the growth

the growth

Post by DKT&WARDO » Fri, 20 Feb 1998 04:00:00

I think that the frequency and velocity of the wind at all of our
favorite sailing venues is what is going to make windsurfing,
sailboarding, surfsailing, swerving, and wavesailing all collectively
grow again. When people see us out there "going off" there curiosity
about the sport , no matter what the discipline ,will be piqued.
Windsurfing is a social sport on the water and off. In surfing ,no one
hates other surfers like other surfers ,kayaking seems to be like that
also, kind of cliquey, but in windsurfing our tribe is relatively small
,even compared to a small sport like snowboarding , so it is wide open
new people to come into the sport. I think the manufacturers of the
equipment have done a damn good job making the equipment lighter and
stronger, but more importantly comfortable and efficient. The resell
value of gear seems to be at an all time low, which is reflected by
economics- supply and demand, which is perplexing in the area I live
,Santa Barbara, Calif. ,where the number of surfers is growing by the
day.I can sell my used surfboards for almost as much as I pay for them.
Used windsurfing gear can be had for a song.The average age of
windsurfers seems to be increasing, primarily because  fewer young
rippers are coming into the sport .I know that Blake and Susie Richards
at Northwave Sails are making kids rigs to try to facilitate an earlier
and easier initiation into the sport that most likely their parents are
obsessed with. Some people think the media stopped growth by focusing
the advertising and exposure dollar on the extreme aspect of wavesailing
or extreme aerial maneuvers which is largely unattainable by the masses,
this is probably true to some extent , however it has shown us that
there is more potential in the sport than than doing figure 8's on your
local mill pond, for that I am grateful. The industry is small enough
now that you can and should call up your favorite manufacturers and give
them feedback about the stuff they are making. There is life beyond
trying to be the fastest person on the water, practice tricks and
transitions when you get bored!!
Keep learning and trying new things, therein lies the answer to opening
up new feelings , either from adrenaline or endorphins. Windsurfing is a
three dimensional sport. Have fun!!!


the growth

Post by cliv » Sat, 21 Feb 1998 04:00:00

Here's something clipped from my E-mail

> > my gear is much slower than
> >the new stuff... really slow... but I get adrenaline
> > rushes
> > nonetheless.
> Cool, that's why most of  us sail!  

Not totally why I sail.  Because windsurfing is a solitary
sport (especially for slalomers), it is based on adrenaline
or personal satisfaction.  I'm sick and tired of going out
there and going back and forth with the occaisonal gybe.
It sucks!  It's lonely out there.  The new kind of sailing
I want to start up is more social - something everyone can
enjoy, not just the adrenaline junkies.  I like adrenaline
as much as the next guy, but I'm also social and want to
have rushes while fooling around with some friends (this is
why team sports are so popular, 90% of people have this
attitude).  This is why snowboarding is popular (because
it's viewed as cool doesn't hurt either), because a group
of guys can get together and get their kicks while kidding
around and showing off to eachother.  Windsurfing's not
like that - social slalomers just sail back and forth as
far as I've seen.  A new form of the sport has to be
established for the masses.
To prove this, let's look at snowboarding - it is currently
social like the above.  Now, the manufacturers are buiding
freecarve boards for the adrenaline crowd.  Watch as the
based snowboarders group themselves into either freestyle
riding or freecarve riding to suit their needs/wants.  The
manufacturers see the demand, so they supply (can't blame
them).  Soon snowboarding becomes a sport where in order to
join, you have to choose one of the riding areas -
freecarve or freestyle.  People are discouraged because the
point of just going out and enjoying the lifestyle,
attitude, social side, etc, is lost.
Does this sound familiar?  If not, look at how the original
Windsurfer enjoyed fame, then the based windsurfers either
went into wave-sailing or speed-sailing, and the
manufacturers were faced to follow.  Windsurfing is
gradually returning to the middle ground (freeride) where
everyone has fun, and that's attracting new sailors,
although it's slalom orientation is holding it back, maybe?
 Add the social aspects, and the sport will thrive.  ie.
Give the sport a new face, a new attitude, and the
socialites will follow.  Soon the sport will be as
attractive to newbies as snowboarding.  Make sense?  Please
comment, I need input to find out if this is true or just
some of my nonsense.

