Another Legend for Beauty and Tears

Readers respond to Volume 5: Issue 5

Informative Periodical
Last week I subscribed to American Windsurfer for both myself and a friend, Gary Stameisen.

Gary advises me that he has purchased two copies of the issue with John Kerry on the cover; therefore, we would appreciate it if our subscriptions begin with the issue subsequent to the John Kerry issue.

As an aside, we have both very much enjoyed previous issues of American Windsurfer; however, I must tell you that we’ve had a number of conversations with fellow windsurfers in the last week and many have commented that while it’s heartening to know that we have a national politician who is interested in windsurfing, the 10+ pages devoted to him in this issue really seems like overkill. This is just one individual in a very large windsurfing community, and while he is perhaps one of the better known sailors, an article of this size, with such glorifying words and photos, could easily be construed as something more political than an athletic profile. Perhaps part of why this issue has been so discussed among our circle of windsurfing friends is precisely because it is out of the usual mold for American Windsurfer.

Thank you for listening, and for producing what is by and large a very entertaining and informative periodical.
Melissa Batchelder
San Francisco, CA

Similar Paths
Really like the article about John Kerry. Seems he and I have travelled several similar paths, though I was an infantry officer in Vietnam, he was a damn sailor. (Thank God, I didn’t get into his politics, however).
Monty D. Vogel

True Legends
I received and have just finished reading the Kerry piece, and I have to tell you that you’ve really outdone yourself.

Over the weekend I went back to the vol. 3, issue 2, Air Mail section in which I wrote about the “novel issue themes” you come up with and the “equally NOVEL, UNIQUE, ATTRACTIVE, ATTENTION GETTING, SPARE-NO-EXPENSE, POLISHED format” that you used then and are still using. But I must now speak to another component that makes AW what it is.

After reading the Kerry piece, I flipped through all of my back issues of AW just to refresh my memory and the names read like a veritable Who’s Who of windsurfing.

If you’ll indulge me here for a second … Darby, Drake & Schweitzer, Winner, Pryde, Koch, (I also interviewed Bill for a piece I did for Florida Keys Magazine), Naish, Dunkerbeck, Leibovitz (getting her away from Vanity Fair, Cosmo etc. etc. blew my mind), and now, the Kerry piece.

Developing contacts, networking etc. etc. are nice trendy little buzz words of the 90’s corporate business scene, but you’ve taken it to another level, man.

You’ve given the windsurfing community something that it’s never had before and that’s delivering in depth, interesting interview pieces with the ground-breaking, larger-than-life TRUE LEGENDS of the sport. (To use your words, for example, “NEIL PRYDE is a REAL PERSON.”)

I don’t know how you do it, but my hat is off to you. Keep on doing it.
Frank Saccente
Point Pleasant , NJ


Other Issues
The recent American Windsurfer (Vol. 5.5 1998) issue featuring Massachusetts senator John Kerry was nothing more than unpaid (or was it?) political endorsement! Don’t get me wrong, I am only an “average” weekend warrior (of fourteen years) myself, but for the record, the shots of him “planning/planing??” look excruciatingly painful with his arms bent so, that I find it hard to believe he could last even one leg of a 40-knot wind day.

As a physician, I also have a problem endorsing anyone from that non-conformist, anti-doctor state of Massachusetts (thanks to Ted Kennedy). I know that from a windsurfer’s point of view, it would be great to have a prez in the oval office who shares the passion we all have for the sport, but there are other issues that need to be brought up that may have an impact on our pocketbooks.

How does he stand on healthcare concerns, patients’ rights, and managed care?
Lou James, MD

If this was a paid political endorsement we must have failed to make him look like Robby Naish. If you don’t believe the Senator can sail in 40–knot wind just ask Nevin Sayre of Fiberspar 508-291-1770. We heard Kerry attended Sayre’s Martha’s Vineyard Challenge, a fund–raising event for the island’s community services. Kerry sailed for over eight hours before light winds forced him and other racers to retire. As to the health care issues? Kerry, in this last Congress, has championed health insurance for children, preserved and protected Medicare for seniors and helped pass the Patient Bill of Rights. You can contact his office in the Senate for more info because we’re beginning to feel this should have been a paid political endorsement. By the way, if it’s not clear enough. We’ve gotten no payment or considerations from anyone on the Kerry article. ED

AW a Part of Me
I just received the latest issue of AW a few days ago and I cried as I was reading it and after I had finished. I was totally inspired by your interviews with John Kerry and Gavin Grow.

Senator Kerry mentioned things to you about God and the reason why he was drawn to windsurfing, which is exactly the reason why I was drawn to the sport. I still do not know how to windsurf yet, and I probably won’t ever be able to learn, but I am so fascinated with the sport. I believe that this is a hidden passion of mine that is emerging to the surface. There is definitely a connection to windsurfing and surfing for these final days, whether it be the solitude or peace of mind that each of us adheres to when we practice these skills on the water.

