Whether it's marketing or gaining media exposure for the sport, it's not happening.
Sailing on the Hoppy after work, I was watched by a group of teenage boys who had gathered at the ski club. When I sailed back in, they nominated a spokesman and that young bloke came up to talk to me.
"Excuse me mate. ....What's that thing called?"
For a moment I was speechless, then barely muttered out "Sailboard" in response. He then went on to ask the expected questions about where I got it, how much, is it hard to learn etc...? I was happy to answer the questions and ended up explaining that the board was 30 yrs old and this is what people did before kitesurfing was invented to sell more boardshords. He was keen to learn and hear about developments in gear since my wally was new but it left me wondering... How is it that a teenage kid can grow up in a popular tourist town on the ocean with a number of ideal sailing spots and not know what a sailboard is when he sees one? What does this lack of education mean for the future of out sport
They also dont know what a cassette tape is or how to mail a letter.
Some things hav just become obsolete,,,,like spellen
Yeh good question, not sure of answer. Each generation finds their own thing. Things that are different today than 30 yrs ago, many more recreation options, greater need for instant gratification and abhorrence of long learning curves. Visibility is one thing, look at surfing, still keeps pulling the kids in, just so visible everywhere, and that aint easy.
Locally in Mandurah, bec there;s always a number of us 5 to 10 windsurfers always on the water, at our spot, we've had a lot of locals, come up to us on the beach and ask, us about the sport and how to get into it. But not one male under 25yrs, although had 2 females under 20 ask. most are males about 25 yrs plus. Its just our visibility, we are always on the water, and always having fun??
The teenagers you were speaking to remind me of me and my mates as young fellas.I too grew up in a really popular windsurfing spot in Quennsland but instead of windsurfing when I was young me and my mates were to busy complaining about being 1hr car drive away from a beach with surf.Sure when we were hanging out at the beach we were in awe at what the windsurfers were doing but in the early 90,s there wasn't any clear way to get involved (like lessons and stuff like that).Was only last year my wife said to me she could not beleive I hadn't tried windsurfing then organised a lesson for me this year and I have been at it ever since.In answer I think if your in a good spot for sailing its a good oportunity for companies to advertise start up a windsurfing school then st least that opens the door.
When your 25+ you are able to be interested in many things and put effort into them all. When your my age, you get interested in one thing and nothing else matters. Some chose sport, the rest chose partying. ( both make you broke ) That's how my generation is
Don't give up on us yet! Atleast 10 of my mates are into it. I think there is a restriction with the cost though... Compare a 200 dollar surfboard to carrying around 1200 dollars of windsurfing gear. Kind of an unfair comparison. Oh and don't forget the fact that more people = more crowding. Keep this awesome sport a secret i say ;)
I wish I had looked into it more back then that's for sure.Only now do I know what I was missing out on.Better late than never.I was just watching something about the races they have in Europe apparently they get an insane amount of people watching on the beach.All the best racers obviously go there but is that because the conditions are better or that's where the money is.
im just 17 and been windsurfing for about a year and half, i got into the sport from my dad. he used to windsurf heaps in the 80's and a mate of his was selling gear so I leapt at the opportunity and decided to take up windsurfing, absolutely loving it... A lot of my friends at school show a lot of interest when i start to talk about it and some of them want to give it a go. I think most teenagers don't have to commitment or persistence that is needed to take up windsurfing, which is probably why a lot of young people take the easy option, kiting
A lot of easier options out there than kiting like playing Battlefield 3 on the PS3.
How to get kids involved? Hard to say as kids are different, what appeals to some will not appeal to others. The main issue as discussed above is if someone new wants to try windsurfing, it could be fairly difficult to do so. However in another way its pretty easy. I googled windsurfing and got a fair few relevant hits, including Seabreeze.
Windsurfers out there windsurfing and having fun doing it is the best advertisement for windsurfing.
I'm not sure of the answer but whilst flicking through my daughters newsletter from her school ( Shenton College Perth ) I noticed that they have windsurfing as a sport option.
No great news really except for the name of the teacher -- Daniel Engdahl ( senior Technology & Enterprise teacher ). There can only be one Dan Engdahl can't there??
What a chance to pick up the sport for these kids. My daughter is keen to learn from someone who actually knows what he's doing......
Cost of entry and the need to upgrade kit when you get beyond the beginner stage.
Though kite boarding has similar entry cost barriers there does not appear to be the same need to upgrade all your kit to move to intermediate and advanced levels.
When you are new to the work force, an apprentice or uni student, you just dont have the $$.
I've said it once before in another post the windsurfing retailers should sell beginner equipment at cost, they may not make any money out of it but in the long run it will create bigger market.Another idea is why don't they charge a small fee($20?) on new equipment and the money collected Australia wide goes into better exposure and advertising of the sport in main stream sports mags/newspapers etc.
I totally agree with one of the main points of view.
1) The cost of entry to the sport is way too high to progress the sport. The majority of the guys I see sailing are older males with the money to purchase and upgrade the gear.
Its a great sport but I really do think this cost issue impacts the most on the lack of progression, even more so that the steep learning curve.
Like previously stated maybe its good to enjoy the low numbers at great sail spots.
Need advertising on facebook, tweet people on twitter and create an app for it!
Wait a second, I don't want to be on the water with these technologically fixated idiots who facebook and tweet every mundane thought that goes through their head!
Status Update: "Just learnt how to uphaul and am now heading out to sea"
Status Update: " Just started to plane! What a fun! Wheee!"