Thanks for reading it.
Any comments?


the growth

Post by MTVNewsG » Sat, 21 Feb 1998 04:00:00

   I hear you!  I don't like sailing alone (though I do it) but I feel like I'm
with someone even if there's only one other person on the water and we pass
each other every five minutes.  It's not a safety issue, either...I think it's
a high that is best shared.  
   For that matter, I've infuriated my best sailing buddy by telling him that I
don't even know what it is I like about windsurfing.  I really have no idea!
It's not the adrenaline (though I love sailing on the edge of survival) and
it's not the acquisition of skills (though I go out in 4 knots and work on
tricks all the time)...I just know that there's nothing I'd rather be doing
while the sun is up.  So I work the phone whenever I'm ready to sail and nobody
is out.



the growth

Post by cliv » Sat, 21 Feb 1998 04:00:00

> For recreational sailors I am afraid that you are
> It seems like you miss all the friendship of learning
> with friends at the same level as you.

Uhh, I've never actually known or sailed with any other
windsurfers.  For the past 3 years, I have been sailing
alone and I learnt using a board I found in the cottage
ba***t and got my skills from magazines... so I don't
know what I'm missing.  The reason I'm concerned with
windsurfing's growth is because most young people won't be
as stubborn as me to learn.  With no other sailors on the
lake, not alot of young people are going to want to just
pull the old equipment out, learn to sail it on their own,
and join a sport that as far as they know, nobody else
One of my finest sailing memories was when a friend came
out in her kayak and we just cruised around together, while
I performed all my tricks.  For me, tricks aren't as fun
when I don't have anyone out there to laugh with.  That's
why so many sailors are in it for the adrenaline.  There's
noone to do 'laidback fun' things with, so the reason for
doing the sport is for e***ment and personal
satisfaction, ie. going fast, etc.

> I guess that is a result
> of us getting better, and many of our friends quitting
> We are not beginners anymore, or ***agers for that

Well, to tell you the truth, I'm technically both.  I'm 18
and can't waterstart.  I guess I'm the youth representative
from now on.  That's one of the reasons I'm so concerned -
I have so much fun out there, I want others to have the
chance to have as much fun as I do.  I don't want others to
learn how I did.  I owe it to the sport to fix this
downward spiral (less popularity in the sport, no incentive
for newbies to join, less and less join the sport each
year, etc...).

> A bump and jump board might be a nother solution. But
perhaps we
> must try to move away from that "as small as possible"
> and rather buy bigger bump and jump boards that will
enable us
> to plane in lighter winds.

I will post a note called "the gear" - I've got some
I want a new branch of windsurfing to come into play which
will usher in a new generation of boardriders... picture
this - lite-wind bump and jump.  Okay, stop laughing!  
Whenever I talk to my friends (non-windsurfers), they say
"Wow, you're a windsurfer?  Can you get big air on those
Only once has someone asked me how fast I can go.  All the
rest make references to jumping.  Obviously if beginners
found out that to get the big air, you need to learn to
windsurf, learn to shortboard, then learn B&J skills to
enjoy the B&J fun - how many years does this take?  How
much gear do you have to go through to get to the B&J
level?  It's a large investment, too large for people to go
through with.
What we need is boards designed for big air off small chop
(because all launches have some kind of chop), and because
it takes a while to learn high-wind skills, we need
equipment for lower winds that people can sail in after
only a short time of learning.
I will post clippings of my dream equipment - it's good for
new sailor's ambitions, and although I've been sailing for
three years, it's what I'm looking for right now.

> Because we will loose a lot of young
> windsurfers (and potential friends) by pushing all that
> equipment on them at an early stage, that many of them
will not
> be able to handle. Not all windsurfers are as determined

as us.
Not alot of people want to buy longboards and learn on them
(let's face it, they're not cool, it doesn't matter what
you say).  We need fairly short boards for people to be
able to learn on them.  New instructional boards such as
the Hifly Widestyle will be successful because they're not
so long and bulky (people want gear that looks cool <mainly
because it's small gear> - and instead of saying that these
people shouldn't be windsurfing then, maybe we should cater
to them a bit more and give the sport a chance to grow)
If I had something to fix, it would be that people wouldn't
have to learn on ugly longboards and could learn on gear
that they feel is cool.

> It is NOT NONSENSE!!! But I
> feel that it doesn't apply to us.

