Free Aloha Laws of Windsurfing

Reader’s Respond to Volume 6: Issue 5

Live the Aloha. . .
Aloha from Maui. I wish you all well and hope you’re feeling alive every day. Sometimes you don’t feel alive until you experience a close call or witness one in person. Today I felt alive. No Mom, I didn’t have a close call, but I think I might have saved a life. It started after reading a holiday prayer sent to me by my friend Joe. It touched home in many ways but basically put me in a certain mind frame today on the water.

They called for a thirty-foot swell to hit the North Shore and my thoughts were to go to JAWS and see it go off, something every windsurfer wants to experience, whether on the shore or in the water. I know my limits. I’d be on the shore.

However, plans tend to change. A friend gave me a wake up call, wanting to meet at Kanaha for an early session. I was excited to sail there because I’ve been sailing only out of Camp One, which is difficult for me in big surf. Kanaha has more defined channels and cleaner waves.

We arrived at 10 AM, rigged and watched the biggest surf I’d ever seen. I studied the water, watching carefully for sets and openings to the outside. After a couple of attempts—chicken jibes and luck—I was on the outside. I found this not only to be physical drain but a mental drain as well. My concentration level was so intense that I had to go to the beach and rest after only 45 minutes. I talked up a storm with a few people on the beach, debating going back out or not. I did. Having everything well dialed in, new fin and adrenaline running high, I found an opening in the channel and headed to the outside. I remember thinking, I am in the deep end of the pool and it’s time to get into the shallow end.

It was as if I was in the middle of two football fields. The outside wave was tilting up 20 feet, the inside one already cresting—with spray causing every image on the shoreline to disappear. One side of the playing field kept lifting up; I couldn’t tell when it was going to finally peak and toss its contents over the reef. I knew I didn’t want to be near it.
The wind was dying in the trough and I pumped, sailing uphill on the backs of waves.

I made it through and jibed near shore to do it again. I found the channel and took the opening again, heading to the outside when I spotted a Japanese fellow waving his hands and yelling, “Help.” He’d completely lost his rig. It was no where in sight and he was exhausted. I dropped in next to him and he caught his wind hanging onto my board. Then a friend went by and told me he was going to inform the lifeguard (a nice thing about Kanaha).

I began to tow the Japanese in, having him hold my rear footstrap with me in the waterstart position. It went alright for a while, until we got into the impact zone. We were taken over the falls, rinsed several times and my gear was ripped out of my hands. Rule #1: Don’t lose your gear. After getting my head above the foam, I spotted it 100 feet away. I swam hard, gaining 20 feet on it before getting sent through the spin cycle again, and again, and again. I chased it for what felt like miles. It wasn’t a pretty sight, when I got to it. My new mast was sticking out of the sail; it looked like the Endurance before she finally sank.

I was so happy to be with my gear again, even though it was in pieces. Now I just had to get to shore. The current was brutal. There was so much water going over the reef, with rip tides everywhere. My thoughts went from self survival to thinking about the poor guy without his board. I was so happy to be hanging onto my equipment which made me realize what a predicament the poor guy was in. It can be a real long swim when your’e half a mile out swimming in a washing machine with way too much soap. Finally, a lifeguard showed up on a jetski and asked. “Are you Glenn Fuller?” Wow what a small island! Apparently some of my friends got worried and told them. I told the lifeguard that I was trying to rescue someone and we got separated. He told me that they already picked him up. A relief to me despite the gear issue. He looked at my gear and said. “Nice guys finish last.” Thanks for the prayer, Joe. I got to the beach passing two other people asking for rides. I saw the Japanese guy on the beach. He was half conscious and in a daze waiting for the ambulance.

I wanted to learn from the experience, so after I signed the release form at the lifeguard stand, I asked what I should have done instead? The conclusion was that I should have stayed between the first and second reef and waited for the jet ski.

I returned to the shop where I work, sent my sail out for repairs and picked up a used mast from one of the boys. These conditions are tough on equipment. Friends told me how they broke three masts in six months or lost complete rigs.

Anyhow, I felt good. I think if I didn’t stop and give the Japanese guy that 15 minute rest, he probably would have drowned. Even though

I couldn’t understanding his language, I knew he was having his “close call” in life. His experience changed that which makes me feel alive. I wanted to share that day with you, and thank Joe for the prayer.

