LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM: Christian Marty, pilot of the ill-fated Concord flight 4590, Toni Cicale, Paul Tracy of the Kool Green Racing Team, Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee, F-16 pilot Allan Gabel, Wold Champion Sigi Hofmann now Annabella Hofmann, solo Trans-Atlantian Rapheala le Gouvello. TOP: Ryann Abeel, Laurie Nadel, round-the-world Dan Welch, super-model Bonnie Pfeifer, publisher John Chao, twelve-time Wolrd Champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck, inventor Newman Darby, SF’s Douglas Stewart, PWA racer Andy Laufer. TOP: Two-time Olympic Gold, four time World Champion pair figure medalist Ludmila Protopopov, Chad Fleischer, Michael Gebhardt, Kelby Anno, Gavin Grow, Senator John Kerry, Agata Dulczewska. TOP: 1998 TAWR crew, Kevin Shackell, North Sails chief Miki Plank, John Chao Jr., Katie and Robby Naish, Bonaire inspiration Elvis Martines, competitors in Holland. TOP: Inventor Jim Drake, Elke Augustino & Larry Russo, Hoyle Schweitzer, Mike Percy, Steve Sylvester and young flock 1997 US Nationals, St. Thomas. TOP: Whistle blower Dr. Kurt Svrcula, Brazilian TAWR captains Carlos Borges, Alexandre Serrado, 2001 Maui Test Team, Holloween in Lahaina, 1999 Maui Test Team with Robby Naish.
How could it possibly have happened so fast? It seems like only yesterday that the pages for the first issue were laid out. Now, as if overnight, we have reached this anniversary. Ten years!
Like the lines in the face of a well-aged traveler, this magazine, through the eyes and camera lenses of the many people who have contributed to it, has seen much, touched by many and told many tales.
From the beginning, those stories, through the many pictures and words, have been from a slightly different angle. Sometimes that angle was criticized for being too extreme. Other times it was revered. Through it all, there were distinct ups and downs. The “ups” were many and even the downs had their ultimate upside.
Now that we’ve reached this milestone, a landmark in time, tradition would indicate we do a story about the magazine itself–our own brief history. Instead, we’ve decided to let you, our readers do it.
Through the letters, you have written us over the years you tell our story as well as anyone can–as it happened, in “real time.” After all, it is our readers who are the ring-bearers, who keep the sport together and on a plane.
Windsurfers have a common bond, a fellowship if you will, with the goal of spreading the freedom and expression that is the soul of the sport of windsurfing. As we carry on into our second decade, we hope that all windsurfers carry on with this mission, this bond, this Fellowship of the Wind.
WHERE NO MAGAZINE HAS GONE BEFORE: Within months of its publication date of August of 1993, American Windsurfer has seen and been seen by the world, including this high flying review by Scott Knell, a furloughed Delta Airlines Pilot, windsurfer and skydiver.
Have You Lost Your Mind?
Yo dude. Yes, you have finally succumbed to the numbing arctic winds which are about to surround you once again and totally decimate what is left (right?) of your gray matter. What, you’re bored? Is your head bored? With a 3/4 inch wood bit?
No matter; as usual, I’m with you. 100%. No, 1000%. I like it. I want to be part of it. Like the appendix. The colon. The prostate. I’m prostrated. No, wait, I got it; the semi-colon! I’ll do your windsurfing porno video reviews.
So keep me posted. I have photos and writing ready to go. I’ll jus quickly retrieve them from the dumpster, brush off any stray Cheeze Whiz or mayonnaise, wrap them securely in toilet paper and ship them off to you. Have you lost your mind?
So keep me posted. I have photos and writing ready to go. I’ll jus quickly retrieve them from the dumpster, brush off any stray Cheeze Whiz or mayonnaise, wrap them securely in toilet paper and ship them off to you. Have you lost your mind?
Don’t you want to retire? I’ll be your Gorge guy. I’m gorgeous. I’ll take 35,000 copies and distribute them to everyone in Lyle. Oops, forgot: they can’t read. Are there any pretty pictures? Too cool, gotta go.
White Salmon, Washington
Congratulations on the premier issue of American Windsurfer. It is elegant, interesting and informative. And, as your fine editorial “Forecast” states, you have tried, and succeeded, in interesting a readership of non-windsurfers as well as fanatics to the sport. Most of us at Waucoma Bookstore are B.W. (Before Windsurfing) Gorge residents, either natives or transplants lured here by the Columbia River Gorge’s beauty… and its people. We enjoy the magazine’s larger scope.
The communities of the Gorge are populated by friendly, kind, hardworking individuals. Most important to our business, they are also literate, a fact Eric Sanford, in his obnoxious letter to the editor, seems to have overlooked. Our store opened in Hood River in 1976, long before sails were darting back and forth across the Columbia, and tourists were filling up the sidewalks of the downtown. We have always been enthusiastically supported, both financially and emotionally, by residents from the local communities, including Lyle, Washington, where according to Mr. Sanford “they can’t read.” Since windsurfing arrived, we have added many delightful Gorge visitors to our clientele. We appreciate everyone’s business and are fortunate there are so many book lovers in our area. Mr. Sanford’s flippant remark does a disservice to everyone in the Gorge. We hope it’s not a pervasive attitude of other contributors to you magazine.
Sally LaVenture, Peggy Dills Kelter, Rosalie Kelly
Waucoma Bookstore Hood River, OR
We certainly apologize to the good people of Lyle, Washington, and take responsibility for the insensitivity. Mr. Sanford has a writing style that pokes fun at everyone and I might add, especially, himself. The letter Mr. Sanford wrote was addressed to us when American Windsurfer was just a dream. The thought that it might appear in print was never considered nor approved by Mr. Sanford. We thought it was funny, and the fact that he made fun of all of us, especially the Block Head Publisher who started this magazine, made it seem OK. Our inexperience assumed that humor justifies. We do however, appreciate the need for greater sensitivity. ED
A Magazine Scam!
What the $%#@& are you thinking? Another windsurfing magazine?
I get it… you need more to do. Yeah, that’s it. Running a business, writing articles, shooting pictures, sailing races, and all that stuff with UPSAMORE $$ or whatever that organization is now called, can’t be enough to keep you off the streets.
Nooo, you have to go publish a windsurfing magazine. And it’s big! I mean, who cares if it’s good or anything, it’s so damn big. You’re bound to put two or three of those other (windsurfing) rags under… no one will ever see ‘em. Cool!
Of course, the articles were fresh and engrossing, and the photos gorgeous. My artist girlfriend did rave about the layout.
OK, it’s great. So maybe the sport CAN use a magazine not on the take from “Europlastic Inc.” A magazine that says, “windsurfing is fun,” not “windsurfing is dangerous and expensive,” a magazine about people, with articles so well written even non-boardheads will read them.
Is that your plan?
No, no, I’ve got it… you just want your resume to be even longer than Eric Sanford’s… A-ha!
I was back home in NH last fall, and stopped by Ellacoya Beach, but didn’t see you—I hope you still have time to sail.
You know, if it wasn’t for your advice and inspiration back then, I would have quit windsurfing before I got good. I’d still have a high paying job, a nice car, and a big house. I wouldn’t be living in poverty down on this pile of sand (Outer Banks) waiting for the wind to blow my shack over (3.1 times). Thanks! So that’s IT!
Now I’m onto your scheme… this magazine is a scam to turn more helpless kooks into shred-zombies. Oh sure, ruining my life wasn’t enough, now you’re going after normal people. Well, I’m blowing the lid off this one! I’d have called “Sixty Minutes” already if the phone hadn’t been disconnected eight weeks ago. But now I have to get back out on (highway) NC-12 with my “will work for sails” sign.
NEIL PRYDE is the name of a real person. Like thousands of sailors around the world,
I remember my surprise when I heard some ten years ago that Neil Pryde is a real person. Recently before my departure to japan, a letter arrived from Hong Kong with the familiar circular bull’s eye logo. The letter congratulated American Windsurfer for its birth and was signed Neil Frederick Pryde, Managing Director, Neil Pryde Limited. A phone
call and a few faxes quickly re-arranged my travels to include Honh Kong, China and the opportunity to spend two days with the man who became . . . Taipan Sailmaker
To Neil Pryde
I’m writing in response to the interview with Neil Pryde in the Winter/Spring issue. It is clear that he is a very driven businessman but I was surprised by his views on the sport. He is very opinionated, but I feel he is completely out of touch with what’s going on in the world. I can now tell where the direction of the industry towards short boards and small sails comes from. His opinions that: 1. “Now the sport is high wind sailing… I don’t think it will ever go back” 2. “the sport is zooming fast at 15 or 20 knots” or 3. “we’re wasting our time trying to teach 25, 35 and 40-year-old guys how to windsurf” have led our sport down a path that focuses on sailors and conditions that exclude the majority of the American public.
Like Neil, I have been racing sailboats very competitively for 20 years. I have been windsurfing for 15 and own three boards. I don’t race boards because to me the sport is purely recreational. An excuse to get out on the water here in town or travel and meet new people. It is the purest form of sailing ever created and can be enjoyed in 6 or 36 knots of wind. But there is currently an imbalance with respect to quality sailing gear. Out of three windsurfing shops in my city ( I live in San Diego) where the winds are most suitable for longboards, there are currently no (zero, zilch) new boards available over 200 liters. They don’t exist in the industry (yes, there are a few manufacturers that offer 250 or 260-liter race boards at $1,900). It has created a situation that makes it very difficult for anyone, regardless of age, to get involved.
What Neil Pryde has to realize is that the sport of windsurfing has now come full circle and that there are many (or more) people who sail in 8-15 knots of wind than sail in 20-30. They do it because it is a great way unwind, relax and enjoy the world. But these people are having to do it on equipment that was built 5-10 years ago. Used gear is the hottest commodity in town! The industry leaders, looking for the quick buck in the 80’s, defined the image of windsurfing as a youthful, high wind activity and now we’re stuck with that. There have been little or no advances in the recreational longboard since 1984.
I am inspired by your magazines’ fresh look at windsurfing. I feel you’re making an effort to look at all aspects of the sport and present a well-rounded picture of what’s going on in the world. I only wish that the Neil Prydes of the world would wake up and smell the roses before they make the windsurfer a dying breed. I guess all I can do as a consumer is to choose not to buy his sails, promote your magazine and keep sailing.
San Diego, CA
We Love It Too
To quote Neil Pryde in yourWinter/Spring issue: “…This guy gets a girlfriend or gets married, and fifty-fifty he’s going to lose . . . because his wife or girlfriend doesn’t like it. I mean she’s sitting on the beach cold and bloody wet . . . if we have the social structure, then the wives and girlfriends get together and they have a good time while the guys sail.” Wow! No wonder Pryde has such a bleak view of windsurfing’s future in the U.S. In his “Good Old Boys Club” scenario, half the population isn’t even encouraged to try the sport.
Hello and welcome to the 20th century, Mr. Pryde. Women have two arms, two legs and the ability to learn and love windsurfing every bit as much as men. In fact, women are a growing part of the windsurfing scene in Madison and everywhere else I’ve traveled to sail. A lot of them probably even have to leave their husbands and boyfriends behind on the beach.
