative. It is being cool, family oriented, multi-functional, and above all, adventure.

One of the stories told was that you can load up your board with a picnic hamper, a few cans of your favourite, and together you and your little girlfriend can sail away to a quiet spot for a day of peace and quiet. Well, I haven't yet tried loading a cartoon at the front of my white floating Titanic, but I guess if push comes to shove, it can be done. I bet some of us was sold on such a story.

The thing is, it didn't advertise to be fast and furious. It was meant to be just cruising around, and do your own things. Windsurfing now is all about breaking the 30 or 40 knots barrier. GPS speed checks. Loops and high jumps. In doing so, it forgets about there are folks who just wanted a quiet afternoon, and being content floating around at a leisury pace on a calm patch of water.

But that is my own "Back to the future" take. I am sure many don't agree with me.

AusMoz
QLD, 1081 posts
23 Apr 2017 3:40PM
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This helped with the decline in Windsurfing.

Magic Ride
719 posts
23 Apr 2017 6:51PM
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Select to expand quote
Jupiter said..
One of the common advice some political analysts gave to a flagging party is "You need a narrative". Yes indeed.

The good old indestructable one-design and some of its knock-off copies did have a narrative. It is being cool, family oriented, multi-functional, and above all, adventure.

One of the stories told was that you can load up your board with a picnic hamper, a few cans of your favourite, and together you and your little girlfriend can sail away to a quiet spot for a day of peace and quiet. Well, I haven't yet tried loading a cartoon at the front of my white floating Titanic, but I guess if push comes to shove, it can be done. I bet some of us was sold on such a story.

The thing is, it didn't advertise to be fast and furious. It was meant to be just cruising around, and do your own things. Windsurfing now is all about breaking the 30 or 40 knots barrier. GPS speed checks. Loops and high jumps. In doing so, it forgets about there are folks who just wanted a quiet afternoon, and being content floating around at a leisury pace on a calm patch of water.

But that is my own "Back to the future" take. I am sure many don't agree with me.


I agree with you, there is a lot of truth in that!

MarkSSC
QLD, 344 posts
23 Apr 2017 10:19PM
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Sailing has always been an expensive sport. That has not changed, however families do have more disposable income than we did growing up in the last century. Juniors are important and no sport flourishes without them. Parents are also well prepared to spend lots of money supporting junior sport and what their kids are doing. Don't expect the juniors to just turn up and start rigging. Most don't even know we exist. A lot are very bored on weekends. Schools have sport every week with an amazing variety of sorts to choose from, but no windsurfing because that opportunity has not been taken up yet.

A pro series would be great for television and gambling online. This strategy works for many sporting codes. The downside is that most of the followers are non participants, getting all their thrills while sitting on the sofa. Interestingly, all of the successful codes invest great sums of money and time for junior development. They recruit from schools. They poach from other codes. They give away a lot of free gear.

Before you can have high quality events you need very skilled sailors. Not the weekend warrior types like myself. To be a successful athlete you must have a good coach. So where are the professional coaches in our sport? Mostly in the northern hemisphere I suppose. Sad really, because there is only so much you can learn from a DVD. We could improvise of course, and use the wise warriors that have survived the 80's and 90's. What would that offer? Will their techniques work efficiently with modern gear and the styles used by pros in the northern hemisphere?

To finish on a humorous note I would suggest that the answer lies in immigration. Let's just bring them all down under. Forget Europe and it's cold winters. Come to the place where we worship the long weekend! Better still, let's all quit our day jobs and travel around en-mass, giving the appearance that windsurfing is a very popular sport wherever we go. Make a documentary film and call it 'Endless Summer'.

Mastbender
1901 posts
24 Apr 2017 2:47AM
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MarkSSC: "Sailing has always been an expensive sport. That has not changed........."
No kidding, take out sailing small dingys or sabots, then windsurfing, even with new gear, is still the cheapest way to sail.

For beginners, plastic boards, no, inflatables, yes, then it's just a matter of cost. Several on the market currently with more showing up all the time.





jamesf
NSW, 887 posts
24 Apr 2017 10:14AM
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Aussie company Bombora tried the widestyle plastic moulded beginner board (292x93) back around 2000. It was called the kazoo and was a lot of fun.

It had a stepped hull so would actually plane. Unfortunately it was really heavy to load on and off the roof racks. And there wasn't an irig style sail available at the time.

Some pictures here, google translate can help:
www.windsurfing.pl/post/180,kazoo-deska-rodzinna

Paddles B'mere
QLD, 2386 posts
24 Apr 2017 10:16AM
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Yeah sure, inflatables are great, but the durability of plastic is a winner as materials go. BIC are the closest to having the right product, but they need to look at something with a cheaper construction. A manufacturer will only need to make the one cheap beginner board that will be the teaser to get into sailing and then maybe buy the better gear (hopefully from them). BIC's beginner rigs are already pretty good, it's just a cheap ($500-$1000) mass production board they need to work on.



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"Is Windsurfing Still in Decline" started by cammd