Author Topic: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?  (Read 29674 times)

headmount

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2015, 09:24:32 AM »
I don't think that windsurfing is making a comeback...that would mean growth...

It was primarily a baby boomer sport...and, some of that got handed down to their kids...however, most younger people...millennials, Gen-Xers...etc...don't necessarily have the time, money, conditions, or attention span to become accomplished at it...

Windsurfing is still fun and it's a blast when you are in good conditions...wave sailing even more...overhead, side off, down the line...the stuff dreams are made of...but, very elusive...

I still love doing it when it comes to me...and, I rigged up a number of times this year and exercised the boom grippers...but, I don't chase it...like I did for several decades...

I do think that windSUPs have helped to slow the decline...keeping the stoke alive in windsurf participants by expanding the light air sailable range for folks without having to go to kites, or very technical and expensive Formula type boards and rigs...etc...

We've built Hammer windSUP's for clients on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, & West Coast...all for longtime windsurfers who crossover to SUP...not for a newbie or never-ever wanting to get into it...but, IMO a windSUP is a very good teaching tool that could be used to grow the sport again...



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SUP sports nailed it with one word, illusive.  The thing about DW paddling is that it's so consistent, at least here on Maui and then before you know it, there's surf.  Windsurfing had to put surf and wind together which is a tall order and not consistent at all.  Sailing without waves is a snore.

SuppaTime

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2015, 10:14:57 AM »
Sailing without waves is a snore.

+1 to that!

And wave sailing wind swell is just not the same as a ground swell.
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covesurfer

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2015, 10:31:19 AM »
We used to call the cruising days in HR 'mowing the lawn', back and forth, back and forth (cruising in the Gorge is a 4.5 or bigger sail day, ripping in most places, ho hum there). When it gets windier, the swell starts to get a LOT more fun, even in the Gorge.

I wouldn't have even thought of going yesterday but I had to get on the water and without a shuttle, sailing was a nice change. It's interesting to observe the water characteristics, even on a day that was practically flat, as you cross the different parts of the reef. The reef at Kanaha does some really bizzaro things to the water. The 'weird wave' was jacking up to maybe a 4 foot face when it broke so it was a very mellow day. But the whole surface would change as soon as you made it out the pass in the reef between the wave and where we surf. Pretty cool. Just checking out the weird wave is pretty interesting. The ocean is a mystery to me.

Even trying to go windsurf casually requires the right gear and the overlap for changing conditions is still small. You have to have a car full of stuff and be willing and able to read the conditions and make changes to your gear, sometimes multiple times in even a short window. I find that extremely frustrating. There was a time when I didn't but it that was long before downwind paddling was an actual sport.

With paddling downwind, you take your board, paddle and leash and you go. Sometimes it's epic and sometimes it's work but you get a great workout and you aren't fiddling with gear for your entire session. Same with sup surfing.

I don't know what was going on back in the 80's and early 90's when windsurfing was at it's peak but I remember building my life around it. I used to sail so hard that I was glad when Monday came and I could recuperate at work. It's hard to imagine all that energy and stoke for what was then a relatively new sport that was quickly evolving ever happening again. I don't think it will ever die but I don't think w/s will ever see growth again.

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2015, 10:46:20 AM »
Yeah...both illusive and elusive...;-)
One of the problems with WS is that once you get a taste of world class conditions, everything else kinda pales in comparison...
Not sailing regularly makes it more difficult to keep your boom grippers in condition for sailing unhooked on the wave face when wave and wind conditions do combine...and, you don't want rusty skill sets for when one of those truly epic days comes along...so visualizing epic conditions makes it easier to do a little BAFing (back & forthing) now and again...;-)
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covesurfer

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2015, 11:20:48 AM »
Looks like big gnarly Jalama.

I like that, 'boom grippers'.  I was so damn rusty after 2 years without sailing that I only hit 30% of my jibes. Although, as my session went on, I was starting to get the feel of the board I was riding and my jibes began to improve but they were still PATHETIC. I wouldn't even think of wave sailing until I was feeling strong and solid again. And yeah, it's a good feeling when the boom grippers can handle extended unhooked periods. Otherwise it's a no-go.

Thanks for those awesome pics, you got some serious skillz!