Letter from Neil Pryde
Thank you for your fax with copies of the letters addressed to the Editor. I don’t think I will respond to Tom Fisher, at least not immediately. I actually sympathize with his point of view and can understand his frustration about the lack of suitable new boards for an area like San Diego with its light wind, but the problem is that to make such a board is not a viable business proposition considering the weight they need to be and the limited commercial demand worldwide.
Custom board builders are either not interested to make large boards or they are so expensive that nobody would buy them, and if a mass producer were to look at is, he would not be able to justify the very high up-front tooling and design costs. The market price at which these boards can be sold and the relatively low volume would make it impossible to be profitable.
Regarding the letter from Tina Lassen, I must say I also agree with her but the reality is that in spite of trying very hard, the boardsailing industry has not been able to attract large numbers of girls to the sport.
I guess one of the risks of doing a free-wheeling interview such as we did is that you cannot always be politically correct in what you say.
Neil Pryde Limited
Michael Plank the charismatic president of North Sails Windsurfing GMBH has helped American Windsurfer make quite a splash. You might think the cover would have made him a household celebrity both here and abroad. Ten thousand copies were distributed in Europe and Asia, but there is one problem: nobody recognizes Plank with his clothes on. PLANK: “Hey you know me, I’m that guy on the cover!” STRANGER: “No you’re not! That was Laird Hamilton.” We have gotten many calls from women, and a few, uh, men, requesting copies for framing. Last we heard, Plank sold his North Sails Company to Mistral M-1 , and is spending his time lounging on the Riviera with the fat cats (eau natural, of course!). He is also considering a future career in modeling.
Explain This To My Mom
Last month I subscribed to AW. Now, my mother does not understand windsurfing. Never has. In a last ditch effort to impart some enlightenment on her, I also ordered her a gift subscription, as my “non-windsurfing friend.” So – her first glimpse of AW will be a naked Michael Plank?!? How do I explain this to my mother?
Pete Lyons (Air Mail) makes a very salient point. To take his thoughts one step further—take a look around your local sailing spot. There are always people out with obviously poorly rigged sails, usually rather dated. These beginners & intermediates probably will never approach you with your perfect race-numbered monofilm sails, perhaps out of intimidation (“We’re not worth, we’re not worthy…”).
How can I impart on this scribbled page the warmth that an expert sailor creates on the beach by taking a moment to show a beginner what a little more downhaul here, a little more batten tension here, mast track there…
Suddenly, that old bag feels like a World Cup sail, in the hands of your pupil anyway, and you’ve made a friend and promoted the sport in the process. We should all ask ourselves each night— “Did I help someone sail better today?”
Having a “Holier than Thou” attitude on the beach is just as bad as having a “Holier than Thou” attitude in church. Remember Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees.
Your magazine continues to be a refreshing view of our sport. You sure have the right idea – People and Experiences—not Equipment and $. I don’t have to tell you never to do an equipment review.
Don’t let Pat Carson get you down. Have you ever read the British Windsurf Magazine? They have so many typos and misspellings that their mistakes have become one of the magazine’s trademarks!
Pray for Wind…and, oh yeah – Hi Mom!
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
It’s just my point of view but I think Vol.2 Issue 4’s cover was gross. Come to think about, so was Neil Pryde’s Wetsuit ad. Now, the picture of Pete Cabrinha, on page 31, would have made a great cover! Aloha!
Wow-I have yet to catch my breath after viewing your recent issue. I’m not sure whether it was the articles, the graphics, and layout, or the advertisements that sent my senses whirling into a stimulus overdrive! Peter Cabrinha, Windsurf Palace, Michael Plank, Body Glove, Neil Pryde—eek-Someone save me from this most magnificent magazine ever!
9 Out of 10 Women Prefer…
Splendiferous! My reaction upon receiving the latest copy of your publication. If you were after impact, well, I think you got it and we are very pleased to play our part in it. It seems that nine out of ten women prefer the man in our wetsuit ad to Micky Plank (only joking!). The issue is excellent and you are to be congratulated. I would very much appreciate if you could send us three more copies of this issue. I would like to give one to our advertising agency, etc… Many Thanks & Best Regards.
Neil Pryde, Hong Kong
I know I speak for a lot of people. The last issue (Vol. 3 Issue 1) took a record 13 minutes to read. In this issue you had: 3 pictures of people sitting down, 5 pictures of people standing on the beach, 30 pictures having nothing to do with windsurfing, 0 decent color pictures of windsurfing that weren’t paid for by advertisers.
Also, the 40 pages devoted to senior sailors went way overboard, period. When are you guys going to quit pretending you’re a windsurfing magazine and be one? I subscribed to this magazine because I wanted great in-your-face windsurfing photography. Now where the hell is it, damn it!???
Vero Beach, FL
I sat down tonight to relax with Volume 2, Issue 5 (with the America3 cover), and I got as far as page 14 and the caption under the picture in the center of the page. In discussing the response to your previous cover of a naked Michael Plank, you stated, “We’ve gotten many calls from women, and a few, uh, men, requesting copies for framing.” Folks, please be aware that there is a name for this type of aside and the usual smirks that accompany it, and the name is homophobia. This is a fear and loathing of gay people, and you can file it under racism, misogyny, and the like. It may be tolerated by people with a high school jock mentality, but certainly should not appear in the pages of a magazine that would like to appeal to educated adults. I will spare you the remainder of the tirade which homophobia provokes in me, but please be aware of how you think about us and act toward us. As a member of the gay and lesbian windsurfing club of the Bay Area, I invite you to our paradise to sail and enjoy the personal freedoms which San Francisco offers the world. As a gay man, I have it all here… Crissy, Coyote, Berkeley, the Delta…and civil rights too.
San Francisco, CA
What does the America3 sailboat have to do with windsurfing? Our previous issue puzzled and enraged some windsurfers who felt deprived by the coverage given to Bill Koch and his all-woman team. To our delight however, this issue has received the broadest outreach ever achieved by a windsurfing magazine. Five hundred copies dissapperared in 30 minutes at the winter ISPO show in Germany and 2,000 copies were gobbled up in one day at the Atlantic City sail Expo. Newstand sales tripled because of the timely subject. The marketing of windsurfing to consumers in the sailing world was greatly assisted by Bill Koch’s interview. When he described his love affair with windsurfing and how he plans to devote more time developing his skills in our sport, people listened.
Free Wind Free People
I was more dismayed by your recent cover of America3, than your last cover of a grinning nude. What does a snobby millionaire boys’ sport have to do with windsurfing? Why don’t you throw Don Johnson on the cover nude with his Cigarette boat? And women challenging men—I think that idea caught my attention when Joan of Arc was running for office.
So, you understand, I was rather perturbed with I found myself sitting in my daughter’s kindergym, and having ran out of true windsurfing articles to read, I was forced to read about the ladies on the boat.
By the way, glorious picture of the faux bosoms. I dwelled on that page long enough to make sure all the other mothers sitting around me could glimpse that cheery centerfold. I began reading along, finding myself completely wowed by the quality and accomplishments of each of these women and the fact that many of them windsurfed, obviously better than myself; and about Bill Koch, definitely a man of vision, actually quite inspiring, with his caring ways for the environment and non-polluting production of energy. He certainly is a man who feels the earth and knows the elements.
I was reading somewhere in the article about Anne Gardner Nelson and was completely understanding of her dilemma to ride the wind or be a parent. I have seen the fear creep into my family as we are planning a family outing, and they catch me calling the windtalker. Anyway, I looked up at my four-year-old daughter, past your pages and past my forearms with the peeling skin from last week’s eight-day, nonstop Arenal blow-out (Rock River Lodge and Tilawa-two places that know the wind riding spirit).
My daughter was struggling, beginning to grasp the concepts of the forward roll, and I thought, “You ladies had better win, damn it.” And like the wind which appears from nothing on a still day, my tear ducts began to contract as I was filled with hope for this team, and my daughter and her future. Like having to fight off a monster gust, these little drops of saline were shoving on my lower lids, trying to get me to blubber in front of these mothers who I had just flashed the plastic hooters for.
Somehow I managed not to get launched. I was really touched by Koch’s gesture, which is not simply a movement in air, but a fact, a certainty that this group of women is in a way going to help that little girl in front of me who is just beginning to grasp how things turn.
From the very moment after this team successfully defends the Cup, and their feat is heralded from sea to sea, men, the macho ones, the muscley ones, the power ones, are going to look at their secretaries, their coworkers, wives, and female passersby, and they will know what these defenders did, and for some that look will have changed. That look will know that these beautiful creatures are our equals, and in many things, on many days our superiors; and maybe, that equal rights stuff will have some meaning because it’s not laws that make us equal; it’s us and the way we view and treat each other.
I think your cover for this issue is the greatest cover I’ve seen on a windsurfing magazine.
You people know the wind and the spirit of the people who love the wind. That is what makes this sport fun, and is the only thing that will make this sport grow. That spirit has been with us for several millennia and is not unique to the technological aberration that has recently found that spirit.
You people also know another great thing-that the wind is free, and at times, so are the people that ride it. See you in the next millennia-
Toluca Lake, CA
Who’s bright idea was it to take up 2/3’s of your magazine with America’s Cup. Fascination, but not why I subscribe. To be denied windsurfing articles and stuff dreams are made of in the coldest month in the US (just about everywhere) is a crime. I feel so deprived! We buy your magazine to survive the long wait to windsurfing season.
If we wanted to read about yachting, we would buy one of those dozens of magazines out there already with an abundance of America’s Cup stories. OK, we-are-so-proud of you, you wonderful sailing women. RA-RA. We really ARE. There are not enough windsurfing magazines, so please don’t deny us our due.
Please re-read your printed goal on your subscription mailer. And practice what you preach. Sincerely, A Hardcore Nine-Year Veteran Windsurfer.
Toluca Lake, CA
Mike Zajicek’s spirit soared with the cover of Volume 3 Issue 4, but our mail room floor sank with the weight of letters about our interview with ANNABELLA HOFMANN entitled “The Sailing Game.” Sigi Hofmann was a former World Champion windsurfer. At the age of 43 Hofmann changed from Sigi to Annabella and began a six year struggle as a social and windsurfing outcast. Her story of survival within the indignities of our social norm was the source of heavy commentary to American Windsurfer.
After reading the interview with Annabella Hofman, (Issue 3.4) I felt it necessary to write and respond to the absolute courage and dignity of this wonderful person.
The problem with this sport is that our prejudices and racist views go out on the water with us; the issue here should not be sexual orientation, gender, or preference; the issue is just the wind and the waves. I have read a lot of articles in each issue of AW, and it seems to me that if these windsurfers with so much spirituality and heightened consciousness still blackball individuals involved in this sport due to their gender identity, then they really aren’t so spiritually “lifted” as they appear to be.
