I believe thst in Oz their is a long history of Wally racing but it basically died out everywhere else.
About a decade ago exocet tried to revive long board racing with the Kona one, with some pretty big fleets at national and world regattas.
Q1: how does the LT compare to the Kona one from a sailing perspective?
Q2: will the LT do more for racing than the Kona one did?
PS one clear strength of the LT is that any brand can sell it, so all manufacturers can Become unified behind one class. This was a genius move.
I really enjoyed the Kona , except the rig . Great glide and when the wind was up it could be jumped and carve jibed. Not bad for a longboard
The windsurfer class is one of the few world locations that is deeply entrenched in Oz.
I have an exocet windsup 11'8" which is similar to the Kona with the step tail but wider and thinner.
I came across an ex raceboarder and he was into the Kona class as with different size sails for the different weight classes and had done well at the worlds overall, in his weight division and age division.
His local club were getting youth into kona windsurf with different sized sails for weight and skill levels.
I had raced the upgraded 1985 "windsurfer" in Canberra with no pumping and failed.
From my experience the light weight were at the front but in comparison with Kona the best sailors were at the front with different weight and sail sizes.
I understand the idea of the mona was to be a "white " board but manufacturers didn't take it up.
I sailed the Kona for a couple of weeks using IMCO and Windsurfer rigs. In light winds I thought the drag of the duck tail held it back and made the board feel draggy, but from maybe 15-20 knots it was lots of fun downwind and gybing. Some guys really enjoy getting them upwind by sailing on the fin with the centreboard up when it's strong.
The different rig rig sizes can equalise performance but some of the heavies dislike hanging onto a big, heavy sail, especially in a breeze.
The LT is very big in Italy and Australia, which can both get fleets of over 100. There are also now hundreds in France (57 at the nationals, I think) and the main French vendor cannot satisfy demand. The class is also growing strongly in the US and Holland and Japan had a strong team at the worlds including a two-person film crew!
The LT is probably a better light-wind board with a light but powerful and very simple rig. Which one is better gets down to individual taste but the LT is growing far faster than the Kona ever did.
For many people the LT's weight sensitivity is over-rated unless the conditions are marginal planking. For example, at the Australian nationals when the fleet started together in the marathon, where it was marginal planing and then displacement sailing as the wind dropped, heavyweight Dennis Winstanley was second or third in a fleet of about 100.
Yep, it is a factor but because you can't pump upwind, it's not as important as in RSX, Raceboard etc. Allowing pumping seems to even out the weight issue at the front of the fleet, since amongst good sailors the heavier ones seem to have more power.
I've sailed classes that allow unrestricted pumping and in many boat classes that only allow a single pump per wave or gust. I find the LT rules to be a reasonable compromise. There are few disputes and to be competitive at the front you have to be fairly fit - not a bad thing for a sport. It IS hard to pump as hard as someone who is 34 years younger and got 10th at the last Olympics, but even in classes that really restrict pumping (ie Laser dinghies) those pesky Olympic finalists beat us old amateurs downwind!
So what are the pumping rules for the LT's Chris? Just not upwind?
I must admit I'm not as fit as I once was and I didn't like pumping then!
In course races, you can pump for 30 seconds after the start, and downwind. In the marathon and slalom, pumping is unrestricted.
At the worlds a former Olympian and Kona world champ didn't seem to be pumping and although he lost a lot of distance, he only lost about three places on the runs and was about 7th out of almost 40 in his class in course racing. So if you don't pump you won't win, but you won't be at the back of the pack just because you don't pump. Even in the marathon there is little upwind pumping, because the tight leach sail doesn't respond to it all that well.
Personally I look at it as necessary exercise that keeps me healthy. As we age it's even more important to do high intensity exercise, so being motivated to maintain pumping power is a good thing in many ways. Because you can't pump upwind and because of the light rig, it's nowhere near as hard or as critical as pumping on a Raceboard.