Tomorrow is another day, and I hear it might be 5.0 again. I hope I can get away with a 4.7. Live the Aloha!
Glenn Fuller

PS: My new little friend came into work today to visit, and give me thanks in a touching way. He paid for a new mast and the repair bill for the sail which was unexpected. “Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last!” He couldn’t speak English, so he had one of his buddies call in advance and told me to get a bill together. He came in and charged up a new mast along with the sail repair bill. In broken English, he gave me a warm handshake saying “Thanks for saving my life!” I thought I was going to cry. He looked a much better than the last time I saw him. Come to find out, that day was the biggest swell the North Shore has seen this winter. Talk to you all soon!

Glenn Fuller is AW’s Test Equipment Manager who has decided to stay behind on Maui to save drowning windsurfers and occasionally work at Extreme Sports Maui.


Mellow to the Max
Thank you for having me be a part of “Test 2000.” The excellent food and accommodations, the superb sailing conditions, and the best windsurfing equipment in the world are a windsurfer’s dream. Then, like adding fragrance to a rose, you included the nicest group of windsurfing enthusiasts and professionals that I have ever had the good fortune to sail beside within a week. You made my year! I cannot wait for the next opportunity. Could you test something once a month? I am lining up candidates to join me for the next testing excursion. Three people, so far, are asking how to sign up.

I am still living off the glow of turtles and rainbows . . . mellow to the max.
Jackie Butzen
Windward Sports, Chicago, Il.

We’d love to have you back. All of your friends can reserve a spot for 2001.


“FREE” Aspect
This is just a note to say thank you for having a free classified section on your website. I really appreciate the venue to sell the hard to sell. I also like the “free” aspect as it is where I hope the internet will stay . . . absolutely free! My sincere thanks!
Joe Creedon

FREE Classifieds at


On My Mind for 10 Years
It’s taken 14 years to just start to feel what the sailors in the videos feel. Windsurfing in 20+ knots is pure joy when my equipment is feeling balanced and right. I can achieve this ‘rightness’ about 1/3 the time. I know that the subtleties of which sail type, on what board, with the correct fin, and the mast set at the right point on the board and the boom height correct (depending on the type of sailing and conditions) are complex. A problem for me with this sport is that I can’t make a purchase of new equipment because of all the variables involved. It has gotten way more expensive than it needs to be due to all the mistakes. Even demo days do not help because of lack of the right wind and limited opportunity to understand what I am trying. Also, the variability in things like mast stiffness from one identical mast to another can determine the performance of a new sail. This has been on my mind for the past 10 years. I’m glad you guys are working on a new approach to equipment testing for 2000.
Bob Anacreon
Natick, MA


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.
Al Gore
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.

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.
John Crumpley


A bit lost. . .
I’m just starting to windsurf and have six hours at Lake Hodges in Southern California. I am 6’1”, 204 lbs and interested in purchasing a complete rig so I can continue to learn throughout the winter. It would be helpful to get some suggestions as to the appropriate size of board to consider. Also, is there a resource for places to windsurf in Southern California while I am learning? I really enjoyed Vol. 6, Issue 5 of your magazine. I’ve checked out the gear reviews online but am lost about what gear would be appropriate for me for the first year. Thank you.
Tom Sorce

Oil Skin Water Proof
I have a problem. I was looking thru the WindWear section of your magazine in the May issue and came across a cool navy blue oil skin water proof hat with the AW Flying flag logo. When I called to order it . . . they were all gone!

I can’t believe you didn’t save one for me!

I think you need to reorder this awesome hat, so I can have one. Or, you can swipe one from an editor/writer . . . they wouldn’t miss it, would they? Besides, it will look much better on me. Since it is the perfect gift for the Christmas season, could I have one?
Nicholas S


Market Wisdom
I think the board manufacturers try to market too many products. This results in the high cost of goods, leaving the customer with too many choices.

The manufacturers should work jointly to create a windsurfing start-up program that eliminates the need for a new windsurfer to buy equipment until they become proficient. One model might look like Vela Resorts but with starter gear for a beginner to novice would rent. The average windsurfer should be able to buy two boards that cover the range of use from 8 mph to 30 mph. Currently, the board choices are staggering for a business in limbo. I am reminded of the ski industry, where similar marketing approaches failed until the advent of the shaped ski.

