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What happened to windsurfing?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
From the National Sporting Good Association newsletter:


Rink roller skating attracted 8.2 million participants in 2003, and windsurfing attracted 314,000 participants, the highest and lowest among 19 new sports surveyed by NSGA.

In conjunction with Irwin Broh & Associates, NSGA has launched a new participation survey of sports with lower levels of participation, “Sports Participation in 2003 – Series III.” Using a 40,000 household (HH) sampling versus the 10,000 HH sampling in other NSGA participation studies, this survey provides a more reliable picture of participants in these sports.

The other 17 activities included in the survey are: badminton (4.7 million), croquet (4.4 million), horseshoe pitching (6.7 million), table tennis (7.8 million), boxing (700,000), fencing (400,000), racquetball (2.5 million), roller hockey (1.0 million), scuba diving (open water) (2.0 million), snorkeling (6.4 million), snowmobiling (3.1 million), snowshoeing (1.4 million), mountain/rock climbing (3.3 million), wakeboarding (1.4 million), surfboarding (1.2 million), wrestling (1.5 million), and Pilates (4.9 million).
post #2 of 24
I think people just got disgusted.
post #3 of 24
From my perspective as one who used to own a windsurfer but hasn't been on one in many years. It quickly got very; 1) expensive, constant equipment changes, need for multiple booms, sails, harness, wetsuit....., 2) need a vehicle set up to haul all the crap around; 2) not that many places that are really that appropriate to do it; 3) need just the right conditions, windy but not too windy, warm enough, ....4) Not a particularly social sport as you can't really talk while you're out there, one persons perfect wind is the partners no sail hurricane.

The people I know still involved with it are really hard core and travelling to the Gorge, Mexico, Brazil and Dom Rep on a regular basis to pursue their sport.

That sort of the nature of the sport as it evolved. On the other hand ski operators should look at that and think about how expensive and how exclusive they are making the sport and consider the long term impact of it for them. Not a long stretch to see skiing go down a similar path to some degree.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
I went by the Gorge last month and saw few windsurfers and many kite-surfers (or whatever the sport is called). I too have a couple of boards, a quiver of sails, wetsuit and drysuit gathering dust in my garage, but I enjoyed the sport for many years. My last outing was a series of high wind lessons on Maui--conditions just couldn't be duplicated in Montana, where the air is so thin and the water is so cold and the mountains make winds go in a circle.
post #5 of 24
nolo -

I was near your place in the Shield River Valley yesterday. Conditions were perfect for windsurfing with a constant 30-40 MPH wind. All you need to do is build yourself a lake.

My son was with me. He had been living in Hood River the past year. He said kitesurfing has replaced windsurfing because of the amount of air you can get and the tricks you can do.
post #6 of 24
My friends still at it are mostly kitesurfing as well. I'm guessing that those stats just lump the two in together. That's my assumption at least.
From what these guys tell me Hood is still quite a scene with lots going on out there. Maybe you saw a bad day. Maybe they're exagerating in an effort to keep alive a dieing sport.
post #7 of 24
I love windsurfing.
It's wicked rewarding to rip that flawless jibe or find some big air. It just sucks that we are all held hostage by the wind. I remember back in 83' on my Windsurfer Classic, going sailing just to go, wind or not. Then I found shortboarding and really began to work on my tan.
Isn't it amazing what one can be willing to settle for? If I have two rippin' days a year it can actually tide me over. Pathetic but true. Having two children has effectively sidelined this activity. I don't mean to be a dick or sound like a bad dad, but it really does suck. Any of you out there in the same boat? You know what I mean.
post #8 of 24
I used to sail a lot when I was single. Then I had kids and time became much more scarce. I still get a couple of days a year, but nothing like I used too.
post #9 of 24
I thought about taking up windsurfing a few years back. I went to a local lake that has a dedicated windsurf launch and talked to the people involved. It was a rather calm day so few were able to do much except cruise slowly. After computing expense and the fact that this is yet another weather dependant sport I decided not to pursue.
post #10 of 24
I also was pretty into windsurfing for while and am not any more. I had three boards, five sails and a bunch of hardware. The big factor was time. I live 1.5 hours from the beach. When I had nothing to do on weekends, I'd drive down, read the paper, and if there was wind, sail. In most of New England, it's pretty good til early June then it goes dead (except for fronts/storms) until fall. Second factor is keeping up with equipment. You need a decent wetsuit or preferrable a dry suit to get any kind of season up here. That stuff wears out and then you wonder if it's worth the $$$ to replace it.

With a wife and kid now, I don't even have time for a round of golf.

I think most people drop skiing in the late 20s or 30s for the same to reason unless it becomes your chosen family sport. My wife skis, I'm teaching the kid. That sport will stay.
post #11 of 24

Still windsurfing

I live in Maui so I still windsurf, However, not nearly as frequent as I did pre kids, mortgage, etc. It's tough enough here where we have consistent conditions. I've wondered how anyone stays with the sport with less than ideal conditions.
post #12 of 24
Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, aaannnd, ditto.

When I was in college, I lived at the beach (OC Maryland), and ran a couple of windsurfer and catamaran rentals on the bay side. It was great. When the wind would pick up, we'd have to shut down the rental (too windy for customers), so we'd rig up our boards and sail. If it was blowing straight out of the north or south, we'd head across the highway and sail in the ocean.

