Inspiration, Honor & Hitting the Target

Your MAG is the bomb….It has all the interesting articles and the photos are rad….I would rather read your MAG than be out windsurfing!

Inspirational Sailor
A year ago I didn’t sail. I had tried some but mostly putted around the harbor or got tossed. I would watch videos and wonder if the riders had super powers or some special talent. Sailing seemed beyond my reach. But, I had two things going for me, my home is within walking distance of two great launches, and most importantly I have a great friend, Brad Van Molson, who was determined to make me learn. Well, a year later I can blaze around pretty well. My jibe is so close to happening, every day I say “today I’ll pull my first jibe”. I’ve met some great people through windsurfing, most of whom are my inspiration to improve.

But, when I flip through the pages of American Windsurfer, more times than not I still think, “I’ll never pull those tricks off”. That’s where David Weiss of the Trans-Atlantic Windsurf Race comes into play. I’m reading the team profiles for the TAWR and I notice his, mainly that he is not a pampered pro rider. And his profession (printing sales rep) really strikes a cord. You see I’m also a sales rep for a printing company. When I read this I immediately feel stronger and more capable of pulling off … well anything. So THANK YOU, David. I really admire and appreciate what you’ve done. It must have been incredible being out there. If you have a minute could you tell me how it feels to sail out of sight of land, in the middle of the Atlantic? Someday I going to do it too!
Scott Willis
Seal Beach, CA

Tough Race To Follow
Great article on the TAWR! I especially enjoyed Eddy Patricelli’s comments about Ken Winner’s advice. Just goes to show you the ‘Trust no one” philosophy is especially true for windsurfing rig up advice! Reminds me of my 1st Maui trip. I was so excited to get on the water at Kanaha Beach Park I trusted my friends parking lot “pretty weak, I’d rig a 6.0” advice. I should have noted the sarcasm in his voice. When I got to the beach and saw the water I was running back to the car to rig a 4.0! I have never forgiven him for the 1/2 hour I lost to rerigging that day. It was the 1/2 hour where your guts are churning and your head is fuzzy from the need to get on the water!

Sounds like the race was a difficult experience. Speaking of difficult experiences, how is someone supposed to put the caption with the picture in your article! “Left” usually means somewhere on the opposite page and who knows what “Right” meant. The pictures were great, it’s too bad we couldn’t tell what they were from the captions.
Todd Neil
San Gregorio,CA

Japanese Honor
I just received my January issue yesterday. As usual, you did a great job in conveying the spirit of windsurfing in a way no other publication can approach.

Having said that, however, I was a little taken aback by the TAWR crew photo captions on pages 100 and 101. You abbreviated the country of Japan as “JAP”, such that the Japanese participants were labeled, “JAP photographer”, etc.. As a third generation Japanese-American whose parents spent time in the US concentration camps of WWII, I was disappointed in this oversight. The generally accepted abbreviation is “JPN”….
Harry Shin
Stanford University


Youthful Smithsonian

Greetings from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation. I am a colleague of Alison Oswald’s and we are working together on an educational outreach program about Newman Darby and his invention of the windsurfer. Newman will be here at the National Museum of American History on Friday, April 9th, presenting to Washington, DC area middle school students as part of our Innovative Lives program.

As the coordinator of Innovative Lives, I wanted to thank you for sending us the back issues of American Windsurfer Magazine. We’ll use them in our pre-visit teacher materials and they will definitely enhance the students’ understanding of Newman Darby’s story, before they even meet him!

I also wanted to extend an invitation to you to join us for this program and see Newman inspire the next generation of inventors and windsurfers. I’m enclosing a brochure about Inovative Lives to give you an idea of our mission. Please call or e-mail me with any questions about the program. I hope you can come!
Sondra Berger
Smithsonian Institution


Improvement On Past
Just wanted to inform you: Yesterday I received the Spring Issue of American Windsurfer Magazine from the East Coast and I gotta say that it definitely has improved since I last subscribed to it many years ago. Aside from the fact that it is a great mag to put on your coffee table, the articles have really improved.

Anyway, for those of you that are pros or just proud to be in the Bay Area, check out the last issue! It hi-lites the US Nationals on Maui — great article.
Royce Kamuela Clark Yen

Bomb Hits The Target
Your MAG is the bomb….It has all the interesting articles and the photos are rad….I would rather read your MAG than be out windsurfing!