Mil-Surf

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2015, 11:34:08 AM »
My van still looks like this on a regular basis. The key to windsurfing is keeping it simple. I load up one board and a couple of sails and I'm off. Being elusive hadn't slowed me down, in fact the chase is half the fun. I like checking all my weather sites over and over, checking beach cams and as soon as I can im off to the beach. Windsurf when it's windy, surf when it's not. Got the kids up a few times this summer and there was tons of interest on the beach, maybe a good sign.
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laszlo

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2015, 11:38:37 AM »
Unfortunately my experience yesterday illustrates why windsurfing is not as attractive as it once was to me, and many other former addicts. I just returned to Santa Monica from my summer home in the Gorge a few days ago, and have been jonesing to get into the water, especially since it is supposed to be so much warmer than usual due to El Nino. I loaded my van with all the necessary gear for windsurf or SUP (not downwind, since those conditions are not available locally, neither are there any shuttle partners). My first choice would have been to surf one of my SUP boards, but surf was not great in north LA. I drove to Secos, then County Line to check it out (about an hour drive up PCH from my house). Sure enough, it was kind of windy, and County even had it's typical grinding beach break, and there were two windsurfers and many more kiters already out! I saw several of my old windsurf buddies on the beach and we started rigging up. By the time I finished rigging (it always takes longer after I haven't done it for a while, I don't remember which extension goes with which sail and mast, what the settings are, etc.) the wind appeared to be dying! The last thing I want is to go out at County, underpowered, and get worked in the shore pound. I de-rigged without ever going out, and drove back to Secos. In the meantime, several of my friends had gone sailing there, but since the wind direction caused a huge wind shadow on the inside,  they all stayed way outside, just mowing the lawn. And there was no assurance that it wouldn't shut down by the time I got rigged again. I chose not to bother re-rigging under those condions, and wound up driving home without ever getting wet.

On the other hand, places where the wind is strong and dependable (the Gorge) are still fun to sail, and I still go out at the Hatchery or Doug's when the mood strikes me.

starman

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2015, 11:46:23 AM »
Sounds like a glass half full or empty conversation.
Anyway from where I sit I'm seeing signs of a comeback of sorts. Examples like being in Hood River this summer and needing a paddle. Went over to Big Winds and my wife was working with a young teen from Colorado working there for the summer. She asked her if kiting was her sport. Nope, she was into freestyle windsurfing. Friends in SF send some video of what the kids did this summer. Windsurfing was part of the summer fun. Thirty something friend who we paddle with wants to learn how to windsurf. A friend of ours recently dusted off his harness and joined the AWT this year. He has a very good chance of winning his division. He couldn't be happier. Oh, and all the young SUP stars on Maui, they all windsurf. Lots of young kids doing some unbelievable freestyle moves who are transforming the sport. Yea and there are more then a few blue hair's out there still windsurfing. But they sure as shit would not be doing it if they weren't still having fun. And there are more then a few former windsurfers who switched to kiting who are switching back. There are still plenty of places to buy and rent windsurfing gear and the SUP production companies who also sell windsurfing boards still have plenty of offerings of SUP boards with mast attachments.

Certainly it's true that it requires the conditions to be ripe but that holds true for surfing and downwinding. (Maui is unique and almost can't be used as an example.) I need the diversity if I want to have any fun on the water where I live. So I match the gear to the conditions. That's why I love SUP and windsurfing. Waves or no waves, wind or no wind. Wind direction, swell direction it just doesn't matter. Between my SUP and windsurfing gear I have something to get my "glide" on any given day.

I think the comeback is there you just have to look a little closer to see it.

Oh, and if you take forever to rig try marking all your gear. I have a friend who can rig and be on the water before I get out of the car. Todays sails and RDM masts make rigging a 5 min job but only if you have your booms and extensions marked for each sail.

DW

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2015, 02:36:49 PM »
One possible comeback path could be what brought me back to windsurfing.

I dropped windsurfing stone cold in 1999 for kiting. I kited so much, for so long, I finally got bored with it. Kiting to me, is mowing the lawn. You can only jump and spin so many times, before it turns boring. Kiting with a surfboard even started to feel like lame surfing.

When I came back to windsurfing, the stoke for it returned to 1980s level.

Maybe in a few more years, the early kiters will get bored.

nalu-sup

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2015, 05:06:34 PM »
I think that from both a growth and decline point of few, windsurfing has leveled out nicely. It has lost the novelty appeal that attracted the masses, and now just has the core who love the wind and waves. Like skiing and snowboarding, initially there was a cross of windsurfer/skiers to kiting/snowboarding, but both those trends have leveled out with a few crossovers going back and forth.
If windsurfing were dead, I sure wish someone would have told the 50 sailors that I counted sharing the Lower Kanaha wave with me the other day ::)
I think that there is no question that the sport has become more limited in terms of where people will maintain an interest in it. I don't think that there is as much windsurfing in light wind areas anymore, but then there is not much snow skiing in Kansas either. The gear has always been an issue, but less now today than it used to be. In fact I just got a new 76 liter waveboard last week that planes quicker than my old 84 liter, is faster than my old slalom board, and rips on the waves. In fact, I have to stop typing right now so I can hurry down to the beach to get back out on it. The stoke still lives for many of us.
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surf4food