I cried, because every time that you print an article/interview with somebody, they all have stories that have either shocked people, such as the Annabella Hofman story on Ken Winner, or touched hearts such as Gavin Grow. I’m finding this hard to put into words, because my feelings are so great. When you publish stories on your selected individuals, you really get up close and personal to the heart of matters. Readers are blessed and wiser to these lessons because of your anticipating personality. You approach people asking for their deepest thoughts and that is a quality that most journalists have a hard time achieving.

The photos in this issue were outstanding and keep getting better and better with each issue. When I pick up your magazines, I feel like they are a part of me. Isn’t that odd of me to say? I don’t understand it.
Lahwan Parsons
Umatilla, Fl

Beyond Windsurfers
Just got your Vol 5, issue 5. Even though I have not had time to read it, I see it is another excellent issue. Keep up the good work. We appreciate having a publication like yours, one that goes beyond windsurfers, and can be enjoyed as a great magazine by anyone.
Wavetech in Puerto Rico

Tears for Gavin
Gavin is amazing. Does he have an e–mail address you can give out? I am so touched by his article I can hardly keep the tears back.


Gavin Grow’s email is: 

American Windsurfer Magazine has dedicated our efforts to acquiring a van with an electric lift to help facilitate Gavin and Kathleen’s mobility. If you missed the opportunity to donate to this cause, please help us by sending a check to the AW Gavin Grow Fund c/o American Windsurfer Magazine Bayview Business Park #10 Gilford, NH 03246. Or call 800-292-2772 to donate or subscribe. Just say “Yes Gavin!” and we will give five dollars of your subscription fee to the fund. If you missed the remarkable story of this windsurfer crippled by a motorcycle accident eleven years ago, you can find it in our website: ED

Country Music
Thanks so much for sending me the issue of American Windsurfer featuring Gavin Grow.
Your friend,
Kenny Rogers
Colbert, GA

We mailed complimentary copies of the last issue to everyone in Gavin Grow’s fan lists There were over 3,0000 and were mostly well–known celebrities, writers and artists. Many called on the phone and some wrote letters. Here are some of their comments which Gavin passed on to us.

Elmore Leonard—best selling author of Get Shorty, Jackie Brown —offered several suggestions and stated, “… your prose is smooth, polished….You wrote the ass off that opening paragraph….beyond the level of a beginning writer; you know how to use words.”

Joseph Wambaugh—best selling author of The Glitter Dome, Floaters. “That was a very fine piece in American Windsurfer. Congratulations!”

Terry Brooks—best selling sci-fi author of Elfstones of Shannara, Running with the Demon “…I thought your story was well written and engaging….It was inspiring and I enjoyed it a lot.”

Richard North Pattersonbest selling author of The Final Judgement, Silent Witness,“…eloquent and affecting…”

Arthur L. Mercantethe only Hall of Fame boxing referee. “You sure can write—I felt like I was walking in sand at the beach. I’m sure you are ready to write a book.”

Jose Sulaimanpresident of the World Boxing Council President, “…the way that you express yourself is highly sensitive and I am sure that you can be a very good writer.”


2001 Space Odyssey
When your beautiful magazine arrived on my desk, I was completely baffled. I regret to say I’ve never even tried old fashioned surfing, and now that I’m eighty and wheel-chaired by Post Polio Syndrome, it’s rather unlikely I’ll ever have a chance.

Anyway, I quickly found the moving article by Gavin Grow and that explained everything. I’m very glad that I gave him a phone call and also sent one of my Florida friends to see if he is OK. Please send my best wishes to him and also to Kathleen. Tell her I greatly admire her devotion.

And now for a rather extraordinary coincidence. I was pleased and surprised to see the article and splendid photographs by my old friend Douglas Faulkner, because I had completely lost touch with him and frankly, was not even sure that he was still alive! I used to visit him in his New York home and he came here to Sri Lanka—one of his splendid underwater photographs graces the wall of our villa on the south coast (which alas, I have time to visit only about twice a year). Would you please also send him the enclosed photos?

I was amused by your remarks about President Clinton. Like a few billion other people, I saw his mea culpa on T.V. this morning.

There’s quite a bit of wind surfing here in Sri Lanka, and I’m going to show your magazine to the local boys, if they ever come back to shore.

Meanwhile, my (envious) congratulations on a beautiful magazine.
Sir Arthur C Clarke CBE
Colombo, Sri Lanka


Inner Beauty
Thank you for the gratis issue of your Windsurfer magazine, vol. 5 #5. It is a truly splendid production, which took me to places I scarcely even dream about! (I’m a “mountain man,” living high atop the Adirondack mountain range.)

I am also an artist, which should explain my inability to subscribe to your production, to say nothing about full meals from week to week.

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful coverage you did of my buddy, Gavin Grow. His story proved what I’ve told him about the mind taking over as an author; the mind is a true gem amongst a sea of bland bodies. I won’t wax poetic herein!

Gavin is the greatest of the great! He and Kathleen are an example that is the most superlative of love stories in the history of mankind. I am humbled to be his and Kathleen’s friend!

And your drive to obtain the much needed hoist van is so amazing! When I was ready to say the world sucks full time any more, Gavin’s friendship touched my life. Your drive for the van told me a lot about you and your readership: It isn’t completely about being one of the beautiful, tanned and built-to-kill… there are still, rather, people who are putting their hearts first and actually willing to part with the almighty dollar. Tans and drop-dead great bodies will fade with time … a generous heart can only strengthen the beauty of the inner person.