The reasons that we windsurf are all different; however, we all share the experience of the waves and the wind and nowhere “out there” in the oceans, lakes or rivers on which we express ourselves should there be the issue of sexuality, gender, or sexual orientation. It certainly is a pity when someone as talented as Annabella Hofmann is boycotted to the point of being forced to close a windsurfing school…does her gender identity change the way windsurfing is taught? I DON’T THINK SO!!!
This sport needs as many enthusiastic teachers and innovators as it can get, and it also needs an attitude adjustment on some of these male-oriented shop-owners and guy sailors whose only thoughts are narrow-minded and Neanderthal.
Bravo, Annabella, for having the courage to be the person you are. And shame on you all that can’t see beyond your own personal issues, fears and cruel ridiculing of others. It’s time that the windsurfing industry takes a look and sees itself for what it has become. It needs to try to promote a more positive image, and to right the wrongs it has incurred—namely, making an issue of gender and sexual orientation when the issue really is how we can all spend more time on the water, and support not only the love of the sport, but the love of the sport for EVERYONE.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
I received my free copy of American Windsurfer due to joining the USWA-it was going to be an automatic subscription. However, after climbing into bed with my glass of wine eager to enjoy your magazine, I was disgusted with the 20 pages you devoted to the transsexual, transvestite or whatever it was. Obviously, you are committed to failure. If I want that garbage it is on the talk shows every day. What looked like a classy magazine based on its cover turned into a disgusting turn-off! No Thanks!!
No address given
Story with Teeth
As co-editors of the only women’s windsurfing newsletter that I know of, we are constantly facing questions about “differences.” Those questions are always given the homogenous nature of participants in the sport of windsurfing. Your interview with Annabella Hoffman was inspiring from both a journalistic and humanistic point of view. I was moved by Annabella’s courage, integrity, and resistance. I was inspired by your willingness to give us a story with some teeth. We’ve put you both on our subscriber list in solidarity with your visions.
Co-Editor “Shreddin’ Bettys”
San Rafael, CA
Highest High: The ride in the backseat of an F-16 was one of the ultimate achievements for the magazine in the past decade. Piloting the craft was windsurfer Allan Gabel of the New Mexico Taco Air National Guard. American Windsurfer was the first publication to attaig a flight after an eight year ban on rides for journalists in the armed forces. The approval came out of the Pentagon after a four month review. The 2 hour 10 minute subsonic ride had a flight plan that covered four different windsurfing locations in New Mexico. During the flight the published interview was conducted.
What are we doing wrong? Have we gone so far as to provoke complacency among our usually vociferous readers? After putting fighter jets on the cover of our last issue, we were prepared to catch some grief about an apparent divergence from windsurfing. After all, when we published an issue about the America3 all women’s sailing team, (Volume 2, Issue 5) we were chastised for the irrelevancy to windsurfing, even though many of the subjects were windsurfers. But to our surprise, American Windsurfer’s F-16 ride garnered more praise than criticism in our mailbox. In fact, we only received one written vote against the cover-a hand-scribbled note on a subscription renewal card that stated the jets were “a bit over the edge.” The point is, he still renewed. That’s probably the best compliment we could receive in our mailbox any day. As for Captain Allan Gabel, our windsurfing fighter pilot: A top Air Force General called the squad one day from Washington D.C. By coincidence, Gabel answered the phone and identified himself. To his surprise, the general asked, “Is this the Windsurfing Gabel?” Apparently the general had seen the magazine on the newsstand and picked it up because of the F-16 cover.
Joy of Flight
I’ve read a flock of pilot reports on various flying machines, but very few that signaled the pure joy of flight that you share in your Windsurfer’s trek in the electric plane, the F-16. My cyclonic congratulations on your idea of an interactive voice presentation as you windsurfed at 30,000 feet and high Mach in the pure blue. Loved it! Your good buddy Doc, USAF Air Guard, strikes me as a superb I.P., Instructor Pilot. Could be he really learned about high performance flying on his windsurf board.
The Real McCoy
Wow! Terrific article! As an avid windsurfer and former Navy fighter pilot, I want to congratulate you on this accurate and sensitive article.
Accurate, because it takes the reader on an actual flight, with no hokey embellishments, and with unusually objective reporting of the flight. The radio and intercom transcription is recognizably the Real McCoy, and with over 5,000 hrs. in fighter aircraft, I sat and read with a huge smile on my face and continuous affirmative nods of approval at the flight experience on which you were taking the readership of American Windsurfer.
Sensitive, because of the real conversation between two humans reaching to each other with some common ground to introduce and explain some ground which was uncommon. The appreciation of the effects of speed, wind, and other aspects of our natural environment—like our sensations of cold and fatigue, along with the personal elements of challenge, perseverance and the mastery of skills are shared by the windsurfer and the fighter pilot.
Alone on my familiar board, rigged for speed, eyes squinting into the wind and glare, inviting any challenge, I am one for whom this article was written. I only wish I could have slipped the surly bonds of gravity with you myself. Keep up the outstanding work.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy American Windsurfer magazine. The editorial dynamism to feature interviews from Bjorn Dunkerbeck to a fighter pilot in New Mexico shows creativity and liveliness to the diversity of those that share our sport.
In addition to the insightful interviews, my second read is always the travel stories. I have always loved reading about far-off and exotic places to windsurf, but the true test of windsurf travel stories is given by my non-windsurfing girlfriend. The article on Bonaire evoked such colorful images that she wants to learn to windsurf…in Bonaire!
My final applause is on your choice of adding Screamers. Seeing the radical and extreme in windsurfing further displays the diversity and often courage of those that seek the thrill of handheld sailing. I may never land a loop, surfsail a wave as high as my house, or have a sail full of corporate sponsors, but seeing Robby Naish jump high into the sky with forty feet of air beneath his skeg leaves me in awe and admiration.
American Windsurfer has the right combination of ingredients that gives the reader a hearty taste of windsurfing. No one publication can capture all aspects of any activity, but American Windsurfer has given us a solid and navigable passage into the world of windsurfing. Keep up the great work!
MAKING NEWS: Volume 5 issue 5 caught the attention of several newspapers and television networks across the country. To quote a few clippings, Al Kamen of The Washington Post wrote: “(Kerry) picked up what may be the earliest endorsement yet from a key constituent group for the 2000 presidential race.” Stephen Gettinger of the Congressional Quarterly wrote: “Attention John Kerry fans: Your hero may walk on water…” Leah Garchik from the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “…profile of Kerry includes his profound thoughts about education and the spirituality of the Dali Lama…”
Since this publication in 1998, John Kerry has announced his candidacy for the presidency for 2004.
It was 1996, during a tight race between John Kerry and Governor Bill Weld for the Senate seat that Kerry had held for the previous two terms. The two Bay State giants were beating each other up badly in a desperate battle for the seat.
To prepare their candidate for a series of debates Kerry’s staff brought in political consultant Bob Schrum to help in the final two months of the campaign. The challenge was to take whatever provocations the opposition threw at him and turn them into his own message.
Bruce Droste, Kerry’s brotherly best friend, sat and watched the preparations and thought to himself, “This is brutal!” Afterwards, in the car, Droste noticed Kerry’s countenance and asked, “Johnny, are you OK?” Kerry turned to Droste and replied, “You know, the negativity of the last weeks is not fun. This is not the way it should be. This [process] is distasteful.” The two men looked at each other and with a nod, acknowledged the brutality that politics has on human sensitivity.
Kerry went on to win the toughest and most expensive election of his career, a race that cost each camp 12 million dollars. [During his celebrated acceptance speech and shortly after the bitter battle that saw Weld’s team attack very personally, John Kerry rose above the storm and invited Bill Weld to join him at a local pub so that they could put the past behind them by having a beer of civility.]
Six months later, Weld made a bid for the ambassadorship to Mexico-a move that unfortunately brought his political career to a screeching halt. Firmly planted in his way was an intransigent and powerful Jesse Helms, who refused to open the door for a simple hearing. Seeing the injustice, Kerry could have easily stayed in the background. Instead he stood up against the potent Helms and wholeheartedly came to the aid of Weld—his 12 million dollar foe.
Excerpt from Editor’s intro to THE WINDSURFER WHO COULD BE PRESIDENT
AW 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.
Really like the article about John Kerry. Seems he and I have traveled 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
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. 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.
Point Pleasant, NJ
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. 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.
The Viet Cong snipers were regularly taking pot shots at his Navy gun boat known as a PCF-a Patrol Craft Fast or Swift Boat. The 25-year-old commander of PCF-94 was getting pretty fed up. He and his crew of six were part of an operation known as Sealords-the Navy’s daring plan to penetrate the dangerous but vital waterways of the Mekong Delta. Like scenes from Francis Ford Copola’s Apocalypse Now, the swift boats became prime targets for the ambush-minded Viet Cong lurking in the dense jungle lining the river banks.
Quietly, John Kerry formulated a battle plan to confront the threat and waited for the right moment. Then one day, when Kerry was in command of a three boat raid, bullets came flying from mangroves on the side of the river. Kerry turned his Swift boat 90˚ to the right and ordered the others to follow full speed into the heart of the ambush. He rammed his boat onto shore and with his crew, chased the enemy on foot until they were eliminated.
A few moments later, while investigating gunfire a little further upstream, a rocket blast blew out all the windows in the mid part of the boat. Kerry beached again in the middle of the ambush and routed the enemy the second time.
This strategy was a change from previous Swift boat engagements which had almost always resulted in a quick firefight and retreat. When news of the heroic deed (and that not a single man under Kerry’s command was wounded) reached Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Commander of Naval Forces in Vietnam, the Admiral put Kerry up for our country’s second-highest honor, the Navy Cross.
“It was an act of bravery beyond the call of doctrine,” said the now-retired Admiral. But then, to impact morale, the Admiral decided to by-pass Washington’s approval for the Navy Cross and flew immediately to the Delta where he awarded Kerry the Silver Star and decorated each of the men who participated in the raid. It was his act of personal respect for the leadership Kerry had exhibited
Excerpts from intro to THE WINDSURFER WHO COULD BE PRESIDENT
This story began six months ago when I received a “Letter to the Editor” from a young man in Florida. He described his sad story and professed his admiration for our publication. Though he made it clear that he wasn’t looking for handouts, he did ask if we wouldn’t mind sending him one of the bound books of our past issues. I was delighted to do so. His letter was so very eloquent and moving that I decided to send him a tape recorded message challenging him to write an article for the magazine. I told him that he had the gift of writing and a unique perspective on life. I also told him that few of us have the opportunity to explore the capacity of the mind as we are filled with distractions and vanities. Two weeks later, the first article ever written by Gavin Grow arrived in our office. Excerpts from Editor’s intro to BEACHED by Gavin Grow
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.
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 windsurfing 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 Clark
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Thanks so much for sending me the issue of American Windsurfer featuring Gavin Grow. Your friend,
Two years after the article on this windsurfer, paralyzed by a motorcycle accident appeared donations from readers of American Windsurfer funded a lift-van to liberate Gavin Grow from his 15-year isolation. We were there along with Arthur de Haan and Mike Gebhardt to witness the happy occasion.
