If you've experienced windsurfing on a full plane. If you've screamed across the water with no sound but the board on the water, the sail fluttering, the wind whistling across your lobes and your own heart pounding. If you've been hypnotized by the chop and waves moving across your visual field in a random beautiful chaos that speaks to you on a deeper level... well then maybe you should put down the bong, because waves can't talk.
Jokes aside, windsurfing is a true addiction. And like any good American addiction, there is a price to pay in real, actual currency. When I started windsurfing in college, windsurfing taught me lessons of perseverance, hard-work, and how to obtain large quantities of credit card debt. When I got out of college and started living "real" life, with larger rent payments, power bills, and student loan payments... I nearly gave up windsurfing. I nearly decided that windsurfing was just too expensive despite the great rewards. Ok, I was also blowing cash by chasing girls too, but that's neither here nor there.
I'm a few more years out now and I've got a bit more financial stability. Still, I have a hard time separating myself from hundreds and thousands of dollars in order to windsurf.
I'm buying new gear when I get to my new home, and retail prices seem to be climbing really fast these days. Let's say for argument's sake, this is the kit I buy when I move to San Francisco:
2 Boards @ $1500 each
3 sails @ $600 each
1 Boom @ $200 each (but lets face it, I want carbon)
2 carbon RDM masts @ $450 each
Knick knacks and paddy wacks (extensions, mast feet) @ $200 total
In this simulation of "retail therapy" I've just spent $6100. Wow. Obviously a thousand arguments can be made about these figures and their validity, as well as about "is it even worth it to buy the latest and greatest", but for someone who's just getting into the sport and doesn't have their own knowledge base and maybe depends on the shop owner (who in his or her own right is likely just trying to scrape by) for all their advice... this scenario seems like a reality. Because this is my blog, I'm sticking to this number of $6100.
So let's see how else someone might spend $6100.
- 1 really kick ass bachelor party in Vegas, with no cameras allowed. (Has anyone caught on that I'm not married?)
- 1 Brand New Jetski from Kawasaki. You'll never have to buy a jibing lesson, you'll never blow a tack, and you probably are missing a bunch of teeth if you select this option.
- 30 days backpacking in Europe. Plane ticket @ $1000, Rail Passes @ $1500, $70/day expenses, Lodging $70/night in hostiles. This, to me, seems like a viable form of entertainment. I think you could even make the money stretch much further if you were careful.
- $66,091.71 is the future value of $6100 invested with a yearly interest rate of 10% for 25 years. Your old tired windsurfing knees and shoulders could probably use this year off, since you've been charging the gorge so hard with that old, used beater board and that teak boom.
- 47"LG - Scarlet 1080p 120Hz Flat-Panel LCD HDTV, 1 Sony Playstation 3, 1 XBOX 360, and $2000 cash to buy games and movies. We, as windsurfers, always whine and complain that kids today are too lazy to windsurf. Hell, playing the most expensive video game on one of the very best televisions available costs half as much! And you don't have to worry about the weather forecast!
- 24 months rent in Jericoacoara. I met a few people who said you can live there for about $250/month rent. The problem at this point is that you don't have a windsurfing board or any sails to ride, although Matt Case told me he only used a 4.7m sail the whole time he was there.
Also interesting, my buddy Josh at Windsurfingmag posted a similar poll with a higher response rate. The results were interesting. 42% of the people who surfed to that website say that they think that cheaper gear would create more windsurfers, and I'm assuming they think that economies of scale would make the market still viable. Or maybe they just want cheaper gear.
So that was fun, but let's be serious, you're (I'm) gonna buy gear. It just hurts. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the windsurfing industry, their tactics, their people, or their marketing strategies. Heck, we're all in this together on either side of the cash register. I want there to be more windsurfers and cheaper gear so I can sail more. They want the same thing, right?