This may sound preachy, but I'll risk that in case it helps someone enjoy
our sport more and advance more rapidly. We need all the help we can get
to master a sport as challenging and complicated as this one. Finishing
college took less effort and time than learning how to carve jibes,
especially before instruction was available from friends, instructors, or
If school requires reading, why shouldn't an extremely challenging sport
require reading? I get the impression from the questions they ask that
many rec dot windsufing contributors don't read windsurfing books or
magazines, or at least the how-to articles in them. The following
questions from the Net and the beach support this impression, because most
of these questions have been subjects of entire articles or even whole
books in recent years:
How do I jibe?
How do I water start?
What's the perfect board for me?
Where can I windsurf?
Is there any way to restore deck traction?
Will any fins shed weeds?
Do wave fins turn better than race fins?
Can I sail a short board?
Should I buy a race board to learn how to jibe?
How do I handle being overpowered?
Will very long or short mast extensions break masts?
Does titanium help in suits?
100 Gorge questions, already addressed in 100 Gorge articles, such as "Is
there camping in the Gorge?"
100 other location questions, answered in 100 articles.
Is my 8-yr-old sail as good as a '95 sail?
Does it matter if my fin is about to fall out of the slot?
At an experts-only Gorge site, on a near-nuke day, from a guy all rigged
on a 9' slalom board: "Where do I launch for learning how to jibe?"
By now you're angry that I'd belittle ignorant questions and novice
questioners. But that's not my purpose at all; there are no stupid
questions, and the only way to get answers is to ask questions. My real
concern is what these questions indicate: MANY SAILORS DON'T READ
INFORMATIVE ARTICLES, AND ARE THUS HOLDING BACK THEIR LEARNING CURVE
TREMENDOUSLY. If that's a conscious choice -- if they'd rather hinder
their learning curve than read -- that's their business. And if forum
readers choose to -- or not to -- take their online time and money to
answer questions that have been answered at great length in many
magazines, books, and tapes, that's those readers' business. Readers will
usually find much more thorough answers in the media than on the Net
because of the time and effort required to generate them.
Obviously, many forum readers, myself included, don't mind answering easy
questions. Hell, they're the only kind I can answer. But usually the
magazines answer them better and more thoroughly, and throw in another 100
answers for good measure. Take it from someone who has been sailing since
before windsurfing mags and videos and instruction and even other local
sailors were available: advancing without using all the sources of
knowledge available is a painfully slow process.
People who read more learn more, progress faster, and probably have more
fun sooner. 10,000 sailors could write excellent jibe instructions, but it
would take hours to write them well enough to add anything -- if anything
could be added -- to the excellent tomes and photo sequences in
Windsurfing mag and the British Windsurf mag.
So why would anyone even want to ask a question that broad on the internet
that is addressed so well in print? There are many valid reasons to ask
any question, such as being too new to know where else to look, needing an
answer NOW and not knowing where to find it in the mags, wanting a
different slant than has appeared in print, wanting a majority opinion,
wanting more info than a mag offered, or not believing what they read in
But each internet query gets an answer to only one question, usually. Yet
any one mag answers many of the questions appearing on the Net, so people
relying on the Net for their windsurfing education are moving very, very
slowly. Life's too short, and windsurfing's too complicated, for that.
In life and work as in school, ya gotta do your homework to get ahead. In
doing your homework, i.e., reading magazines, you will learn much more
about many of these common issues, and about many more questions you
didn't know enough to ask.
I don't want to DIScourage any questions; I want to ENcourage sailors to
read more in addition to surfing rec.windsurfing. It helps a challenging
sport progress faster. I wish there had been more books and mags and
videos, or at least rec.windsurfing, when I started. Maybe then I'd have
known better than to buy a much bigger, longer, heavier board for use in
higher winds after I outgrew my first board. Apparently none of the 15
dealers I phoned had heard of "short boards", and that was in my fourth
year of windsurfing.
Now, while you're here, can you tell me how to ski?