K. Winner asked for opinions about Eq. reviews -- I tender mine:
The test numbers are VALUABLE! I want them.
As a low-budget sailor with not much access to borrowing and renting
boards to try them out before buying, I depend on publications. The
Gorge report is cool for some things, but the people who write that
have not demonstrated to my satisfaction that they are concerned with
anybody who isn't a living windsurf god(dess), so I must take their
opinions on performance with a bit of leavening. Windsurfing magazine
has tended to approach the sport at more the appropriate level for me.
On the other hand, in past years, I have had trouble getting useful opinions
from the magazine, since they nearly always praised all gear and rarely
panned any but the very cheapest. You had to really read the paragraphs
carefully to figure out if there were any flaws that might make a board
more or less appropriate for you. I always suspected that the writers
felt that should not say bad things about their advertisers. Even if it
is not so, my impression that it might be, led me to perhaps read more
into the articles than was there. (Which wasn't much, sometimes)
When there was test data, this at least gave me a more objective way to
compare things. It was especially helpful when the data was accompanied
by text explaining what the significance of the data might be for various
types and levels of sailors. Durability DATA (as opposed to speculation)
was of particular value, since I tend to buy used gear and keep it a long
time. For example, I found out the hard way that my Mistral Shredder has
a much thinner skin than my E-Rock, by having the same thing poke through
one and not the other. Maybe I would have bought a different board if I
had known in advance? Maybe not -- it was a good deal.
One year, Windsurfing carried text from different types of sailors about each
board. This was useful, as my small, timid lady shares my quiver of gear,
and it helped us know what to look for.
ANYWAY, the main reason I keep renewing my subscription to Windsurfing Mag
is the travel articles. We do blow money on vacation, and we like to sail.
I keep hoping that if I read about enough spots I'll find the ideal place
to move to some day. This BB is great for this also (better in fact!)