God bless you and your readers,
Steve Goodrich
South Colton, NY

Help us achieve this goal. Send your contribution to the Gavin Grow Fund c/o American Windsurfer Magazine Bayview Business Park #10 Gilford, NH 03246. Or call 800-292-277. We’re a tenth of the way there!

I am a new subscriber to American Windsurfer, and so far I have enjoyed the publication very much. I only skimmed through Vol.5 Issue 5 and have already found it very interesting.

I visit Aruba every spring. In 1998 I arrived on February 25, witnessing the outstanding solar eclipse. While on the island three weeks, I made new friends and renewed acquaintances. I attended three nights of Dasher’s Wind O Vision video shows and many other island fun spots.

When packing to leave on that early AA flight I noticed my Dan Posts were missing. Now thanks to Darrell Jones (page 64 of Vol.5 Issue 5), I know where my boots went. Not to worry, I will retrieve them this next spring.
Tom Lee
Cheyenne, WY

Great New Dimension
Long time! I don’t how how I ever got promoted up the mailing list to finally get one of your mags sent to me out of the clear blue … but wow! Nice work. I’ve been a bit isolated here in Santa Cruz.

Started a new surfboard company: Surftechnologies. We consulted Yvon Chinard to help him get up and running. We have a different tack. We are reproducing shapes by the masters of our sport, i.e. Velz, Yath, Robert August, Mickey Munoz.

Also it looks like I will be launching a new sailboard line next season. Congrats on Ken Winner also. Sounds like a great new dimension for the publication.
Randy French
Santa Cruz CA

I am looking for some designs and help on various landsurfers. I’d like to make my own, but am having trouble finding a method of extending the trucks on a standard skateboard set of wheels or a decent design for the suspension. Someone I met this weekend said you had an article or ad in the last issue that showed a system built on an aluminum tube with springs built in. I don’t have any idea how that would work. Could you tell me which issue or how to get plans for such a fun training device? The guy I talked to was sailing a home-made rig made from plywood, and 3” abs plastic pipe with two toilet flange ends….very original—and was having trouble getting it to return to “zero” or level. Very interesting, though. Any help will be appreciated.
Bob Wood
Bequia, West Indies

The article on landsailing called Concrete Sailor, was in our Vol.4 Issue 4 1996. You might be interested in seeing the latest in landsailing in our gotta have it section on page 28.ED

Tell the Truth
Your magazine is the only one who is close to the WINDSURFERS and not like the others who are tight with the manufacturers who only want to sell.

If you see something negative you should write about it. It helps the windsurfers know what it is all about.

How equipment holds up after a few years is what I never see in windsurfer magazines because they were afraid to loose advertisers. Also how to fix small problems, like Roger (Roger’s Windsurf Place) glues venetian shutter parts under his booms so the fin doesn’t rip the grip off the boom. Or to use BLOP glue for repairing neoprene sides of the foot pads so that they don’t peel off. And many other tips.

Also destinations are not always as great as they might look in brochures and advertisings. Sailors should get better info and most of all WINDSURFING IS AN ENJOYABLE SPORT AND IS NOT ONLY FOR RACERS.

That’s how I think about it and I hope you can help to make that clear to the people (you already do) only to help the sport out of it macho status.

I’m Baaack!
I love your magazine. I’m somewhat of a rarity, at least in the LA area. I’m a 50 yr. old African American, certified WindSurfer, since 1982. Back in those days, you had to take a 6 hr. course over 2 days and actually receive a laminated plastic certification card, in order to rent equipment.

Due to raising small children, the demands of home ownership, a new job and the sale of my 73’ Chevy Stepside pickup, I haven’t been on my board for 10 yrs. All that’s about to change now.

I’ve received a 1998 Lincoln Navigator (with roof racks) for my 50th birthday. I’ve washed off the dust from my equipment, tried on my wetsuits and visited Wind n’ Wave in Los Angeles. It won’t be long before I’m not just sitting on the shore of Marina Del Rey, watching the sailboats and Windsurfers and actually become a part of this landscape and not just a spectator. I used to love to do maneuvers in front of this crowd of lookie loo’s. Then, it’s on to Hurricaine Gulch in San Pedro, California. This is where it all began for me, South Bay Windsurfing & Sail Loft. The owner Ken, went to Hawaii and the loft relocated to Wilmington to become Xtremeline Sails. The wind cranks here. Gotta spend some time in the gym to get back in shape. I always was a muscle sailer, not finesse, like the girls.

Anyway, do or die, I’m back. Windsurfing is my first love. Can’t wait to date her again.

A. Michael Evans, Jr

Los Angeles, CA

Ps. Whatever happened to original Windsurfer One Design stuff?

Welcome back time traveler! The sport has changes much in the last decade. Like you it also has come around to discover its roots and first love. Several companies are focusing to come up with a user friendly boards like the original Windsurfer One Design. Most importantly however, is the fact that the people who enjoy this sport has not changed. Hearing about people like you make our day!ED