Editor’s Note: Issue 8.3/4

Life is climbing up the hill and death is the slippery slide down.

american_windsurfer_john-chao-photoWHERE HAVE ALL THE WINDSURFERS GONE?” asks a reader in one of the letters of this issue. This seems to be the question many of us have been asking and wondering more and more as windsurfing has evolved through the past years.

The sport has changed dramatically. Technological improvements have really enhanced the sport. The sails, boards, masts, the booms, and fins are lighter and more efficient with incredible performance range. When you factor in rates of inflation, the equipment isn’t that much more expensive than before. Why, then, with all this progress, has such an exciting and dynamic sport received such diminishing returns?

Instead of spending the rest of this space describing faults and assigning blame to factors that may or may not have contributed to the “descent.” I’d rather forecast the amazing growth that the sport will soon experience.

That’s right! From the brink of death to unprecedented renewal, a sense of being retuned and returned, like the titles of two articles in this issue about the experience of dying and coming back to life. These are the gifts of being given a second chance, being born again in the spirit of Easter, which we have just celebrated.

I believe everything is in a perpetual flow, a constant state of transition. Life is climbing up the hill and death is the slippery slide down. It is not the end. There must be infinite hills and mountains to climb and to fall off from. It is never the end. It can’t be. Nothing in the world that I know vanishes without a trace. It may evaporate or fade away, but it always exchanges one essence with another. We are unique in the sense that we have the ability to choose the exchange. You may not believe we do. But I choose to believe we do. At a time when I may be facing death, I will still have a choice. That choice will have great power and consequence to me. And for that singular moment, I will have the ability to assign my destiny, a destiny that can leap from a frog to a windsurfer and ride forces to the next hill.

The question posed by our reader who wonders where all the American windsurfers have gone is also a question of choice: to rekindle an old passion and inspire others to windsurf or to hang it up. It is a singular choice that will ultimately make a difference.


If you wonder what all this mumbo-jumbo that came out of my head means, you might not be the only one. What I mean is this: Presumably, you are still reading this which means you are still with me as we try to figure out where the hell have all the windsurfers gone?

Now this is important because it could have a direct consequence on certain choices we make which govern our destiny. American Windsurfer took a risk and made a choice seven years ago to do something different. We chose to create a windsurfing magazine at a time when the sport was already spiraling downward. Our goal was to reach out to a larger audience, to become an ambassador for the sport and relate to as wide a variety of people as possible. We put senators, fighter pilots, racecar drivers, and skiers on the cover because we wanted those people to pick up the magazine and experience the thrills of windsurfing through one of their own.

We have been criticized and shunned by many in the industry for this and have tested the patience of many of our readers. But we made a choice to swallow a difficult pill so that we might continue to have more choices and be open to opportunities.

I’m happy to say that we still are very much here and hope that readers might not write us postmortem someday and ask, “Where have all the windsurfing magazines gone?” The fact that you are still reading this gives me hope that the spirit of adventure and discovery which is the core of windsurfing will continue to expand and grow as never before.

John Chao

by John Chao

Publisher / Editor is a former photojournalist for GEO, National Geographic and Time-Life Magazines.