Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Death of Windsurfing (Magazine)

This is old news now, but apparently Windsurfing Magazine has published it's last issue, ever. There is a long discussion about this sad ending in the iwindsurf forum. For my part, I'm bummed. I had enjoyed reading and learning from the mag since getting seriously hooked on the sport in 2003. It was more or less the only thing I looked forward to finding in my mailbox. I especially liked the magazine's technical advice and gear tests. I was such a glutton for windsurfing info that I actually read through a two-foot-high stack of back-issues just to see what I'd missed before I started subscribing! One can still find plenty of windsurfing information and entertainment on the Internet, but it's widely scattered among blogs, manufacturers' websites, and opinion forums, and it's just not the same as what you'd get in the magazine.

"Eh, sonny, I remember back when windsurfing had a magazine, made out of PAPER, back when we still had TREES! cough cough..."

Besides the loss of the magazine itself being a bummer, there's a concern that the event might be associated in some way with a serious decline in the sport of windsurfing. It's well known that windsurfing went through an enormous drop in popularity after it's 1980's heyday, but the general wisdom is that the number of windsurfers has since stabilized at a lower level. We can't blame kiteboarding, either, because the big corporate parent of Windsurfing Magazine just cancelled Kiteboarding Magazine, as well. The best explanation I've heard so far is that magazine readership in general is down, so the big publishers are getting rid of all their small market mags to economize. Dang. A decline in windsurfing might not have caused the loss of the mag, but worryingly, the reverse might happen now that there's not a regular magazine keeping coffee tables warm and sailors stoked. More than ever our sport is going to depend on grass-roots community kind of stuff to keep it alive. Here's what I'm going to do:

1. Keep a steadily unsteady flow of windsurfing-related material coming out at James' Blog.
2. Start subscribing to the "other" North American windsurfing magazine: Canada's "Windsport"
3. Appreciate the tiny "New England Windsurfing Journal" a lot more
4. Ask and answer windsurfing questions on the iwindsurf forums
5. Teach at least one new person to windsurf this year
6. Let folks know that even though windsurfing isn't as popular as it was in the 1980s, it's just as addictively fun as it's ever been.

What are you going to do?


joe windsurfer said...

1) run a blog since JAN 2010 -

2) subscribed to WindSport again - did survey with false answers to save 2 bucks

3)WILL check New England W/S journal

4) go on iwindsurf, mauisails, calema, starboard and auziie forums and get in trouble sometimes :-)

5)now have inflatable Mistral Windglider and taught 2 in 2010

6) talk about w/s all year long and w/s in winter on ice n snow - eat and breathe the stuff, butt am still just an average joe

7) am considering making T-shirts cuz good w/s T-shirts are lacking AND they make GREAT presents

8) am pondering what else i could do to have people join my windsurf religion !!!

ctwindsurf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ctwindsurf said...

Sad it had to happen but who says it will not return in some different and better form. For now here's what I turn to:

Lady Notorious said...

talk about putting me on the spot to learn windsurfing... ;-)

A few months left til the start of the windsurfing season up here? I better start studying now.

I was looking forward to seeing your article in Windsurfer Mag James, so I'm bummed about that getting cancelled.

I love seeing other windsurfers chiming in to keep the stoke going here. I am off to check out some w/s sites!

JSW225 said...

Windsurfing Mag was good to look at, with pretty pictures, but either lacked any deep substance in the later issues, or often repeated good articles. 3 out of the last 5 of them I got included that "Beginner's Windsurfing Guide" cut out. With a not so deep pocket as I'd like, I let the subscription lapse, and wasn't too sad about it. If the reviews had been better or more substantive, I would have regretted it a lot more.

Johnny Douglass said...

Do you still want that vintage Hawaii Naturally poster I have? She sails an original Windsurfer with teak boom. I forgot all about it when you were here at Christmas.

James Douglass said...

Joe- Cool blog! Let me know if you make some t-shirts.

CT- That's true, it might come back in another form. Thanks for the links.

Lady Notorious- I think Windsport is going to pick up my unpublished article. Stay tuned...

JSW- Yeah, there was kind of a decline before the end. I think the writing was on the wall when they went from 12 issues a year, to 10, to 6 or 7, to just a few. This year I got far more redundant renew / subscribe letters than I got actual magazines.

Dad- I'll have to see how Rhonda feels about teak booms.

Morley said...

Well, that explains why my latest issue(s) have taken so long to get here!! Was about to write to find out why..... I'm sad I'll never get to go on one of their board test weeks.

OK, I'm Canadian and never subscribed to WindSport - before. That will be the next web stop after this one.

I agree that the mag has long been in decline. The glossy pics were the best part of it. The articles were shallow and superficial - in contrast to the detail typical of Boards mag in the UK. And their editing was kind of behind the curve. One of their last cover titles was "the windsurfing vacation your wife will want to go on". That must have at least subconsciously made a good part of the windsurfing population feel excluded; why didn't they substitute "partner" for "wife" - some of the windsurfing/kiting women around here have to drag their non-sailor husbands along.

Anyway, I'll miss it but not too much if there is a substitute. The web definitely can supply the drug for those wind droughts.

Frank said...

Well I guess it had to happen but reading online just is not the same as paper in your hand. Our hometown paper is online but my wife needs it in her hands. Put your article here if windsport doesn't publish it. All fringe sports have size problems. Light wind sailing is comiing back in my area because you don't have to be as fit as high wind stuff. Some of us are getting old!

PeconicPuffin said...

There is more available to read now about windsurfing than at any time in history...but it's mostly online. Meanwhile let's here it for Windsport and NEWJ (The New England Windsurfing Journal is a worthy read even if you don't live in the northeast.)

BLCS said...

I think in another 2-3 seasons, windSUP will bring it back.

So many ppl getting into SUP, just a matter of time before they want to put a sail on it.

And really, that is what fueled the WS boom (no pun intended) 'back in the day'. If it had been "you gotta have a full quiver of sails, rigs, AND 4 different boards", WS never would have caught on.

DL said...

That should be our new mantra....

"put a sail on it!"

Anybody watch Portlandia?

PeconicPuffin said... often. Saw the promo for "Allergy Pride" week but haven't seen the episode yet.

Put a sail on it! Or as Dasher used to say:
Shut up and sheet in.

PeconicPuffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PeconicPuffin said...

Hi James,

It just occurred to me that you can surely improve upon this (LI version of the 100 rule)

Would greatly appreciate your input, graphic sensibilities, and thoughts on how it helps or hurts the eelgrass (always of concern to puffins).

jeff E of the Great White North said...

jeeepers! i went to chapters looking for the "windsurf" rag... nothing ,,guess there will contunue to be nothing but am i glad for the internet!

Windsurf and Ophthalmology said...

It´s a sad information. I've been looking for the mag since the beginning of this year. I will try Boards and Windsport.

Eduardo Di Piero said...

Isn't anyone going to release a wind magazine again?

James Douglass said...

Hi Eduardo- Actually, there IS a new windsurfing magazine. It's called "Windsurfing NOW" and it's a bit expensive but very good.

Eduardo Di Piero said...

Thanks.I will take a look.