Status Update: "Just catapulted and now have a boo boo on my arm! (frowny Face!) "
Status Update: "Attention span limit reached.... Going to try kitesurfing now"
In reality, the best way is for us as a comunity to practise our sport in a positive way, be approachable on the beach and to hold more of the "come and try" days.
That is how we attract people to the sport.
My first time windsurfing was a school sports elective. While i enjoyed it during school the family couldnt afford to by me my own gear so I went along time before i got into it. The big push for me to take it up again besides having the money was my mates nagging me to get out there. Peer pressure can sometimes be positive. School is a good introduction to windsurfing though as you have an instructor, free use off equipment and a rescue craft should you run into trouble. Unfortunately i dont see it offered much in school any more.
I have a beginner kit that I lend to friends that want to learn, 3 of my mates had a go and learnt, it is old, basic has foot straps and harness lines(I have planned it), the board is heavy but stable and the centre board can be pivoted in the board, (old HiFly) what I do is lend it to them and they can use it as long as they want but keep it in good shape so it can be passed on, I also let them know when I go for a sail so they can join and I am happy to help (but they must supply the beer!), my 3rd mate is nearly finished with it, he had a go at a more modern board and is looking into getting a 2nd hand kit. If more peeps would do the same I think it would be a plus for our sport, do not send the old kits to their death. When I'll have it back I will put it here for a grom that is keen to start.
maybe its becuase even the governing bodies in the sport portray an old fashioned image.
Why wouldnt you use new/current imagery? This is the image that people still have of the sport and we seem to keep reinforcing it.
We should be proatcively pushing the new, excciting, extreme sport angle of windsurfing imo.
There are all sort of grants available from NSW Sport and Rec for getting young people into different sports.The issues are getting the qualified people with the mandatory working with children checks,instructors certification,insurances,equipment etc,etc + the dedication to want to teach these people.
As a youth worker I have been lucky enought to do this with SUPing.The young people love it,but it was a nightmare to get happening and costs our Family Support Service about $1500 in insurances alone to operate it for 6 months of the year.We got heaps of donations for equipment through the generocity of people within the SUP industry to get it rolling,but it is achievable.I fanyone is keen to do this ad want some advise on what I did to get it happening I m keen to help in anyway I can.There are some awesome outcomes for young people in just getting a chance to participate
hey - not a new question! Same answers though....
i've been teaching since 1984 and still at it, running the Fiji Winter Windsurfing programs, but windsurfing does need a huge injection from the industry for it to survive.
I counted 34 windsurfing Shops in sydney when i was into it as a youth and now there is one shop at long Reef. 6 million people and one shop - seriously needs a new business model!
having taught over 10,000 people over the years my clients are certainly getting older - but thats ok, cos i am too! At 43 i'm doing good, but the eldest at 83 stopped Windsurfing last year and there's a long queue behind him also lining up to stop over the next 15 years.
Every year we offer FREE under 12 to encourage families to bring kids and get them started and we do ahve families come year after year, but is it sufficient to support a Windsurfing only resort - NO. We now operate a windsurfing Kitesurfing, fishing and diving resort. I have been here in fiji for 21 years and have noticed the decline in popularity of Windsurfing over the years, but its not too late - we can collectively all do our part and encourage more people to learn and continue - so next time someone asks you what it is, give them a go! Tandem them or give them a 5 minute starter so they can experience it - we do here and kids love it!
No 5 minute answer to this question, but we can try!
I think the bic techno one design concept in association with sailing/yacht clubs is a great way to involve kids. It has a huge following in europe i think some fleets have been up to 300 strong. It can sit alongside all the other sailing classes no need for seperate courses all the safety needs are already met ie recue vessels signing on off etc. It already recognised by isaf as the feeder class to olympic formula or slalom at open levels so there are clear pathways to progress. The board and rig are usable from learning right through to world championship events. Kids sail with people there own age so it has the social needs met as well. RQYS in brisbane purchased three boards so as to enccourage kids to come along. I think windsurfing needs to engage more with the sailing establishment all the facilities and infrastructure already exist. RQYS in qld with the help of some dedicated parents has embraced windsurfing and as a result has one of the best techno fleets in the country.
Next event 5 july is the mid winter championships all the usual dinghy classes plus bic technos
Anyway I hope what I said is right as I just bought a Techno today for my son to start racing.
PS. He sold his motorbike in order to buy the Techno, given the choice he prefers to windsurf
This is the easiest question in world to answer. Make it fun, make it easy and most of all get them young. My son who is 7 had no interest in windsurfing until our recent Maui trip. He and his mate had lessons every day for a week, and by the end were tacking, gybing, and doing mini downwinders. They had a ball, because their gear was super easy to use, their instructor was brilliant (long history of teaching kids), and they were doing something together. Now he is asking for a Quattro custom, and a slalom board (funny)
A big problem that I have seen on this forum repeatedly, is advice given to beginners, such as, get the smaller board because it is better to sail when you improve. The problem with this statement, is it makes the journey to that skill acquisition, arduous and generally frustrating - neither of which is fun.
My son learnt on a naish Kailua, with a 1.2m sail. He currently will sail on a 151 GO with the same size rigs. A board this size for him means falling off is nearly impossible, it is super stable so he can practice all his skills, and be rewarded by not falling in. Now if he was falling in all the time, unable to pull the sail out of the water, and generally flapping about, he would never do it again - and I wouldn't blame him. Wind surfing is only refilling its ranks with super dedicated adults, that really want to learn.
So again I say it is simple. Get your kids and their friends together, get the right gear (stop recommending 90l freestyle boards to people with less than a months experience), get them professional lessons - don't do it yourself!!!! When your kids and their mates are having a blast, then their friends will be interested, and hence the next generation is off to a flying start.