Matt Schweitzer’s cover provoked numerous praises from our readers as well as the Schweitzer family. We hand-delivered a copy to Maui and spent an afternoon with the “original windsurfing family.” But when the dust settled, it became apparent that Windsurfing’s roots go much deeper than what we covered. Check out the Darby vs Drake letter on page 23. It would seem that there is more to the history than had first met our eyes. We shipped 6,000 copies of this issue to the Dusseldorf Boat show in Germany this January. A retailer from Munich marveled at “such an antique magazine” when he saw the cover. All the magazines disappeared in two days.
Volume 5 Issue 1: Tough indoor Windsurfing in France was our cover, it was the Newman Darby Files that proved to be popular with our readers. Not only did the issue reached a record number of windsurfers, it also reached the desk of the Smithsonian Institude as well as the desks of ABC 20/20. Both are preparing documentations on inventions which the Darby’s story compliments. See page 80 for the second half of Darby’s interview as well as page 16 for more Darby celebrations.
I was really impressed by your last issue with our sport’s co-inventor interviews. I think Mr. Drake hit it on the button about the sport needing a rebirth with equipment that works in 8-10 knots that are far more common than 15-25 knots. I think a lot of “old-timers” such as myself, feel the same way. But talk is cheap! Perhaps, of its own accord, windsurfing will gradually come around again, but how long will it take for people to realize that radical wave jumping in Hawaii can only be enjoyed by a very tiny percentage of the windsurfing population?
I’ve just begun to get into wave sailing for the first time and feel like I’m learning all over again. It’s great. But I still enjoy cruising on my one-design. In fact, I had an exhilarating day of sailing on San Francisco Bay last summer, checking out the beaches outside the Gate and coming back in around Angel Island and Alcatraz. The longboard possesses the potential for broadening the horizons for all windsurfers of all skill levels.
As of late, I have been promoting the upcoming World Windsurfing Tour which not only promotes the elite wavesailing events but a longboard series as well. It is our idea that this Tour helps to initiate a movement back to “our roots.” Sounds corny, but we hope to bring the social, family and fun atmosphere back to windsurfing.
As the editor of American Windsurfer, you are also one of the sports shapers. Perhaps we could do something in that vein to start us down the right path.
Jim Drake’s Magic
Christmas is over and we’re into ‘97. Finally, I’ve gotten around to my American Windsurfer. My only reaction is WOW! What a wonderful look at the history of our sport. I particularly loved the original drawing and explanation of how “the thing” works. Jim Drake truly created the “magic” Yeh, Yeh, Yeh!
Wonderful cover and wonderful freestyle of Matt! We also had a brush with melanoma about 15 years ago, hence we changed our life: and wind fishing, Wow again!
Keep up the good work. We hope our “Keeper of the Flame” comes next!
Mike & Ann Adair
Merritt Is, FL
The Darby Files
Many thanks for running the features on Newman and Naomi. In the absence of a windsurfing museum, this becomes all the more important. The Darby files represent a major part of the history of our sport, yet Newman gets so little recognition. To my knowledge, the last significant article covering Darby was the Nautical Quarterly in 1982.
By now, you realize that this man has been sitting on a gold mine of information. Yet, this was precariously close to being lost and forgotten. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following up on this. Your article was well done.
Just a quick note to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
For the first time in my 28 years, I read an article, Origins of Windsurfing, about my father that truly captured his facts, creative spirit and pleasantly eccentric nature. (I also enjoyed how you very accurately portrayed Mom, her role and vantage point). It is my regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet with you when you were in Jacksonville.
(Unfortunately, my work takes me away from home more that preferred). Mom and Dad spoke (and speak) sooo highly of you; it was wonderful to see the kindness you showed to them in the dedication of such an extensive article.
I’ve always been proud of my folks. Dad has never been a terribly strong businessman, but he’s one of the smartest and most honest people I know . . . and that’s better than being street smart. So, I personally thank you for looking beyond the economic/political issues flying all around the history of windsurfing and listening to Mom and Dad. They’ve been there for many years (with evidence and proof overflowing), just waiting and hoping for someone caring enough to research and publish the truth. It’s just extra lucky that person happened to be as talented as you! (The pictures of them are perfect —exactly how they really are!) Dad has loved the sport since it’s inception—through all of my life. It is truly emotional for me to see the sport show him some of that caring back. You have many friends in Jacksonville, Florida, and Pennsylvania, too, that you probably don’t even know. Thank you again!
W. Darby Brown
New Levels of LOW
The photo on page 88/89 (“Accidental Tourist”) is an appalling essay on the level of garbage you are circulating through your medium of the magazine. It is offensive to women who windsurf, to women who don’t windsurf, and to any male with class. You have hit new levels of LOW in a “family” sport and magazine. If you are only looking for reactions, I’m sure you are successful through this, which to all who have seen it, is “pornographic material.” You must be hitting new levels of desperation in media if you need such material to gain reactions and reader responses. If you are not looking for reactions but find nothing wrong with such photos in your family/action-sports publication, you will need to reassess your editing and your values. What ARE you thinking???? Are you targeting your magazine to the 20-something degenerate male market? If so, American Windsurfer then belongs in the porno section of the newsstand, well below Playboy (which at least exhibits some restraint and taste).
If I had a subscription, I would cancel it immediately. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I haven’t one to cancel. What a contrast in principles that I am dealing, through coaching, with young “professionally minded” men and women who pursue an Olympic sport with heart and diligence, whilst their sport is portrayed in such a light. It’s shameful.
“Accidental Reader” Hong Kong
Ranks of a Howard Stern
I would like to start out by saying that I usually enjoy the creative content of your magazine. The pictures and editorial content by far blow away any other windsurfing related publications out there. I was slightly shocked several issues ago when you did an article entitled “The French Connection.” You pictured the bottom half of a naked woman walking down the beach. Although shocked at your choice of displaying a naked crotch I endured on enjoying your magazine. Now you have really crossed the line! Your center photo on the “Accidental Tourist” article was out of control. It’s bad enough that young men degrade women by viewing naked pictures of them. But for you to publish that spread, (and I mean spread) brings your publication equal to the ranks of a Howard Stern!
Keep up the good work and “F” Jackie!
I’m sure this isn’t the only communication like this you’ve received, but I feel compelled to add my voice especially since I find your magazine to generally be not only well-written and interesting but to reflect a point of view on larger issues that I support. I am extremely unhappy with your decision to publish in your most recent issue the photograph of PWA sailors viewing and touching pornographic pictures.
The usual caveat: I support your first amendment right to publish whatever the hell you want, and I have no objection to (and have in fact enjoyed a variety of) artistic representations of nudity. I object to what appeared in your magazine because:
1. The images of women were an extreme representation of the objectification of women. There was no trace of humanity or eroticism, only the degradation of both the women and their viewers to a view of women as a soulless sexual commodity.
2. There is no redeeming content or purpose against which to balance point “1” above. The only possible reason for inclusion I can figure out is to make a point about the kind of life the individuals in the photograph were leading. Given the context of the article, it was certainly not the intention of the author or editor to argue that PWA sailors led pathetic existences in which they found value and entertainment in handling low-grade pornography. The only thing added to the article is a profoundly negative spin on what being a world-class windsurfer is like. Given American Windsurfer’s consistent editorial viewpoint that windsurfing is a sport which provides positive karma to its participants, and generally attracts participants which share and give back this positive energy, I am actually mystified by the logical process which led you to include it.
3. I know from your previous issue that you have children likely to thumb through windsurfing magazines. So do I my daughters are only 6 and 9, but have long been riding on my boards and looking at my magazines for years. It is extraordinarily irresponsible to put images like the one in your latest issue where they might be viewed by young children without, at the very least, a warning that the magazine contains content that requires parental discretion. Fortunately, I saw it first. There is no certainty that this would be the case, and in some households, I am sure it was not.
My inclination (strongly urged by my windsurfing spouse) was to cancel my subscription. I am delaying that decision to see if there is some plausible reason (like an editorial oversight) for this decision, and to see if an abject apology to your readers is on the way. I am only delaying because of my very positive impression of your outlook, and your commitment to the sport, demonstrated by the last several years of your magazine. Again, it is certainly your right to publish whatever you think is good editorial content. I can assure you that if this is in any way a normal output of your editorial process, my cancellation will follow shortly. Good wind.
Again, it is certainly your right to publish whatever you think is good editorial content. I can assure you that if this is in any way a normal output of your editorial process, my cancellation will follow shortly. Good wind.
Associate Professor Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics
The University of Georgia
We have always welcomed constructive criticism and this letter certainly exemplifies the values for such a treasure. Your spirit of graciousness and eloquence are felt and appreciated. As embarrassing as it may be, the simple fact was that we did not see the center photo in the image until after it was printed. We saw all the surrounding photos and thought they were suitable for the publication. Unfortunately, the demeaning image in the middle of the photograph slipped through the of sight everyone who worked on the issue even in the pre-press stages. I can assure you publishing this revealing photo was not a conscious decision to provoke valued readers such as yourself. After catching the blunder, we attempted to alert subscribers by printing a warning note on the shipping label. While this does not erase our mistake, your letter and willingness to await explanations exemplify the patience of many offended readers. Such a nurturing grace gives us much joy in the making of this publication. Thank you for the opportunity to put it into perspective. We are very proud to find your letter in this issue.
I’m sure you’re expecting this. Last weekend you came to our place and checked our new facility, then left your magazine at my shop. Only later did I realize that inside that issue you let “slip” another porno page just for the controversy of it. I wonder why didn’t you do the same on the previous issue, with Dave Johnson’s (president of North Sports) kids as well as yours in the middle. It might have stirred an even better “response.” I have children and don’t appreciate you leaving porno trash under the mask of windsurfing at their reach. I have heard that you told someone that you only noticed it after it was printed. In that case, you are either a lousy editor or if you were responsible and concerned you would have removed that page from each issue. Please remove us from your magazine list, as well as advertising. I want nothing to do with that image.
I thought I was “the diehard windsurfer” who read every issue of every windsurfing magazine through and through, missing no details and absorbing all the latest tips and action shots. However, after reading last issue’s AIR MAIL, I realized I must now view each issue with a giant magnifying glass, so as not to miss anything.
American Windsurfer and its staff have never failed to capture windsurfing around the world in its fullest detail, which takes me on a journey with each issue. I feel that everyone who reads the magazine is left well informed and itching to get on the water which supports our sport. These guys are real core windsurfers who sponsor other aspects of our sport more so than any of the other windsurfing magazines, so a minor booboo can easily be overlooked. By the way, Tinho, those are pretty suggestive tikis you carved and placed in front of your shop. Do they represent fertility gods or what? Go ahead and cast those stones, as I’m sure the ones who wrote in to complain are as pure as the driven snow.
Enjoy Being Offended
There has been a lot of controversy about your last issue on-line about the nude magazine being shown in such clarity in the article about the PWA Tour. I personally could care less and found it quite humorous. I guess some people were offended, although, some people enjoy being offended. I enjoyed seeing the tour from a wave sailor’s perspective. Your magazine has always had an eclectic mix of people and events from the various corners of windsurfing. I have not always agreed with everything you print, but diversity is what makes life interesting. Keep up the good work.