Maybe it should apply, though.  I'm not here to try to
change your minds or anything, and I'm not going to tell
you what to do, but closing your eyes on the problem is no
good.  I could give up on the sport's growth problem and
spend more time concentrating on my own sailing, but that's
not me.  I want to do something for the sport.  Let's say
my spirit hasn't been broken yet - I will not give up until
I can rest assured that I did my part for the sport.  I
don't want to be a sailor who turns his back on the people
who are forced to learn the way I did.  I owe it to them
and I owe it to myself to help any way I can.  If you saw a
beginner out alone on a lake not having any fun and was
ready to give up the sport, would you keep on walking or
help them out?

> Speek to your fellow windsurfers, and ask if they feel
the same
> as you. If so, try to do something with it, because you
are the
> ones that have to do anything with it, not everyone

You are my fellow windsurfers.  I don't know anyone else.
I've never met anyone who is involved in the sport I love.
Some nights I get thinking that my dream is useless - noone
shares it and the sport is destined to continue to be just
a fringe sport that only fanatics can enjoy.  I've wanted
to get noticed by a manufacturer willing to build the gear
I have designed in my head, but haven't had much success.
This newsgroup is my only chance for my ideas to be heard,
but I hate the idea it's falling on deaf ears.

the growth

Post by cliv » Sun, 22 Feb 1998 04:00:00

Okay, here's an appetizer of what gear I'm looking for or
if it doesn't exist (I'm pretty sure it doesn't), I want a
chance to design.
The main objective:  Big air off small chop - I want a
board that can do jumps from any ramp (especially small).
I don't have big enough chop to propel me up, only enough
to force the bottom of my board upwards a bit (1-2 feet of
chop).  A board that can do this will allow anyone to
chop-hop at any launch, and people won't be forced to rely
so much on their technique to take them to "new heights".
As for relying on jumping technique totally to get into the
air, with a little research and development, this doesn't
have to be the case... old boards forced people to rely
totally on technique to carve-gybe, but we now know that
doesn't have to be the case - this is a reason why freeride
boards are so popular, isn't it?
If people can learn to jump so much earlier in the learning
curve, it adds so much more appeal to the sport.  Every
non-sailor (about 18 years old or older) I know shows
serious interest in joining the sport once I show them
pictures in a magazine of someone doing nice jumps off
moderate chop.  The most popular pics are of rail graps and
one-footed jumps.  None of the jumps in the pictures used
ramps over 3 feet tall.
When the only stunt pictures magazines had were taken of
guys at Ho'okipa getting huge air and long wave rides,
non-sailors said "Wow, that's cool, that looks dangerous
and so hard to do".  Windsurfing was all about pushing the
limits, and it still has that 'extreme' image.  The only
people who seriously considered the sport were those with
the 'extreme gene' and were out for the 'gnarly' speed and
'mega-air'.  All others (us mere-mortals) were left to sit
on the beach and watch.
Now, a new branch of windsurfing is created - best
described as light-wind bump&jump.  This type of sailing
allows people to go out and test their limits, but these
people are ordinary people, not super-athletes.  The new
image of launching anywhere and being able to get easy air
off any lift appeals to many more people - especially those
of both sexes.  Snowboarding is the perfect example.  Guys
and girls go out to the resort and get easy air (in a group
usually - social appeal).  
Snowboarding will die down soon because the sport is
widening - freecarving, freestyle, freeride, race, powder,
etc.  Newbies must decide which area of the sport to invest
in and then see if they like it.
Windsurfing is the same - we start off on longboards, then
after learning to waterstart, we classify ourselves into a
sailing class (slalom, speed, waves, etc.)  Beginners see
longboarding as a dead end - people leave that aspect to
move on to bigger (or maybe shorter) and better things.
Let's face it, for an outsider, longboarding is not cool -
you can't transport them easily, they're bulky, ugly, won't
get air, slow, etc, etc.  Very few people will buy a
longboard and intend to keep using it - they're just a step
to the next level.  Shortboards are cool and do cool things
- people see them and want to sail/buy them, but right now,
they are forced to learn on a longboard first.  That's
The need is arising for a fairly short board that is
designed mainly to give the best possible air off small
ramps (1-2 foot chop).  This board would represent 90% of
the aspirations of new sailors and be useful for 90% of all
launch sites.
This board would be even more successful if it could
somehow replace the longboard transition.  If beginners
could learn to sail on this board, it would change the face
of the sport.  People would be more interested in joining
because they could learn on equipment that they not only
consider cool, but would use for years to come.
The discipline of light-wind bump&jump has the potential to
become not only the most popular discipline of sailing, but
the most promising for the sport's future as well.