Today, a skier can buy a pair of skies that do just about everything. I have been skiing for 30 years and the newest Mid Wides-Volkl Cross Rangers, are absolutely incredible in powder, cruising, and bumps. One pair does it all. Racers need an assortment, but not the average expert skier.

Windsurfing companies need to focus on the Freestyle boards and make them the Mid Wides of windsurfing. Expert sailors don’t need 3 or 4 boards, nor do they want 3 or 4 boards.

Sail manufacturers have figured this out. Today, sails are now capable of much wider ranges so that the customer buys fewer sails, fewer masts, and fewer booms.

If manufacturers want to sell more they need to focus on expanding the number of windsurfers, not the expanding number of boards. The investment needs to come in the start-up phases of the sport. There needs to be more low cost instruction centers, and increased availability of rental equipment until the new surfer is ready to buy. Mistral and BIC need to work on developing windsurfing starter centers that are strategic in the various regions of the U.S. Florida is an ideal location for learning windsurfing. Start a center and promote it for a vacation. Sarasota, Palm Beach, and Islamorada are great getaways for the beginner.

You should jointly develop articles for the new windsurfer and help them locate places where they can learn the sport. I do not think the average person can learn well in Maui, Cabarete, or The Gorge. They need to go where the water is warm, and where the wind is always light (8 to 12). Just some thoughts.
Vincent Brennan
Sarasota, FL


Just read the web-article by Sam explaining why equipment represented by North Sports will not be tested in American Windsurfer.

As a marketing professional and obsessive windsurfer, I ask myself if those guys really understand their own market. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing, that beats editorial space regarding your business and products. If you have any faith whatsoever in what you bring to the market (which should not be a major problem for the people at North Sports), an opportunity like this must not be missed. $7,000—how much advertising does that buy?

Why do I, as a Swede, have comments regarding this? Because, as many fellow windsurfers do, I like reading about my sport and, above all, I enjoy these tests! And now not only the magazine is available here, all the test material is easily accessible on the web. Tests have an impact on what is bought out there, and they no longer have much to do with national borders. If a certain board does get good ratings in your test and seems to suit my style of sailing, it certainly affects my buying decisions. Heck, I almost tried to get myself a North Shore Maui board, even though they are not available in Europe.

Which makes North Sports decision even stranger. How hard would it be to ask their partners (North, Mistral and Naish Sails) and dealers to sponsor the cost of freight? If I was the marketing man of, say, Mistral, (Maybe a future position there…) I would not only be rolling in the aisles by now, I would be looping in my cubicle out of sheer anger.
And the suggestion that they are trying to kill the test market; First, I am having a real hard time to believing that, and second, it would be utterly stupid.

“Hi Sam! How was your brand new board out there in these awesome conditions?”

“I don’t know. They’re all the same. And I will not let you try it, because there is no reason why. Testing new windsurfing gear is really boring and nobody is interested anyhow. Actually, from now on we will not write about anything that has any resemblance to testing in American Windsurfer. No more travelling destinations, no more technique tips or any competition. You see what the people in the articles are sailing, wonder if the gear is good and would enjoy knowing how it handles. That involves testing. Testing costs money, since we are not able to get the gear for free anymore.”

Won’t that make the mag a bit boring? Thanks for a really nice mag with some of the best tests available!
Mats Nilsson
Stockholm, Sweden

You can read the daily reports along with photographs from the 2000 equipment test from Maui. As a subscriber you’re entitled to the online section which has all the test results previewed prior to the printing of the magazine. Check it out at:


Having been a subscriber for a few years, I know that you are a fine photographer. Would you please upload some of your photos to the site so that we can use them as Windows background pics? Then we all can dream about sailing while we are at work. I would especially like a version of the TAWR photos of the small sail in the midst of the Atlantic with the sun reflecting off the waves. I love that one! Thanks!
Dave Fladd


Your Wish is Our Command. Photos from Miami
The wind here in Miami has been cranking this season. Attached are some photos I took off “Windsurfer Beach”, just South East of downtown Miami. The originals are 35mm, taken with a Nikonus IV. I’m trying to get more shots everytime we get strong winds and good light.
Bob Everhard