USWA Northeast Regional Director
President, Cape Cod Windsurfing Association
I was surprised st the amount of bad press you received about the “Accidental Tourist” article. I quite enjoyed the issue and can say that I have seen the same and worse in women’s catalogs sent to my house. Keep including sexy females and males in all your issues. I also hope to see Douglas Faulkner’s underwater nudes in an upcoming issue. . . Keep up the great work with your magazine and please renew my subscription.
Today I received the current issue of “American Windsurfer.” The letter to the editor sent me searching for my copy of AW which ran “The Accidental Tourist” article. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I got out my bifocals and still was unable to find anything objectionable. I am a long time and fairly accomplished wind sailor. I am also a committed feminist and I am heterosexual.
I am sorry to see that the sport is being infiltrated by so many uptight, sex-obsessed individuals. I say print more nudity of both sexes! The majority of us are open-minded, free spirits. Nudity is not a problem. Violent images associated with sexual images are the problem. I wonder if any of the prim-Puritans who expressed their outrage have spent much time in Europe where there is a much healthier attitude about the human body.
Sue Anne Schleif
With curiosity, I read the letters about “the case” of the photos with the naked woman. Typical American! Here in Europe, no one would even look at it. It is the same sick mentality that powered the 40 million dollar case against Clinton and his private problems with sex. What’s disgusting is not the photo nor publishing the photo. 1) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—obscenity too!!!! 2) The finger that points to the moon is not the moon!
You did not have in mind to turn your mag into a photo collection for frustrated young American males. Showing that photo is a sign of serious journalism! Suppressing it would mean to live in countries like the one of Milosevic, like Afghanistan, Sudan, Burma, China and so on. The so-called “protection of the reader’s mind” is often championed when it comes to sex but never mentioned when it comes to violence. When I read cases like this, I am glad not to live in such a Victorian Puritanic country as the USA.
The arguments in the letters lack basic logic. The intention of the article has been to show the lives of a MALE windsurf traveler. And like it or not, sex magazines are very much part of it. How can some of your readers ask you to falsify your report and on the other side expect you to write honest articles? I wonder why not one of the letters mentioned the behavior of the windsurfer!!! Instead, they pick on you.
Where’s the “I’m Sorry”
Many times I have been tempted to write to an editor but have never followed through with it. This time, I will.
First, I wish to express my disappointment in your lack of apology for your mistake. If I interpreted some of your comments from an earlier issue correctly, you do not have much admiration for our President. However, note the similarities in your explanation of a major blunder to that of our President’s explanations of his mistake. Where’s the “I’m sorry”? . . .
Stevens Point, WI
How do you spell. . .
How do you spell “APOLOGIZE?” Your last Forecast really missed the mark responding to critics of the Accidental Tourist story. You allude to the need to apologize, but instead, you go on to whine (even though you said you weren’t) that your mistake overshadowed all the good things you think that the magazine does. Then, you try to engage us in your distortion of your editorial blunder by talking about the imperfect world we live in, that windsurfing is an imperfect sport, and that there are bigger things to be learned.
So what is it that you learned? What can you commit to your readership in the future? From what I can tell, all you’ve learned is to spell apologize as “RATIONALIZE.”
Let’s Get Real
You were way too apologetic about the content of the one photo in “Accidental Tourist.” I’ve always enjoyed American Windsurfer’s wide range of topics & pictures, even when the topics are more about life than sailing. By my way of thinking, this photo depicts a very real part of life. Approve or disapprove—it’s real, but not a real problem. It seems that a lot of people are uncomfortable with sexuality. This is a problem. You know no one caught the real problem photo in the same article. It’s the one of the author drinking & driving. Come on, people get your priorities straight. Get real!
Can Not Believe
I can not believe the prudish attitude of your “middle class” readers that complained so bitterly about the “RUDE” photo in your last issue. Maybe the whole image of Windsurfing needs a shake up. One gets the impression from your magazine, and the other one especially, that to windsurf you should be a professional, such as an engineer or a dentist or anesthesiologist or similar. So forget the self–righteous, bigoted, bourgeois, whining minority and get some ATTITUDE! Personally, I am upset that I missed that issue; it sounds really interesting!
As I am a new subscriber, maybe you could send me a copy with my next issue delivery. It seems that you can’t give them away over there, so maybe you could give me a few extra copies to hand out to my friends. They will be really happy for sure! Regards
The most talked about article in Issue 7.3/4 is “The Insider”. This sensitive interview with a former North/Mistral associate has captured many European readers and the fall-out over the information has just begun. German Surf magazine officially published an attack on American Windsurfer’s motivation, as considerable links to www.americanwindsurfer.com have been made. This article proved to be a major turning point for the windsurfing industry.
I have been following the Maui test reports with immense interest and delight. Finally an effort for an honest test by the people that matter: the customers. Well done, AW for making this happen!!!
However, the real reason for this letter is the issue of North Sports test boards, or rather, the lack of. I just can’t help it but have to reply regarding this matter. To put it bluntly, I can’t just sit by and watch this arrogance and stupidity by one of the so–called market leaders in the windsurf industry.
I was the Managing Director of the company that manufactured the Mistral boards in Germany and Malaysia, and therefore, I believe, qualified to make some observations.
I can’t say I am surprised by the behavior of North Sports, which as you may know, is a subsidiary of the Mistral Sports Group. During the time that I was responsible for the production of Mistral boards, on a number of occasions, Mistral requested “special” boards to be produced for the German surf magazine tests. These boards even had to be air–freighted (at great expense!) to reach the test locations on time.
When I now read that North Sports requires payment for the provision of test boards for the Maui test session with real people and not world cup riders, this just blows my top. Perhaps “special boards” couldn’t be done on time??? Or maybe the American market is not important enough? How North Sports can so blatantly disregard such an important marketing opportunity is hard to understand. Do they really think, that because they have almost 50% of the world market share (Mistral, Fanatic, F2), they don’t need customer feedback anymore??
But upon reflecting on this issue, there is some benefit to this development, as it will give you an opportunity to test the products of the more innovative and customer–oriented brands, such as Starboards, RRD etc. that are probably more deserving anyway. Keep up the good work.
Dr. Kurt Svrcula
We flew to Malaysia and talked with this mysterious Dr. Kurt. What we uncovered was not only sobering but also inspiring (see The Insider on page 42). The decision to charge for equipment was made by the US importer and not from the international parent company. In the past, the Euros have been very supportive of AW. No response came from the US office.
Against The Insider
After reading your interview “The Insider” with Dr. Kurt Svrcula we were, of course, really upset with Mistral. The more we investigated, the more we realized that a big part of Mr. Svrcula’s reproaches are definitely wrong. I want to comment on the most important reproaches in this interview because that’s at the expense of our reputation:
1. From the boards mentioned in the interview, that were allegedly produced by EFK, as said, as a special order from Mistral for the surf magazine test, Surf magazine never requested or tested the following products he quoted: Mistral Flow 260, Classic 315, Mistral One Design.
2. From the remaining boards, only the Classic 276 and the Explosion 295 came from the production site in Malaysia. The other boards were produced by Fritzmayer in Germany. This, in fact, weakens most of the allegations against us.
3. Surf magazine published an article in issue 6/98, where we compared the weights of sixty test boards with the weights of corresponding products in surf shops (we did it twice) and with the weights manufacturers published in their catalogs. We weighed 180 boards. This was the result of the investigation:
Most of the brands revealed insignificant weight differences of the boards, either up or down on the scale. We assume that these differences are due to tolerance factors during production. The average weight deviation of the Mistral test boards to the figures in their catalog has been not higher compared to other brands (AHD:-2.52 %; Bic:-1.26%; JP:-2.3 %; Mistral:-2.12 %; RRD:-2.1%; Starboard:-4.4 %; Tiga: +2.2 %)
4. Surf magazine has an agreement with every manufacturer, to cut boards in half that attract attention with very little weight. We have the consent to check the construction at any time after the test.
5. How little insight the so-called “insider” Svrcula had into the organization of the surf test is revealed in his statement that five to six world cup riders test boards that have nothing in common with the boards an ordinary windsurfer can buy in a shop. Let me tell you first: We have seven testers in our test team and only one participates “without any sponsors” in freestyle world cups. And secondly, we make spot checks that all the test boards have the same shape as the products in the shop display.
6. Mr. Svrcula mocks our testers performing duck jibes and helicopter jibes on these boards. Let me tell you that we have a special test routine and the boards will be tested according to what they have been developed for. During seven weeks we tested performance and maneuverability of the products. And in addition, the testers perform freestyle moves on freestyle boards. That’s what they are made for, aren’t they?
I would like to make some general statements on the test: SURF magazine carries out the most extended test and “in our opinion” the most independent and the most objective test worldwide. It is known as a fact, that American Windsurfer asks the manufacturers to pay freight expenses for this test on their own. The freight expenses for our test in South Africa come to DM 40,000,00. Together with the expenses for the team and logistics our costs rise to DM 120,000,00 (and that’s only talking about the test in South Africa). Of course, we pay these expenses. I would like to invite you to the next test of SURF magazine, to give you an idea of our professionalism, accuracy, and effort we put to run a test.
(chief editor) Surf Magazine
AMERICAN WINDSURFER REPLY TO SURF: We have the utmost regard for the German surf magazine and agree that when it comes to equipment tests, you guys have the highest professional standards of any publication in the world.
But after reading the article in your magazine, we are amazed that Surf magazine would take a position that lawyers call “character assassination” of not only Dr. Kurt but also of our publisher/editor. We can understand if AW published an interview where we contributed to the attack of Mistral by adding comments that indicated that the magazine did not support Mistral, then you would have NEWS and a base for your article. But rather than stating the facts which you did in your letter to us, in your article, you attacked us personally. Magazines are allowed to print what people choose to say. Printing what they say in an interview does not mean that the magazine agrees or sides with the subject.
In the case of your counter article, it is unfortunate that you chose to cross the line of reporting and became a pawn in a premeditated attack on the characters involved rather than the facts. This is a line of diverting blame which is a form of defense used by the guilty.
From what I read in your article, it looks like SURF magazine is in bed with Mistral and rather than printing what Mistral had to say, the magazine added comments that were not direct quotes. This, unfortunately, personalizes your involvement with AW and Dr. Kurt and does victimize the credibility of your great magazine.
For the record, AW does not make money on our equipment test. Our practice of inviting paying testers to be in the test is in line with the other tests conducted in the U.S. to help pay the bills. Unlike the other magazines’ tests, we spend more money to provide live virtual tests on our website (www.americanwindsurfer.com) and a video that is provided FREE to our readers. This video is also being distributed to other magazines around the world. No other tests do this. So this “disguised” equipment test does indeed hide our effort to make it worthwhile for companies like Mistral. This extra effort and cost are not required of us. But we do it as a service to our readers.