the growth

Post by NLW TFW » Sun, 22 Feb 1998 04:00:00

Clive --
Windsurfing was, and in MANY places, still is a pre***ly social event.
When I saw how often one of our good local sailors went to a lake known for its
lousy wind and cold water, when another lake had MUCH better wind, much bigger
swell, and much warmer air and water, he said, "Because the gang goes there,
and we can order pizza and socialize there."

He's not atypical. Look at the scene most places: aren't there often as many or
more sailors on shore in street clothes as there are on the water? That's sure
common in the Gorge, where it seems to me that at any given moment there are as
many sailors standing around BSing in their swim suits and t-shirts as there
are shredding. If their primary objectie was shredin', they'd be ....
shreddin'. My steamer and harness go on at dawn, and come off at dusk, IF I'm
lucky enough to find wind that good. I get in PLENTY of socializing -- and can
go to the Porta-Poot -- when it's not blowing.

But the social scene can hamper water access. It certainly did in NM in
windsurfing's heyday, and has totally bottlenecked one of the Gorge's best
sites in the past two years. Our local lake used to get parked out, and the
shore totally blocked with gear, before noon. There were far more sailors on
shore than on the water, and I've had to walk on gear some times to launch or
come ashore. Many people bought their gear for show rather than for go. Only
the decline in popularity solved that problem.

And a Gorge spot that was an uncrowded delight to sail just 3 to 4 years ago
has become a "Lookit Me" nightmare. On a good day at Roosevelt and a bad day in
the heart of the Gorge, Roosevelt is now totally parked out (and that takes
probably a hundred cars) early some mornings, and the entire huge lawn is
virtually coated with maybe100+ rigs -- yet there are only 20-30 people out
sailing. They're there to be seen with their gear and party on the nice lawn,
and I'm having to walk on gear again because these people want to show off
their gear and won't keep it out of the narrow launch zone.

Sorry, Clive, but the social aspect of it is hurting access to some great
spots. If a smaller market means I must pay an extra $50 (or $200) for a board
and must wait an extra month (or season) for some technological breakthrough
(like radical no-noses?), that's fine by me. When I get much older yet, or lose
my other inner ear, I'll take up space on the beach. Until then, people, PLEASE
give me room to rig and launch. I'll FIND room on the water, 'cause you're
sitting on shore, but I really hate having to walk across your $700 sail.

And that is most definitely an OPINION.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind


the growth

Post by NLW TFW » Sun, 22 Feb 1998 04:00:00

Re:"Big air off small chop - I want a board that can do jumps from any ramp
(especially small)"

I watched a guy off Tampa jumping over my head (6' of air under his fin) on
absolutely flat water. The biggest rippples were not ankle-bone high. You can
jump a barely planing Equipe just by lifting its windward edge to expose it to
the 12-knot breeze.

Re:"A board that can do this will allow anyone to
chop-hop at any launch, and people won't be forced to rely
so much on their technique "

But it IS mostly technique. Many people can't jump even faced with a 1-meter
ramp until they get their timing and technique down. Wave height and speed and
technique affect HEIGHT dramatically, yet plenty of people can't jump even on a
ramp that would get many others mast high. And landing jumps takes even more
technique. Jumping is more -- probably MUCH more -- technique than equipment. I
had to put rear footstraps on my original 1984 4-meter 240-liter (?) Mistral
Comp because I was starting to jump it, and I have no doubt that Robby or
Elliot could loop it.

Re:"If people can learn to jump so much earlier in the learning
curve, it adds so much more appeal to the sport."

I know MANY sailors and dirt bikers and snowmobilers who can do their thing
quite well -- but would be panic-stricken if they ever got a foot of air. A
friend moved to the Gorge just to sail seven days a week, bought excellent B&J
gear, sailed in 3.5 conditions ... and never got ANY air. He was afraid of it.
But, man, could he carve up the swell faces.

RE:" People would be more interested in joining
because they could learn on equipment that they not only
consider cool, but would use for years to come."