Then I stopped living at the beach during the summers. Then I got married. Then I had a kid.

The last time I was on one of my boards was the day after hurricane Fran in Hatteras, NC. Great day. But that was what???? 5-6 years ago?

For all I know, I could pull a sail out of its bag and it would fall into pieces on the floor because of decay.

No doubt I miss it, but I'm too far from the water, and it never blows hard enough when I happen to have a day available. And even when it does blow, there were a lot of times when it would blow staright out of the East or West, so we couldn't sail.

Anyone want to buy a whole lot of used equipment from the late 80s? Cheap!

I had really started to not like summers, but luckily I found mountain bikes in the mid 90s. It's a hell of a lot more convenient, and still quite a bit cheaper.
post #13 of 24
ditto for me (see me above). I went to MTB as there's 400 or so acres with nice trails within a 5 minute drive of my house plus about a dozen parks and reservations within 1/2 hour or so drive. Then I went and broke my leg in three places MTBing (and ending up missing the best eastcoast ski season in ten year). So now I don't MTB. Started rollerblading this year. All I've done so far is dislocate one finger. I'm gittin' too ol' for new sports I think.
post #14 of 24
I used to windsurf too; started back in the early '80's and stopped in the early '90's House and kid curtailed sailing time and dollars for gear. After not using my rig for over 3-years I donated it to a local church tag sale. The only time I windsurf now is on the occasional tropical vacation. About half of my old windsurfing buddies are still into it.
post #15 of 24
Nolo, heard of Duck Lake?
post #16 of 24
From one self absorbed sports-junkie parent to another: hang in there and pay your diaper changing dues. One upside to fatherhood is that if you've raised 'em right, from about age 10 and on the kids will become your best ski/board buds, and that is particularly nice as a number of your aging contemporaries will be dropping out of the sport at about that time.
post #17 of 24
Originally Posted by JohnH
Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, aaannnd, ditto.

When I was in college, I lived at the beach (OC Maryland), and ran a couple of windsurfer and catamaran rentals on the bay side
I have a house in Bethany and sail my Hobie in the Rehobeth Bay.Where did you work?
post #18 of 24
Originally Posted by mrw
I have a house in Bethany and sail my Hobie in the Rehobeth Bay.Where did you work?
I set up the rental facility in Dewey, owned by Sailing Etc. I raked the beach for 3 weeks straight to get all the glass and trash out, put in the storage shed, brought all the Prindles and boards, and got the place up and running.

Then I did the same for the 47th street facility in OC. I also worked for a short time at the 49th street facility, and filled in once in a while at the 33rd street facility. I don't think the 33rd street one has been there in a number of years, and as I recall, the 47th or 49th street one may be gone as well. Peck Miller, who owns (owned?) Sailing Etc owned the rental facilities. He also sublet some space for Jet Ski rentals. We got to use the jet skis for about a half hour every evening, which was a blast. I got pretty good doing tricks on them. They only had the stand-up type back then. None of this wussy sitting on your arse and pull the trigger stuff.

I worked there during the summers of 86 and 87. I got my Assoc Cert (Level 2) and graduated college in 88 and moved out to Frisco CO, and taught skiing at Breck, before moving back home, getting a job and getting married.

I think that's pretty much my whole life story. The part that matters anyway.
post #19 of 24
wow... 314.000 in 2003. where are all these people? Not around where i live, Tidewater/OBX, and that's one of the hotspots in the county, so there should be a decent chunk, at least 1000! Man, I could mae a living as instructor for all the newbees and intermediate's and wouldn't have to slave away in IT. Or perhaps I should go into making studies LOL
post #20 of 24
I stopped bringing my gear on summer vacation 2 years ago after bringing my gear and not using it 2 years in a row. I used to subscribe to a wind service telling speed and direction at my favorite spots. I noticed 2 weeks ago at West Dennis, Cape Cod there were hardly any boarders there. It was blowing pretty good from the SW.

I'm waiting for my children to get to be better swimmers and I'll start showing them how to sailboard.

These guys can rip on skis. 13 yo daughter and 9 yo son. We go everywhere on the hill at home. It was great showing them off on ski vacation last winter in Summit Co. My ski buds will soon be my sailing buds too. Then they won't want to hang with me at all...

post #21 of 24
Would have been 313,999 if I hadn't learned to windsurf last summer.
post #22 of 24
Originally Posted by JohnH
I think that's pretty much my whole life story. The part that matters anyway.
I have had my place there for 5 years. There is a huge building boom going on.Soon, every square inch will have a house/townhouse or condo on it. Last fall, there were deer behind the Grotto Pizza on RT 26 in Bethany.Now, there are houses. Ocean View has approved something like 750 new houses. I miss the old wide open spaces.
post #23 of 24
I windsurf (wave) half of the year and ski the other half.
Windsurfing is a lot more difficult no doubt but for me is the most hardcore, rewarding and fun sport ever (I play football, surf, tennis, snowboard a lot, etc).
The less the better, more waves for me.
It helps a lot if you learn before your 18th birthday.
post #24 of 24
I saw video on the news last night of John Kerry windsurfing. This past spring he was photographed backcountry snowboarding near his place at Sun Valley. I know he's a good skier too. Maybe I'm just jealous, but I'm beginning to wonder how he found the time to gain all the athletic skills he's got while serving as a long time US Senator?
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