Editor’s Note: Issue 9.3/4

Time—Waits for No One

american_windsurfer_john-chaoWITH THIS ISSUE, American Windsurfer celebrates the completion of a decade of continuous publication. It is an accomplishment that fills me with pride and amazement for surviving and withstanding this  test of time. But what lingers as an afterthought is the realization of how exceptionally fast, this time, has gone by.  When I sit on the shore of the Columbia River watching a windsurfer drift downstream in a fading breeze, observing his struggle to stay balanced against the metaphorical flow of the river, it comes to mind that time—waits for no one.

I wake up every day and think about the mortality of this persistent flow. These are a continuous stream of moments—they pass the shores of my soul—they leave their memories. Once they come, they are gone forever. What’s left is a virtual painting of our existence; the hallmark of our distinction.

Aside from being the last issue of our first ten years, this issue also distinctly marks a new direction. It is the first effort created outside the obscurity of our New Hampshire base. The first made in the heart of the American Northwest—the epicenter of the windsurfing/kitesurfing world. 

I think you will feel the difference. The flow of our subjects is strong and vibrant. They are many and diverse. Those of us working on this magazine are privileged to bear witness to these players of the wind and the flow.

You might say we capture memories to cherish in time . We distil the moment into words and images so that we may take the time to reflect on the distinction of ourselves, our place and our collective experience. This has been our mission for the past ten years, and I am pleased to say that I have no regrets.

If this, for some unforeseen reason, turned out to be the last issue of American Windsurfer, I would be proud to say that I take with me many happy memories, knowing that each moment has made me distinct in the eyes of time. For time leaves more than wrinkles, it leaves a mark on the soul.

Recently I asked a professional sailor what she hopes to gain from windsurfing. Her answer was to be a better person. Mitch Gingrich, the winner of the Gorge Games freestyle event and our cover subject, was told before the competition that he had nothing to fear; he was a good guy and that was all that mattered. He reflected on this distinction and went out and won the contest. Mark Collins, a.k.a. “The Dangler,” loves to windsurf. But his distinct style and demeanor on the water have made him the most feared and hated object on the river.  But to know The Dangler is to love The Dangler . . . we know we are better off to have found this memory.

The privilege of riding the wind and being in the flow is an act of becoming. We are all in the creative process. I just can’t think of a better place to learn the lessons of life and fulfill life’s obligations than by being a windsurfer!

John Chao

by John Chao

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