Also for the record, if you read what Dr. Kurt said, he said that X, Y, Z boards were built and shipped to test. He did not refer to which boards eventually got tested. There are many issues that have to do with Dr. Kurt which he will take up with you. For now, we would challenge you to print this reply, as we will print your letter to us. We also challenge you to print the full interview of Dr. Kurt. We will provide you this FREE of charge and let your readers decide for themselves what the real truth may be. We believe the interview was a positive step for the future of the sport. —Editor AW
The big story for the issue had to be the coverage on the 1998 Trans–Atlantic Windsurf Race TAWR. With the accompanying video, this is the biggest windsurfing story of the decade. “Hard Copy” and “Real TV” both aired segments of the TAWR. Several airlines including Virgin Atlantic have the TAWR as part of their in-flight entertainment. “Outside” magazine did a piece called “Surf’s Up-and So Is My Lunch.” Speaking of lunch, how would you like to race from Portugal to the Grand Canaries and then to Brazil? That’s what’s in store for the next TAWR in March of 2000. Stay tuned! Don’t touch that dial!
TRANS-ATLANTIC MIS-ADVENTURE sparked reactions and provided entertainment. A half-hour televised documentary was shown on OLN Network and negotiations about resuming the race are being made for late November or early February 2001.
TAWR: A Basic Lie
Your extensive, and quite redundant, recent coverage of the Trans-Atlantic Windsurf Race (TAWR) made me finally understand a problem I always had with windsurfing. The problem is a lack of sailorship, which translates into a lack of humility toward the sea and the elements.
Example 1. Recently I “rescued” a windsurfer. His problem was far from being serious and the location and conditions were not life-threatening. (San Francisco Bay area off-shore wind around twenty knots). The unlucky guy’s sail outhaul broke, and he was not able to tie the sail to the boom with the surviving piece of rope. The problem was of course, that nobody had taught him how to do so in cold water, chop, and wind, with a tiny piece of rope (nor, I am sure, how he could have tied himself to a rope in case he needed to be rescued in “high seas”).
Example 2. The never ending sequence of the X-treme inspired videotapes and articles about shredding waves, insane moves, power over nature at a rock and roll pace, and hyper-inflated risk-taking which often gets just ridiculous. Guys, you go so far as to inform us, page 3, that “camera and lens were damaged by the storm.” Wow!
Example 3. The TAWR and your coverage: Besides mentioning the fact that the TAWR is basically a lie (you cannot sail across the ocean on a “standard” windsurfer, unless you elect to sleep in the water), any sailor would tell you that those pitiful RIBs (loaded with equipment or not) are not a safe way to cross the Atlantic (even across a southern route), nor to serve as support ship. They might make it, out of sheer luck, but they will fail when exposed to anything higher than, say, force 8, for an extended period of time (Really, does anybody think that a sailboard tied to the deck as shown on page 91, will survive even a few small, by ocean standards, breaking waves?).
It is pure luck that nobody died in this affair and that the Coast Guard could still be called in—just add a hundred miles out and what would have happened?
So, I don’t know, I guess people can elect to risk their lives as they please. But it is sad to see your magazine explicitly and actively supporting a commercial activity which has little to do with sailorship, or even honest recognition of what windsurfing is: just a wonderful play thing which can be enjoyed off of a beach for a few hours.
There is a link between the windsurfer that has not been taught to tie a rope, a wave shredding mentality, and the TAWR. It is the same basic ignorance of what the sea can do to you.
You have some interesting observations about windsurfers. I’m curious whether you’ve read the articles. The three articles were really about the very thing that you are talking about – respect for the ocean.
Re—TAWR a Basic Lie
Thank you for your reply. To answer your question, yes I did read the articles and I got, as is often the case, a mixed impression from their content. Indeed, some of the writers (and you in particular) express feelings and doubts similar to mine. At the same time, there are other negatives in the articles that I did not mention, for example, the stress on the “competition.”
It is hard to consider the TAWR a “competition” when clearly the rules are not well defined and one team (as it transpires from the articles) had more appropriate sailboards and “secret weapons”.
Your voice comes across as considerate (in, e.g., your praise of the Brazilian team), but the net result is that the advertisement from “THE LOFT” claims having won the TAWR (over a field composed of (sigh) two teams).
So, yes I read and for my (and of course I stress my, I am not the editor!) sensibility and priorities the space dedicated to the TAWR should have been a short note—a shorter article than the one dedicated to the woman sailing alone across the Atlantic on a “windsurfer.”
But still it is interesting and at a minimum, it serves the purpose of stimulating nice discussions.
firstname.lastname@example.org.EDU (Davide Verotta)
We take tremendous delight in provoking reactions. Perhaps it comes down to a perspective of a cup half empty or half full. Your points are well taken though; in time sensibilities may change and the cup appears fuller. One thing is for sure—stimulation is a must. Competition? Both teams faced the same challenge: one team had more funding; the other was better prepared. It was competition to the max! Mano a mano.
. . . We took windsurfing to a new level. In the process, we held the power of the Atlantic in our hands. We danced to the rhythm of its rambling waves. We saw the fury of a raging storm and we got sobered (clobbered) by the siren songs of this seemingly simple sea.
It haunts us now. Like the way the wind haunts us with desire. We call it communion and when it’s over, what’s left is a message that echoes through the chambers of our souls.
Conquer not the fury of My essence but be transformed. For I give you life . . .to silence your savage ways.” From THE GREAT TRANS-ATLANTIC ADVENTURE Volume 7 Issue 3/4
HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU KID: In the town of Mazagan, down the coast of Casablanca, the ritual of watching the sea is no different than all the other beach towns around the world. The TAWR Team ran into their first storm that arose in the middle of the night. Miracoulously in the poorly charted coast, they found this only sheltered harbor within 200 miles. Here, they were pinned down for three days by hurricane force winds that blew trailer trucks to their sides. The reprieve provided time to organize their weathered RIBS (left) and eventually, during a break in the storm, tour and photograph the nearby village.
The eyes of mortal men have gazed seaward since the beginning of time.
The imprints of our human play are contained by the sacred boundary of the water’s edge. Beyond lies the sanctity of the most beautiful planet seen by human eyes. These oceans are the last bastion where dreams can be found, where life can be renewed.
Those reaching beyond the shores of human habitation become celebrated explorers, for they have become enlightened by the sea. They have seen the gazing eyes of a distant land and have returned to review the condition of their own internal states. They are soaked by the molecules of a sustaining sea and now gaze back into the ways of their ignorant past.
For those of us who have ventured on the Trans-Atlantic Windsurf Race, we have seen the glory of a sunrise and the afterglow of a sunset. We have watched the movement of a day without the clutter of a ragged edge. We were blessed by schools of swimming angels whose sprightly contact filled our inner souls with hope.
But we have also been forewarned by the rages of an offending force. For living through the darkness of a midnight storm, we are faced with our blatant insignificance. Still, it was not until the calmness of a flat sea, in the stillness of a sleeping giant, that we truly discern the frailty of our existence.
It was only when the ocean becalmed itself that we saw—on the surface—the scathing scars inflicted on a sanctuary we thought so very . . . unreachable.
Epilogue from THE GREAT TRANS-ATLANTIC ADVENTURE Volume 7 Issue 3/4
Please tell John Chao that his Forecast essay/editor’s notes are absolutely inspiring. Now beginning my second year as a windsurfing “professional”, I have come to count on his succinct, yet informative and piercing, perspective on the currents and issues that swirl through the world of windsurfing.
I want to feel good about my involvement in this industry. (Do we really have to call it that?). It’s not unusual for all midlife career changers such as myself to look for meaningful purpose in our endeavors. I hope to be in a position some day to contribute significantly to the sport at large, and I do not think it is overreaching to hope that, through my involvement in windsurfing, I can find a way to help make the world a better place.
I share John’s tendency to look at most everything in life with a philosophical bent and I’ve found that I can often return to his philosophical opinions in these columns as sort of a daily business devotional. They remind and inspire me to be responsible to the industry and to the environment on which it is dependent.
After all, windsurfing is always “soul surfing” if you ask me. We must respect the foundation of this activity: windsurfing is nothing less than a private dance with the “soul-motive forces” of this planet and the Universe. These forces were first described in a sacred manner by the 17th Century astronomer, Johannes Kepler. Contemplating the night sky a century prior to Newton’s Law of Gravity, Kepler attempted to understand the nature of the force that moved the planets about their orbital paths. He used the Latin terms “vis” (motive power) and “anima” (soul) to describe this force. And that is what windsurfing is about— each session a brief joining with the actual “vis/anima” of all creation. Awesome, huh? Damn right. No wonder that first experience on a full plane, hooked in, in the footstraps, is so overwhelming to mere mortals—and utterly indescribable to the uninitiated. It’s a very rare and precious privilege, this dance with the vis/anima. Cherish it each time; protect the alter.
Steve Scoville, a wave surfing writer who understands these things, once wrote in Surfer’s Journal (v.8, Summer 99) the following description which I shall slightly rephrase: “(Wind)surfing is an orientation, an approach to life. A way of addressing a challenge. A culture of open-ended cheerfulness. A secret world where dedication, practice, and an understanding of the ocean (and wind’s) subtle language are rewarded with moments of pure, fluid bliss. A kinetic conversation with (the wind) and the sea. An ongoing process of stylistic, technical and cultural innovation to broaden and enlarge that conversation. Exploration of the frontier. A relentless search for a relationship of joy with the (wind and water).” Amen and amen.
Whitecap Windsurfing Inc.
Love of Fellow Man
This is the first I’ve heard of the TAWR2000 and I must say I’m very excited about it! I’m looking forward to being “involved” in the race from a spectator’s point of view. I began my love for sailing on these hard to master ‘devices’ years ago and to envision someone to sail across one of our oceans is, to me, a remarkable feat to say the least! I am presently sailing a Santana 21 on a beautiful lake here in the land-locked state of New Mexico called Heron. We love our sailing as much here as anyone with H2o to spare! The brotherhood of sailing knows no boundary, no state line, no border, no country, we live for the wind, the water, the sail and most important of all the love of fellow man.
Rio Rancho, NM
Preserving Beauty. . .
I share your view that the urgent problem of species extinction and the conservation of biological diversity should be addressed. The first step in saving any plant or animal from extinction is to become aware of and respect the fragile ecosystems that make up our environment. I believe that the treatment of all living things is a reflection of the true compassion and maturity of a society.
All animals and plants help make our natural surroundings more diverse and should be protected to ensure the preservation of a healthy environment. Please be assured that I will be working to protect all endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.
Again, thank you for sharing your interest in preserving the beauty of nature for future generations. Please accept my best wishes and
sincere hopes for your continued success.
The White House
3 Laws of Windsurfing (with apologies to Newman Darby)
Once upon a long time ago, the world’s first windsurfer (Isaac Newton) sat down under an apple tree, taking a well-deserved break after a two-hour session in 4.0 winds. The break didn’t last long, as the magnetic effect of the high winds refused to let poor Isaac get very relaxed. Rising to return to the water, he failed to see the large apple speeding rapidly downward toward his head. The apple, having been displaced by the unusually strong winds and assisted on its way to Isaac’s head by a yet to be identified quirk of nature (later named “gravity”), conked old Isaac right on the bean, knocking him out cold.
