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The Future of the Sport?

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foilholio
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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby foilholio » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:50 pm

I came to see the Pansh logo next to the Core logo. :lol:

vela99
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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby vela99 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:54 pm

TomW wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:06 pm
Flyboy wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:01 pm
TomW wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:53 pm
I think the windsurfing comparison isn't the same. Windsurfing got more and more wave oriented, narrowing the places and conditions needed to do it. Racing does the same thing due to the organisation needed.
Kitesurfing can be done in a lot more places and a lot more conditions.

Agree on the teaching aspect being key to growth. Here there is a local dealer teaching foiling in the wake Park and he's been successful converting those kiters to foiling, whereby I believe that the learners would not have taken the step using a kite.
I don't think it got more wave oriented necessarily, slalom remained a big focus of the sport through the '80's & '90's ... but it certainly got more high wind oriented which narrowed the opportunities for most people to do it on a regular basis. But I don't think kiting has ever had the popular participation that windsurfing had in the first half of the '80's. Kiting can certainly done in lower wind conditions, but access remains a big problem in many areas. Much easier just to plop your windsurfer in the water & sail off, even if it's fairly crowded on the shore.
Yea, you're right about slalom, that's what I meant about drag racing. Freestyle never caught on here.

I was windsurfing in Sweden during the boom. 1984-1992. I Never saw the number of windsurfers compared to kiters I see out on a 18-20 knot day these days.

I might add that the Internet has completely changed the social aspect too.

I believe that material became very technical in the late 80s and early 90s and this created big harm to the sport which moved the entry barrier even higher and was frustrating the intermediate windsurfer to progress. Let me be more specific:

Slalom - narrow & long boards with sharp rails and a very flat bottom line resulting in unstable boards very hard to jibe and optimal in a very narrow wind range. Heavy & expensive race sails with up to 7 cambers with less than optimal handling good for top speed at the limit and bad for getting on a plane.

Freeride - much influenced by the above.

Wave - orientated on Hookipa conditions with radical skoop rocker lines, very narrow and no nose. Guttless wavesails 100% neutral for cutbacks but not so good in suboptimal conditions.

Freewave - much influenced by the above.

Of course you may argue that there were programs which were more forgiving, less technical and more suited for many windsurfers but I believe these were the drivers which somehow made it into all the categories.

Fortunately since a few years gear has a wider range of use. Just an opinion.

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby Greenturtle » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:01 pm

There are some new factors these days that weren’t really there during the windsurfing story- such as people being addicted to screens, especially youth, that could contribute to a decline in physical activity generally in this modern era.
At the same time, the screens give broad access to information about the sport, and could in that way disseminate interest in trying it, or interest in learning new techniques or styles, or interest in equipment development or changes etc etc.

So the Internet, and peoples resulting screen addictions could work in both ways, for and against growth of Kiteboarding.

Another huge factor in my eyes, is the availability of used, but modern design gear. Theres tons of great stuff now, cheap. A few hundred bucks and youve got an awesome kite in your hands, same shape and performance as the new ones. So that’s really friendly to newbs and veterans alike.
Whereas not that long ago, the majority of used gear were scary c kites and sketchy safety systems.

So what this will do to the industry, we’ll see. One would think it would drive prices of new gear way down in order to stay attractive compared to the used deals on the same stuff...

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby Flyboy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:26 pm

vela99 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:54 pm

I believe that material became very technical in the late 80s and early 90s and this created big harm to the sport which moved the entry barrier even higher and was frustrating the intermediate windsurfer to progress. Let me be more specific:

Slalom - narrow & long boards with sharp rails and a very flat bottom line resulting in unstable boards very hard to jibe and optimal in a very narrow wind range. Heavy & expensive race sails with up to 7 cambers with less than optimal handling good for top speed at the limit and bad for getting on a plane.
It's true that in the late 80's & early 90's the "no-nose" board dominated design. They were fast, but very difficult boards to jibe & control in choppy conditions. I haven't paid much attention to windsurf design over the last few years, but it seems like the boards are much more user friendly now. The equivalent in kitesurfing may have been the phase from around 2005 - 2010 where TTs became very small requiring a lot of kite power to get planning.
Greenturtle wrote:
Another huge factor in my eyes, is the availability of used, but modern design gear. Theres tons of great stuff now, cheap. A few hundred bucks and youve got an awesome kite in your hands, same shape and performance as the new ones. So that’s really friendly to newbs and veterans alike.
Whereas not that long ago, the majority of used gear were scary c kites and sketchy safety systems.