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2015, 05:16:16 PM »
Interestingly, Illinois has an active scene.    http://www.windsurfillinois.com/

covesurfer

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2015, 05:51:47 PM »
Starman, as for all the blue hairs enjoying windsurfing, I was really impressed. I've noticed this at Kanaha before when I've sailed there but there are quite a few people in their 70's out there shredding. It is awesome!

I just replaced my mast base tendons and my harness lines this morning after realizing how tired my gear is looking.  My old F2 Maui Wave Project is 8'5"/84 liters (I think) but I really want to try something newer. I only bought this board to have something for days that required bigger sails in the Gorge and I haven't sailed it more than a few times (I've had it at least 8 or 9 years, bought used in Hood River). I never could jibe it well and I could shred jibes on my little 7'8" glass Cascade. I think the board may be one reason I'm not so stoked about sailing. Trouble is, I have no idea what to get for a good all rounder that would handle 4.2 to 5.7 sail sizes. I'm sure with some research, I can get some ideas.

I had a blast going out yesterday and want to go again, it's time to get that old sailing gear wet on a more regular basis. That said, I don't think there is much danger of windsurfing competing with downwind paddling much for me. But I'm still going to try and resurrect my interest in it anyway.

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2015, 07:02:53 PM »
SUP sailing is way more fun for me than performance windsurfing.

And yes, all the young SUP guns in Maui are superb windsurfers, likewise the Gorge. Fiona Wylde is an amazing windsurfer, which you might expect since she's been windsurfing in the world's best conditions since she was conceived. I don't think we get to count Maui and Hood River though as being indicative of a trend. The two primary bucket list spots for every windsurfer on earth are probably not representative.
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Ichabod Spoonbill

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2015, 07:05:22 PM »
The Hudson crowd of windsurfers is very loyal to their sport. On the other hand, they seem to be getting grayer.
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jpeter

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Re: Do you think Windsurfing is making a comeback?
« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2015, 06:36:39 AM »
Yesterday I took my mother to lunch to at the Hyannis Yacht Club on Cape Cod Cod. After lunch walking to the car I said "it seems pretty windy I wonder if anyone is Windsurfing at Kalmus Beach" which is  just down the road.  Kalmus is Cape Cod's most popular windsurfing spot and in the late nineties I spent some time windsurfing there and was an avid, avid windsurfer angling 24/7 to get it when it was good. At Kalmus the wind swell all the way across the bay off Great Island can get truly amazing and is an overall fun bump and jump destination.

Sure enough we pull into the Kalmus lot and there are several cars and trucks with gear and the conditions are solid 4.7 or better. I left my mom in the car and my dog Gus and I got out for a look. There were only 5 guys out and maybe 4 in the lot. It was sunny, warm and the sunshine was dancing on the water. Perfect.

I did not miss it. For me Windsurfing was lonely. I had parking lot friends and I was so driven to get out on the water and find the best wind and swell I forgot to build a community around it. When it all comes together Windsurfing was the best thing athletically and spiritually I have ever done but it was to fleeting. 

15 years ago on a day like yesterday at Kalmus in mid October with 30mph winds, 60 degree temps and blue sky there would would have been 30 to 50 people there. Yesterday there were 8 to 10. I don't think Windsurfing is making a comeback.

Good to hear you Marta,  I remember sailing with you in cape cod bay maybe a year after you started (takes most folks years to get there).  Too bad you quit,  you had a lot of talent.

I end up sailing alone a fair amount,  but there is a solid crew in RI and on the Cape that will show up at the right beach when conditions are lined up.  I use the Sealion on many days,  that has saved the sport for me, so get out in the waves quite a bit with Kiters and Sup's.   I love the paddle surf,  but when the wind hits 10-15 I would rather sail if the direction is good.

  Windsup has the potential to cause some resurgence,  Having a simple kit where you can sail or paddle is great.   Being able to take a day off when there are waves forecast,  wind or not,  is guaranteed fun.   No standing around on the beach complaining about lack of wind or too much wind.

Two days ago was windy so still stoked (see the pic).   We had 3 windsurfers out at any given time span,  Total kiters vs windsurfers for the day was about tied.

To answer the original question, I think windsurfing decline is stopped and now on a plateau. 

Jay

 


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