Regaining consciousness an hour later, our hero began a systematic analysis of the sequence of events that had not only temporarily removed him from the realm of reality, but had also caused his rig and board to be swept out to sea as the tide came in. He thought, “I was resting under this tree while that apple rested above me on its limb. As I began to return to my board . . . by the way, where is my board?. . the apple jumped on my head and knocked me out, forcing me to rest some more.”
At that very moment, Isaac realized that two fundamental principles of windsurfing had miraculously been revealed to him. He shouted to the empty beach, “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force.” (Isaac was a pseudo-scientist and talked like that all the time.) It was immediately obvious that his had been the “body” at rest and in motion while the apple must have been the “external force” that acted upon the “body.”
Now Isaac was no fool. Back in his laboratory, he began to realize that an apple cannot be a “force”. His two original principles were undoubtedly correct, but he had perhaps been a bit hasty in describing the role of the apple in all of this. The apple was simply another body that had been the medium by which a mysterious, unseen, yet powerful “force” had influenced his actions at the beach. What was that force? That force was the key to everything. He must discover that force!
That’s when his wife came in and asked, “What happened? Did the wind blow an apple out of the tree causing that knot on your head?”
The wind! It had been the all-knowing, omnipotent force that had made such a profound statement (via the apple) at the beach.
Isaac then proclaimed what is today known as Newton’s Third Law of Windsurfing: “For every force (wind) which acts on a body (the apple) there is an equal and opposite force which acts upon some other body (Isaac).” This third law defined and refined the first two laws, thereby completing the conceptual circle of pseudo-science.
Note: There have been those who have trivialized Newton’s three laws of windsurfing and used them for useless activities like space travel. However, windsurfers around the world recognize and pay homage to the man who first recognized the wind as the true guiding force in our lives: Sir Isaac Newton.
3 Laws of Windsurfing (respond to pages 16,18 of vol 7, issue 1)
Okay, so Newton’s laws of motion appear to apply to windsurfing. But let’s remember that they are like a few hundred years old and about 50 years obsolete. Sure, the Newtonian thing works for ‘slow approximations’ but that’s the limit. That’s right, remember the big Al came forth with the bizarre twist of General Relativity which sent Sir Isaac over-the-falls, so to speak. If you somehow missed this in physics, just know that space, time and space-time take on some pretty interesting relationships as objects approach the speed of light. Without going too far, it can be deduced that time slows down as speed speeds up. Think about this, …the fountain of youth- right!?! Now, when on the water, and I am definitely no speed freak, but maybe I should be…the faster you go the slower you age! Hey, where can I get me some of them there cambers and pointy fins…
Kitty Hawk, NC
I hate that you have down-sized the mag to a “normal” magazine. I found the larger format much more attractive. I also hate the demise of Wind Tracks. So far, I am not impressed by the “marriage”.
I view windsurfing as the “outlaw bikers” of the sailing world. Since Memphis, TN is such a hotbed of windsurfing…. We are only 12 hard-core sailors. There are 12 sailors who migrate to windy spots each year, sometimes twice in a year. I think that commercial windsurfing has ignored the smaller areas such as my hometown. For crying out loud, US Windsurfing includes TN in an area with Florida. In My Humble Opinion, there are too many folk looking to make fortunes in windsurfing. The market, has shown that outside certain hot spots, the people will not be real interested in funding the industrial trust funds of the founders or corporate officers of the windsurfing industry. Some of us just love windsurfing and don’t have to sail as fast as a pro or do the latest gimmick (kite sailing). A WindTracks slogan, “ It is always best in your backyard” should be heeded. I hope that ya’ll love what you do and that you feel better for your efforts. But, if you forget your audience, then I hope your skills are transferable. Myself, it took me 8 years to get my job and I only make 40k after 10 yrs. on the job. But, I am challenged by what I do and every now and then actually do something good. I hope that ya’lls jobs give you better satisfaction.
Mike and Annie
I just got done reading your interview with Mike (Gebhardt) and think his candor combined with Annie (Leibovitz’s) photography make for one of the strongest pieces of windsurfing journalism I’ve seen in my sixteen years in the sport. As you may know, we title our catalogs “Ride It” because we have personally come to know the secret to windsurf happiness—expect nothing, be prepared for anything, have faith and just go out and ride it! Certainly, the strong spirit Mike shares with us communicates a spiritual connection that hopefully will motivate all of us to be grateful for the experience of the day, whatever the conditions.
If there were a cancer in our sport, it would be the consumptive illusion that more is better and bigger is necessary. I was very pleased to see less of this type of thinking when visiting the Gorge this past summer. Sailors were actually taking the 5M wind given to them without hanging onto the 3.5M wind of yesterday. A Buddhist monk used the phrase “You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to ride it,” which we put on the cover of our ‘97 catalog. With two outstanding heroes in our sport like Robby (Naish) and Mike, I’m personally inspired to ride whatever wave comes my way, to appreciate the moment of the day, and to share my gratitude for the gift of the most incredible sport ever created. Hats off to you and all involved in sharing the real “soul” of the windsurfing experience.
The House, St. Paul, MN
Just received my issue of the new, merged publication. GREAT! You have managed to retain the best of both entities — keep it up!
As a Boston-area sailor who has managed to get in local sessions during each and every month of the past 8 years, I hope that AWS’ Northeast roots will be reflected in its editorial/ pictorial content . . . Again, thanks for a quality publication.
Enclosed is a check for a one-year subscription to American Windsurfer. I am extremely impressed with the direction your magazine is headed. I did not subscribe in the past as I have had subscriptions to Windsurf magazine, as well as Windtracks. Windtracks has taken a direction that I neither liked nor approved of. Never have I seen anyone give its customers less of what they want or need than Windtracks. What arrogance!
I like the tests, etc. Keep up the good work. I am dropping Windtracks, don’t disappoint me.
Edward L. Montgomery
Some really great stuff being written in the magazine, especially about the coming of the Aquarian Age. Windsurfing as a metaphor or a church has changed my life completely. My first time out at Leo last spring, I was in a pod of whales. Another time, a couple miles out at the same beach, I started remembering all the lyrics to several church hymns that I haven’t sung since childhood. I was out there in the waves, singing at the top of my lungs, not to praise the God of the Bible, but to add to and support the power that held me up out there, and that had sent me the songs of love. You finish a day of sailing like that and your bones don’t stop vibrating goodness for months. I’m still in awe and wonder about that day, and how it happened. I can’t think of the lyrics even now, but I remember feeling, with an open chest and a heart pumping deep like it vibrated from the depths of the ocean.
I also think of the burning need that windsurfers have to share this sport with others. Where does that come from? We don’t have any pastors out there yelling at us from the pulpit telling us to look for more converts. We just have our heart saying. “Others must know.”
I want to go to Italy and take windsurfing lessons from Annabella Hofmann. I want to study yoga with Mike Gebhardt. And I want to see to it that all pros at all pro events spend hours between races teaching windsurfing on easily sailable gear. I want that lawyer who wrote the last article about how windsurfing changed his life to contact the Darbys and get them some percentage of every board and rig sold. The Darbys aren’t warriors, and they need one. Most of all, I want John Chao to continue exploring his thoughts about the evolution of this sport at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Peace
Los Angeles, CA
A Gimmick, and a Lie
I recently received your latest issue featuring an apparent equipment guide. I realize and have enjoyed your alternative approach to windsurfing journalism. However, to claim that this issue is an “equipment guide” is nothing short of a flat out lie. A guide offers helpful pieces of information about a product, i.e. price, product comparison, tester comments etc. Your “guide” fell short on all of these.
However, the “guide” did show me how creatively your magazine could display your advertiser’s logos. I learned more about the Chinook fish than I did about any of the products advertised. I say advertised because that is all your “guide” was, a large advertisement. The next time you build up an upcoming 80 page segment, call it like it is and bill it as “American Windsurfer’s Annual Advertising Gimmick.” However, if people knew they would be paying $5.00 for an issue of pure advertisements with no information whatsoever usually found in a guide, no one would buy your magazine. So I guess your gimmick was successful. I was looking forward to the equipment guide but received only advertisements. I could get manufacturers’ brochures with more info in them for free.
It is clear to me that you chose not to do a conventional guide because you found it too much trouble to actually research a product, even something as simple as the retail price!
When I ordered a two-year subscription at Sail Expo 1995 in Atlantic City, the man taking my order touted the “in-depth equipment” guide that would be coming out in early 1996. That was actually a big reason for me paying $40.00 for the subscription! Therefore, I ask that my subscription be canceled and the remainder of my money be refunded. I suggest that in the future when luring subscribers, do not make false, inflated claims about what will be in the magazine unless you actually make an effort to put it there.
P.S. If I missed the value of the equipment guide, please let me know, as I am sure it was intended for some purpose other than advertising alone.
Yang of the Sport’s Yin
I believe from its first issue, American Windsurfer has been a publication dedicated to understanding windsurfing in a deeper sense. Interviews with celebrity windsurfers about their lives, articles devoted to lawyers, kids, and seniors who windsurf all have a common thread—the spiritual and physical unity that is the windsurfer: the wind and the water. This is what drew me to your magazine in the first place– understanding the bigger picture.
HOWEVER! And this is a significant however, in the 1996 Buyer’s Guide, twice I saw the Star Board mentioned without any specifications. Touted as the lightest, fastest board on the market I was intrigued to know more, but as is often the case, AW did not have much, if anything, to add on the technical end. Granted, there are several magazines on the market that are nothing more than technical journals on windsurfing gear. But, if you want your magazine to be truly universalistic in its view of the sport you should give the readers specs. On all of the equipment, especially in an issue designated as a Buyer’s Guide.
Accept the Yang of the sports Yin and I am convinced that American Windsurfer will be a successful whole.
Well, your cover sucks again, for a 2001 issue you put a dead dude floating, almost like what happens when you get hit in the head with your mast. Why don’t you have this floating thing having sex with a seal or something more cool than that? It’s almost sick to know what we can expect from this mag. It looks like a 1961 National Geographic magazine. Huh. Well, let hope you get off this photoland wacko stuff and hit the surf. Please? I’ll quit bad mouthing the mag *** P.S. I see Bubbles coming off this thing. Did it fart? Go ahead a change your magazines name to American National Geographic Surfthing!
Proud to Subscribe
I have been involved in windsurfing for over 15 years. I have subscribed to numerous national as well as local windsurfing magazines. Yours is by far better than anything that has ever been published. The editor sounds like a fantastic person as well as a wonderful editor. It is nice not to have to read articles by illiterate “dudes” who think that the only cool thing is to party and drink and admire the babes.
The latest Forecast editorial concerning the Circle of Change and the beautiful Lifesource piece by Diane Buccheri raise windsurfing to a new level that I am proud to subscribe to.
I don’t think most average windsurfers are as interested in the radical side of the sport as they are in enjoying the thrill of being one with nature and appreciating the ability to have clean, healthy fun with others who have a similar appreciation for the really good things in life.
Cancel My Subscription! I’ll use the money to buy toilet paper.