So what this will do to the industry, we’ll see. One would think it would drive prices of new gear way down in order to stay attractive compared to the used deals on the same stuff...
It's certainly true that kite gear is much easier to ship than windsurfing gear, so it's easier to buy used equipment on the internet. I'm not sure I see cheap used gear pushing new prices down much though - there always seem to be people willing to "upgrade" their gear every year!

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby Jackie Treehorn » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:43 pm

If the argument is that windsurfing died because the equipment got too specialised, then the exact opposite is happening with kitesurfing. Early kites were very niche and not particularly user friendly. Nowadays Almost every company makes a user friendly all- round kite that still delivers decent performance (eg enduro). These styles of kites have progressed massively over the past 5 or 6 years and would easily suit the needs of 70 odd percent of riders.

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby Faxie » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:46 pm

Toby wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:38 pm
she talks about more specific gear...the better the riders get the more specific they need the gear...I know from me...give me a wave kite and I cannot do anything....more or less.

Sure, for average Joe it all works...so really a hard call for the companies to decide what to go for.

Maybe they should have one kite in their line up, that is THE allrounder...like Best with its Waroo back then...they sold so many of them...since it was good for the majority...and the other kites were more specific.

Back then things were easier...now one gets confused...

Core was easy also back then...2 models...now 5. More complicated.

Like I said, it is not easy, since a company wants kites for all different needs...but maybe they have more success with one kite for all...

What do you guys think? Maybe someone here who went thru this before with windsurfing?

An interesting topic for sure!
Funny... IMO it's just the other way around... the better someone gets, the less specific they need their gear. Because with skill, you can make something work in conditions it wasn't initially intended for.

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby Flyboy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:21 pm

Jackie Treehorn wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:43 pm
If the argument is that windsurfing died because the equipment got too specialised, then the exact opposite is happening with kitesurfing. Early kites were very niche and not particularly user friendly. Nowadays Almost every company makes a user friendly all- round kite that still delivers decent performance (eg enduro). These styles of kites have progressed massively over the past 5 or 6 years and would easily suit the needs of 70 odd percent of riders.
I don't think windsurfing died because the equipment got too specialized ... it's just that high performance windsurfing is hard & most people weren't able or willing to make the effort to master it. It's possible that the presence of high performance windsurfing made regular puttering around on a big windsurf board somehow less sexy & appealing though.

I wouldn't say early kites, 1999 - 2006, were "niche" - they were what they were, limited by the expertise available at the time. When experimentation led to improvements kites got much more user friendly. Once bow kites came along the sport was way less intimidating & challenging. Kites are now pretty "niche" - wave, freestyle, foiling, boost, light-wind & a variety of foil designs ... but one of those niches is free-ride - which as you say suit the needs of 70 odd percent of riders.

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby grigorib » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:17 pm

It's amazing what windsurfing gave to all the guys who rode. Everything that has a beginning has an end. Let it rest in peace and let's enjoy this sport until something better emerges.

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby jkrug » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:33 pm

it seems silly to suggest that any sport dies out because some take it to the extreme, leaving those that don't in 'uncool' land. for example, mountain biking can be extreme, or it can be pretty tame...it's just what you want to do. Neither path destroys the other. do people really participate in sports just to be cool? if that were so, i don't think anyone would have ever started windsurfing or SUPing...both notoriously uncool.

seems pretty obvious that windsurfing really started to phase out merely due to the advent of kiting...nothing more or less. will kiting die due to the next big thing? who knows? but history suggests kiting may well have the same fate as windsurfing.

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Re: The Future of the Sport?

Postby andikite » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:04 pm

This is the current kitesurfer life...

"He said: Kitesurfing is more fun, cheaper and much easier to travel..." :lol:
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