What Windsurfing needs? by Matt Pritchard

Ecco un articolo di Matt Pritchard, uno dei piu' grandi e polivelenti windsurfisti al mondo, anche uno dei piu' semplici e capaci di comunicare emozioni, e non sempre e' facile trovare in una persona entrambi gli aspetti.
Un articolo – rigorosamente in inglese – che forse scomodera' molti, sia gli amanti del wave e basta, sia quelli del racing. Ma che forse dice la verita' e basta…

We have all heard the talk. Windsurfing needs this, windsurfing needs that and so on. I'm getting tired of hearing it. I don't know if there is one particular answer for what windsurfing really needs. I think the biggest thing windsurfing needs is to wake up! Real windsurfers go windsurfing. That's the bottom line. Sure, we need to attract more people to windsurfing. We need kids and moms, like every other sport. My brother says use beautiful women in seductive magazine ads, and let them do some magic. Will that really happen? Most likely not, because it makes the few women who are already involved unhappy, and rightly so.

How about Formula racing? Is that going to bring more people into windsurfing? I think it certainly helps, because of the three sails and one board deal. I don't think that Formula racing caters to everybody. I think there are a lot of people who can benefit from buying Formula gear in order to get out on the water when the wind is light. Being able to plane around is exciting, even if it is blowing only ten knots.

On the other side of the fence is wave sailing. How many people get to go wave sailing on any given weekend? Your chances of finding 18-22 knots with good waves on a Saturday morning, are slim at best. Not to be super negative, this is the reality. Yes, wave sailing is probably the most exciting aspect of the sport, and has the best chance of getting mainstream media attracted to the sport, but it isn't something that everybody can touch.

Freestyle sailing is almost catching on. Flat water, light wind conditions, largely prevail over the entire world. This is a game that many people can play. New concepts like the light weight, four batten Echo, bring performance to almost every wind strength. The hardest part is learning the moves. Time on the water and not being afraid to fall in, are the key. Some people are afraid of hurting themselves, and that is a factor. Not everybody has the rubber bones of a fifteen year old.

Windsurfers need to find the right gear for where they sail. They often need help to know what that is. I'd love to travel the country hitting all the spots, so I could tell everybody what they need to use.

The bottom line? To have a good time windsurfing, you need to have equipment that is large enough to manage the conditions. Don't be afraid to go big. A good 10.5 meter sail, like the GTX, is light, and powerful, and will have you planing on days when you might never have considered going out. I know Formula boards look big and intimidating, but they can make windsurfing fun and easy. There are also a lot of freeride boards that are big enough, but are more forgiving than a Formula board, with the same amount of float and fun. Newer Freestyle boards are getting easier to sail as they get wider. Even if you don't care about doing a willy flaka skipper grubby (my new move), you can still improve your sailing performance when the wind is fifteen knots.

My advice about what windsurfing needs? That's easy… more wind. But if lacking that, an upgrade to larger sails and boards with more volume will do wonders. You'll be surprised at what you can do in eight knots. Enjoy life out on the water. If you have any question about what gear to get for where you live, send me a note on the Gaastra forum (www.gaastra.com, n.d.r.)

See you on the water.

Matt Pritchard, US10

(tratto da www.gaastra.com, Nico)

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