Bill Cimikoski’s article is driving me crazy! Vol. 8(3/4) takes the words right out of my mouth. When I got this issue I didn’t think it was American Windsurfer. It actually had a windsurfer on the cover. How original, and no New Age crap. Sorry, I mistook your magazine for Windsport. The ED’s rebuttal was absolutely ludicrous. What % of the population are pilots and New Ager’s? My advice to the ED is to appeal to a little larger segment of the population, find a job on a variety magazine, and you boys are committed or should be! Please keep up the articles on pilots, airplanes, new age crap, or any other interest you have outside of windsurfing because I wouldn’t want to have an excuse to renew. Ah, consumers revenge. I can’t wait until my subscription runs out. You have just appealed to one less person out there. Or better yet, cancel my subscription as of this issue. This way I won’t have to round file them at the mailbox.
Barry Wells a.k. (The WING hog)
Santa Fe, NM
PS. I absolutely DARE you to print this. Please take me off any mailing lists to renew, because I’ll spend my money for this magazine when hell freezes over.
As your subscription ended with the last issue, regrettably you won’t know whether we dared. As to the % of New Agers and pilots, I dare say their numbers are far greater than windsurfers, which makes me wonder about your pretense of narrow interests. If so, shouldn’t your nickname be “WIND Hog” instead?
I don’t usually correspond to strangers, but since my first AW I feel more at home within those pages than with any other mag. It is tough to stretch out the articles and pictures to last more than just the first day. This also makes the wait for the next issue tough. My wife and I really enjoy your magazine and I have let all four of my other subscriptions lapse. None of the others seem to carry the spirit of Windsurfing like you guys (and gals) do. Thanks again for the added inspiration and information.
Kurt and Tricia Huffman
Just got your latest issue. If the great memories of Aruba were fading over the past few months, they certainly came back in full color after a short read-through.
Actually, there was a little mix-up in mailing. Somehow my copy was sent to an address a few blocks away in Manhattan. I’m not sure to complain or thank you, though, as the very cute woman who received my copy and called me to come pick it up looks like she may become my windsurfing partner for the summer. Anyway, just in case, could you check that my address is right in your files? Thanks.
We’ll check your address Andy, but only if you’ll clarify a few simple points for us to prevent this sort of mix-up from occurring again: 1. Is the recipient of your copy a windsurfer? 2. If she is not already a windsurfer did you use your status as a windsurfer as leverage to get a date? 3. If she is a windsurfer, what is the chance that in a city of 8 million people, that your copy of AW got delivered to another windsurfer? 4. Why would she go to all of the trouble to look you up and call you, just to give the copy away?
Re: Good Mix-up
Thank you for your probing questions regarding the details of my quest to obtain a copy of your fine publication. I’m sure that your inquiry is motivated by a sincere desire to understand the workings of the U.S. postal system to avoid future mishaps and not by some sick wish to attract subscribers with the prurient, Playboy-style letters-to-the-editor.
While pondering my response to your query, I began to understand how it must feel to be a corporation with a breakthrough invention: salivating at the prospects, yet fearful of excess publicity’s tendency to raise consumer expectations and attract competition. With that in mind, I can provide the following:
1-2) She was already a windsurfer, although a beginner. I am no expert, but I think I might still be able to teach her a thing or two.
3) She is one of your loyal subscribers. According to the message left on my machine before “the pickup,” our address labels were “stuck together” so that only hers was showing. I’m not quite sure what exactly happened there.
4) In fact, the anonymous cute subscriber admitted that her call was motivated not only by the wish to put right the mailman’s miscue, but also to find some windsurfing companionship, which can be oh-so-difficult in the NYC area. Well, I hope this clarifies the situation. By the way, loved the “Blindly Dating” piece.
Might Interest You!
Awesome! Talk about a picture issue. It was overwhelming browsing through the pages. As always, the photography was impressive.
We commend your magazine’s ability to involve the beginner, the eternal intermediate (that we have all been at one point) as well as the expert and pro all in one package. This different approach toward windsurfing, as shown by the variety of people you interview, is what has kept us as subscribers since your magazine’s inception. Your upcoming John Kerry interview is an example of such variety. Having a windsurfing school and rental in a metropolitan area, we have provided our services to everyone from rock stars to politicians and have noticed how little, if any, these public figures mention their love of the sport. More exposure to these hidden windsurfing celebrities is needed for windsurfing to blossom in this country.
Each individual is an ambassador of our sport. Whether a celebrity or an anonymous instructor on the beach, we all carry the responsibility of introducing others to this healthy addiction. Keep up the good work. We look forward to your upcoming issues.
Key Biscayne, FL
No Cinderella Story
Thank you for your insightful article on Bjorn Dunkerbeck. I hope that the following is not too long, but I wanted to not only commend your piece but also indirectly address the bit of rubbish run in Outside Magazine a couple of months ago. Of course, I wrote them too, but they didn’t have the balls to print my letter.
Although Bjorn’s record of eight overall world titles is almost unprecedented in sporting history, he seldom gets the coverage he deserves. The media seems to prefer flamboyance over consistency, and “Cinderella” stories over victory through years of hard work. Your piece finally puts things in perspective and gives us a glimpse of the real man.
At a time when professional athletes in other sports are throwing tantrums, spitting at fans, and being arrested for drugs, rape, and even murder, the worst that can be said of Dunkerbeck is that he isn’t easy to interview (at least in English). Yet those like you, who make the effort to know him, find an honest, dedicated, sportsman motivated more by the love of windsurfing than money or fame. Some people are put off by his directness. Some are jealous of his domination. Perhaps some here would prefer an American hero. He has been criticized for not being “marketable” enough, but while other sports stars are going on strike over multi-million dollar contracts, Bjorn works to better himself. Therein lies his greatness. He is loyal to his sponsors and respectful of his competitors. He does what he loves most, better than anyone ever has. If others resent his success, tough. He’s earned it
Neil Pryde USA
Subject: Latest Issue: Pathetic
Wow! Thank God I’m not a paying subscriber. You’re latest “Women’s Issue” really nails home the fact that only butt UGLY women are into windsurfing. I was expecting to feast on eye candy when I picked up a copy, but upon further review, I was sorely disappointed. Phewww! What an embarrassment to everyone. If windsurfing ever was a dying sport, its downward spiral will accelerate after your “revealing” article “Seeking Streaking Bettys.” (Where the f*ck do you come up with your titles?) I guess coming from China, ANY white woman is hot to you, eh?
TO: Saul Gruberwicz
I wonder which part of the world you come from… wait let me guess!!! you are from that UGLY country where you looks as UGLY as your mother or your grandmother which your father ran away when you were just born and you eventually became a bastard! Where you learn how to write and think like this…
Tell me which part of Chicago do you sail… (actually you probably don’t even know how to sail, you were sucking up on the Penthouse section and accidentally saw the American Windsurfer mag, and you were dreaming “maybe some nude women windsurfer in it YEAH! Let see…” you racist PIG.
Your Letter to AW:
Saul: I find your comments to the Editor of American Windsurfer pretty interesting. Not merely because of your views but rather because your views suggest you don’t regularly read American Windsurfer and yet show a good deal of surprise by the article. Generally, but not always, readers of that mag already know a little bit more about the broad demographics of windsurfing that what your letter suggested you knew.
American Windsurfer discusses subjects beyond race results and the hottest gear. The magazine concerns itself with the entirety of the sport and its participants. You should know that a very large number of women windsurf regularly and they contribute tremendously to the development of our sport. Did you know that for the past few years only women have served as Executive Director of our national organization? And while fair people may differ in opinion on whether “Seeking Streaking Bettys” was the best choice of titles, I suspect that Betty’s ethnicity had nothing to do with the article as you propose. I invite your reply and indeed your eventual participation in a windsurfing event. Once experienced I doubt you will ever again express the views not-so-subtly advocated by your letter.
Daniel E. Weiss Jr.
Attorney at Law Louisville, KY 40207
I wanted to write you before another “Special Women’s Edition” came out. If this is to be your one attempt to attract female readership, I’d recommend hiring more female staff/editors. This might have avoided the misprinting of Glenn Fuller’s article, Jacques: Man with ladies, in this issue. Is this “woman’s guide to windsurfing” or “men’s guide to girls?” I doubt your female readership is interested in how “pleasing to the eyes… feminine, elegant, and beautiful to look at” Jacques finds his female wait staff. The female windsurfers I know are powerful in their own right, not interested in having men perpetually define women as objects. By the way, how about making every issue female friendly, not just one per year.
From “butt UGLY” (see Airmail 9.1) to “beautiful to look at” . . . Why can’t we just get along? I don’t think we ever claimed the issue to be a ‘woman’s guide to windsurfing’ . . . Who are we to guide? Oh, by the way, the editorial office is filled with women, the only guy there takes out the garbage.
Wind Sister Again
My husband just got your Women’s issue of American Windsurfer but he for once, was not the first person who got to read it. Previous issues didn’t really have much for me to relate to, but this issue I read cover to cover. I am about to turn 38 in three days. I gave up windsurfing several years ago. We used to own a windsurfing school in the early 90’s. I live on Maui. The women’s issue was inspiring and uplifting.
It brought back for me, the feeling of camaraderie among women on the beach at Kanaha. The uplifting feeling of taking on a challenge and feeling great, not because you succeeded but because you just “did it.” The feeling that I can do anything as a woman and a mother. The neat feeling that ordinary people are not only mentioned in a great magazine but they are my neighbors too. It inspires me to dig out the old gear (or nab it from my husband) and go give it a try again. To go down to the beach and see the familiar faces from the old days that weren’t mentioned in the Streaking Betty’s article (Barb Opsahl and Angela Emery), to find the European woman (Martina) who made custom bathing suits, the best I ever had. To be a sister of the wind again. Thank you American Windsurfer Editors, writers and staff. I can’t wait for year 38! Now, anybody want to re-teach me? (Women instructor preferred)
As a long-time subscriber and sailor, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the “Makin’ Waves, Woman to Woman” column, Vol 9, Issue 2 by Gina Lalli. There are many women whom I know in this area who would like to try or resume the sport, but they need this specific message and content. I have already shown the column to several women, and they have been inspired by its message and humor. We need to encourage gender equality in this sport—it does beautiful the waves!
Dr. James Dillard
I would just like to thank the entire staff at American Windsurfer for their generosity and kindness. I was fortunate to escape from my office in the World Trade Center on September 11. My office was on the 15th floor of the second building that was hit. Everyone in our office was able to escape and make it to safety. We did lose everything in our office. I happened to keep many of my personal belongings there as my apartment is quite small. Among the many things lost was my entire windsurfing magazine collection of various magazines ranging from two to four years of back issues.
I called American Windsurfer magazine to redirect some back issues I had ordered to be shipped to my office. As soon as I indicated my office had been in the WTC, the person on the line asked “Is this Scott Furr?” Carolyn and others in your staff had been worried about me! It was such a wonderful feeling to have you thinking of me.
I was also totally shocked when a few days later a box containing four years of back issues was sent to my door. It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. I would like to thank all of you for your thoughts and magazines! I will be a lifetime subscriber.