The Original Windsurfer
WHAT IS THIS STORY ABOUT?
The main corridor of this site is the timeline that documents the first ten years of the sport year-by-year and month-by-month. Within each page of the timeline there's engaging and even a few shocking side stories. There are historical documents, like the very first Notice of Race for the first regatta in Malibu, and Windsurfer Newsletters from the 1970s that chronicle the sport's development.
Windsurfer regatta in California.
And there are lots of pictures and a few links to vintage film footage from the very early days. Also included are editorials, quotes, magazine articles and more about the Windsurfer.
 
The timelines and stories cross over into the lives of Hoyle and Diane Schweitzer who introduced the world to Windsurfing over 40 years ago. To share this history and these stories of the sport's beginnings are also to share in my family history. My parents, Hoyle and Diane, along with my sister and brother and I were surrounded in a life dedicated to Windsurfing. However this story isn't about the Schweitzer family. It's about the early days of Windsurfing and the passion to share in the experience of Windsurfing. It's about the spirit that was, and still is today the Original Windsurfer.
 
 
Explore the Original Windsurfer story...
It's questionable: "Don't you get tired standing and holding up that sail?"
In the early days people didn't know what they were looking at when they saw a Windsurfer. They would try to describe what they were seeing, such as "that sailing surfboard-without-a-rudder standing-up on a board thing" and it provoked questions like, "Don't you get tired standing and holding up that sail?" or,


Europeans took to Windsurfers immediately.
"What kind of flat-bottom regatta boat is that?" But these questions weren't asked as curiosity, they were asked out of complete disbelief, and often criticism.
 
Part of persevering through comments like these required a demonstration because windsurfing wasn't something, at the time, you could conceptually explain in words and expect people to understand in a convention hall. It had to be shown how it was done and how much fun it was. Most people thought we were nuts, but some of them got it. And once they tried it, well, they were hooked!
 
It's spiritual: "Windsurfing is Being One with Nature"
Windsurfing has always been one of the most spiritual of sports because of its close physical and spiritual connection to the water and with nature. It takes us as close as can be to the water, only inches above it and often in it.
 
Dashing from the shore, through the surf line and into the open water in minutes. Cruising the shoreline for hours or sailing to an island amongst the flying fish, dolphins, turtles, whales and birds, to name just a few. On a lake, in the sea, across a bay, the motion of windsurfing takes you away. It's difficult to diminish the rush, the flow of water, the power of the wind in your hands. It's everywhere and just a hands-reach away.
 
It's wildly popular: "Poor Man's Sailboat Dominates Sailing World"
Was this new sport for outcast surfers or the established sailors in yacht clubs? Yes it was, and everybody in between!
 
The Original Windsurfer attracted people from around the world and created one of the largest, if not the largest sailing class in the world. In many countries, it was so popular that it became known as the poor man's sailboat. This was, of course because there was no need to belong to a sailing club, or join a yacht club, and also because it could be stored almost anywhere. It's portability and convenience of use didn't require a lot of planning or preparation to head out sailing. All anyone needed to do was load it onto their cars roof rack and unload it anywhere there was wind and water. No boat ramp, no trailer, no government registration, no hassle. New locations for windsurfing were only limited by imagination.
 
It's a lifestyle: "The Windsurfer Develops it's Own Unique Lifestyle"
The Original Windsurfer lifestyle represented freedom, adventure-travel, fun, and an opportunity to meet new friends, and a world community. This is the spirit of the Original Windsurfer.
 
Local sailing races were held often, usually a weekend event with camping by a lake or beach. National and International races were held in vacation resorts and had a family party atmosphere. It was an inclusive atmosphere and the Windsurfer was affordable and fun; this new lifestyle was also the spirit of the Original Windsurfer.
 
To find out more about the history of Windsurfing, check out the Timeline section.
  Click images to enlarge.
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