Almost by definition, a board great for learning to sail (in ordinary areas
with ordinary wind) would be a big board -- not well suited to B&J sailing.
Additionally, if there's enough wind to generate the knee-high chop/swell
you're talking about, we're already B&J sailing. That's more or less 5.5
conditions in the absence of ocean waves, and 5.5 can be fine B&J sailing even
on 8-foot boards, let alone the 10' boards you're implying. Throw in a little
current, and a 5.5 on an 8-footer can get a LOT of air. Conversely, if you can
find a bump when under a 7-meter sail on a 9-4 board in 12 knots of wind, it'll
fly LOOOOONG jumps.

i.e., the B&J problem in light air is not gear, but bumps. Given a B and the
technique, ya got the J on almost any gear. Learning to plane HARD and FAST in
the straps can be a bigger challenge for some than jumping, yet must precede
jumping. We've got boards that plane at 6 knots, but what are they going to
jump off of?

There are many contradictory hull shape requirements involved in getting a
board to plane early, hold together, carve nice jibes, ride well in chop, go
fast, track well, leap high, uphaul, etc. Hundreds of combinations have already
been built and sold.

Most boards under 10 feet will jump just fine. The much bigger challenge is
ripping off full-planing jibes -- the single most elusive challenge many I have
talked to have faced in their lives,  tougher for some of us than getting an
engineering degree. And just as there are scores of boards that will damn near
jibe by themselves -- the E-Rock comes to mind -- there are tens of thousands
of sailors trying to learn how to jibe on very tough-to-jibe boards, and
cursing their slow progress.

There's no shortage of shapes and sizes; it's up to the sailors' learning
process at this point. To jump, they must first learn uphauling, planing,
straps, harness, planing FAST, some maneuvering (to catch the ramps), advanced
sail control, timing, flight control (even on a tiny jump), and bladder
control. I can't think of a significant shortcut to all that.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind


the growth

Post by cliv » Sun, 22 Feb 1998 04:00:00

>  I hear you!  I don't like sailing
> alone (though I do it)

I don't really have that much of a problem with it, it's
either sail alone or don't sail at all.  I've gotten lonely
a few times and have even considered just packing it in,
but I know I can't do that.  I would much rather sail with
others, and the more I sail alone, the more I feel myself
becoming dependent on adrenaline rushes to tell me I'm
having fun.  This is changing, though because I have met
some people at the lake and they watch me windsurf, so I
don't feel that alone anymore.

> I
> don't even know what it is I like about windsurfing.  I

really have no idea!
> It's not the adrenaline (though I love sailing on the

edge of survival) and

> it's not the acquisition of skills (though I go out in 4
knots and work on
> tricks all the time)...I just know that there's nothing
I'd rather be doing
> while the sun is up.

Personally Micheal, I think you have a great attitude
towards sailing.  Maybe most people have no idea why they
are out there, but are sure there's nothing better to be
doing.  I think I'm one of them sometimes.  I really don't
know why I'm out there.  Of course, there are reasons - I
want air, I want carves, I want adrenaline, I want to laugh
(for the hell of it, or at myself for that face-plant) but
I can't think of what I solely want from the sport.  It
could be explained by my early thoughts of the sport...
It took a while, but I remembered my first encounter with
It was a great windy day.  I was really young and traveling
on my parent's sailboat.  I was sitting on the deck, when I
noticed tiny, bright sails getting closer.  I knew what
they were, but I had never actually seen windsurfers with
my own eyes before.  They flew by us, a couple hundred feet
ahead of the bow, and a couple of them got air-borne for
just a second or two off some powerboat wake.  I was
amazed.  From that day on, I would always be fascinated
with those sails and hold deep respect for the people
holding onto them.  I guess that's when my ***ion
Ha Ha, cheesy eh?  True though.
What can I say, I found an old clunker in the ba***t the
day we bought our cottage and rigged it up the next
weekend.  Sure I got frustrated (alot), but I stuck with
it, and soon I was hooked... wind-***ed you might say!
Does anyone have a story of how they were hooked?
Everybody must be able to recall the day you knew you'd
never be able to stop!

the growth

Post by Sailu » Sun, 22 Feb 1998 04:00:00

If on a race sail compared to a RAF sail, Won't the race sail be a
handicap?      WHY?



> Jumping is more -- probably MUCH more -- technique than equipment.