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arrogantj's picture

Brushing Off the ol' Quill Pen

It's been a while since I've commented on the subject of windsurfing but it seems time to bring the quill pen out of retirement and let the ink flow where it must. I think the motivation may have been an article I saw on line about a windsurfing regatta in NY (topic for future article) or that Randy has upped the ante for humor around here.

Some thoughts about the current state of windsurfing have been swirling about my head: mainly, that the sport isn't shuffling off this mortal coil. It's evolving and changing, and much like many things in our contemporary culture, a lot of the change is coming from abroad. For example, if you are into rock music and haven't been keeping up with what's been coming out of Scandanavia for the last 10 years, you've missed a lot. Or, dubstep (if you are into more of a house sound) coming out of England.

Gone are the days when almost all the best windsurfers in the world all lived in Maui and grew up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance (post '54 version - I'm throwing a lot of stuff out here, ya gotta keep up). Brazil, Bonaire, the Red Sea, the Mediterreanean, Australia, Thailand, Poland, France, South Africa are as much of the scene as Hawaii. That's not a bad thing. But it makes it easier for us to overlook or miss where a lot of the change is happening.

Certainly, the advent of kiting diluted the pool of people interested in wind-powered watersports. However, the predictions that "windsurfing is cancelled" failed to materialize. Formula racing helped spur the development of better light air equipment and substantially lowered the amount of wind needed for planing. Also, the limitations of kiting - the requirements of open launches, steady breezes and low traffic - meant that for a lot of places, windsurfing was the easier way to get on the water. As it turned out, it never became an us vs. them thing and it shouldn't be.

Windsurfing is still 'here', as much as ever. But the definition of 'here' has expanded just as much as the definition of windsurfing has over the years from the original Windsurfer to a quiver that has a long board, Formula board, wide-style, freestyle, freeride, wave and SUP.

More, later.

--- The Arrogant Jerk: Crabby and irritable since 1998.

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