Crash Makes A Splash
I wanted to thank you very much for that nice mention and all the pictures from the US Nationals article in your last issue. I was very pleased. My favorite was the sequence of my finish. Even tough I was fully crashing against the buoy, I love it!! I was very proud of it. And that was a very nice article that Kim Ball wrote.

It was such a coincidence that you had an article on the Grenadines, because from ages 3-11, I grew up on the island of Bequia before we moved to Margarita. Isn’t it a great place? I had the best childhood there. But anyway, before I get carried away, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. And if you ever need any girly shots from Maui or anything just let me know.
Colette Guadagnino
Margarita, Venezuela

P.S. I am trying to organize, to make an all women’s windsurfing video, and it’s looking very positive. Do wish me luck!!

Snow Wind
I have been an avid windsurfer for 18 years. Over the last few years I have been involved in ice and snow-surfing. I knew a little about the Skimbat, but was never excited about it until I picked up your terrific magazine the other day. I was further impressed when I found the Skimbat website.

It looks like a natural for us, “us” being the members of the Saskatchewan Windsurfing Club, and all those skiers and snowboarders who live around here, where it is often windy and far from the mountains. I am interested in getting into a sideline business and would like to know more about distributorship. Plus I can’t wait to try one.
Ian Stewart
Regina Beach, Saskatchewan, Canada</>

Northern Exposure
My compliments to you on an excellent article about Skimbat. Skiers, snowboarders and windsurfers can rejoice at the introduction of this product to the U.S market.

In early 1991 I brought the first generation Skimbat back from Finland. At that point, I didn’t see how it could get much better. It was a performance leap over the Aerostar Wing I’d been sailing since 1987.

The new Skimbat is a remarkable achievement. A winner of the Best Design Award at the 1997 Ice and Snow Sailing World Championships, the new Skimbat is so comfortably familiar to a windsurfer’s hands that it feels like an old friend right away. Stable, simple, and refined. Buy two dozen lift tickets and you’ve paid for a new Skimbat.

The way I see it, frozen lakes, snow covered fields and golf courses have been turned into a playground for the northern windsurfer. Thanks for helping to publicize this wonderful product.
Will Tuthill
Jamestown ,RI

In From The Backyard
I’m one of the little shops in your backyard……..just northwest in “centrally isolated” upstate NY. I’ve also met you a couple of times at the New England Windsurf Show, but I’m sure you’ve met thousands.

I’ve read and followed your magazine since the very first issue, and it mystifies me that each succeeding issue seems as fresh as the first. The latest issue was amazing, allowing me to actually look forward to the upcoming winter just seconds after wishing for the chance to sail the blue/green waters of the Grenadines. It’s great to have such talent settle right here in New England. (I hope you never succumb to the pressure you must feel to relocate to some windsurfing Mecca!!!).
Keep up the great work!!
Dave Rich
Gansevoort, NY

Fuel the Fire
Enclosed is a copy of my book Fuel the Fire. Thank you for offering to review it in your magazine.

I enjoyed your comments in the Forecast section of Volume 6, Issue 1. Especially your use of the phrases: “To follow a vision to the end”, “gifts of free choice”, “dance of faith” and “free thinkers”. I think you will find that my book supports these important concepts. The concepts that as you point out are so important to our commitment to continue to “get wet.”

I published this book myself, as I wanted to control the appearance and distribution of the final product. My book is presently available to purchase on

Thank you again for your support. I look forward to your feedback regarding the content of my book, especially as it relates to your readers. If I can provide you with any additional information, please contact me at 808-523-8911
Brad Yates<s/trong>
Honolulu, HI

Industry Feedback
I was checking out the latest issue of the mag today. An excellent issue. I was a little bummed out when I read the new product review section. Windsurfing Hawaii’s new harness line with a metal cam buckle was featured. This in itself didn’t bother me. Then it stated that “DaKine is rumored to be working on a line similar to this” or something close to that. I am sorry, but this pissed me off a little bit. Why?

Your statement sounds like we are behind or copying a W.H. product. We showed this product at the show in Orlando, and it was available for Ken or you to review. Just some feedback from the industry.
Erik Hauge
Hood River, OR


Considering Consumer
Recently, I made an attempt to get some information regarding sail performance/design from a prominent sail manufacturer. As I have used this manufacturer’s sails for a number of years, I wanted to comment on the design and make a few suggestions with respect to what I felt could work. Although at no time did I expect someone to write me back and say “Great idea, we’ll get right on it!!”, the response I got was insulting and rude to say the least. With comments like “Either way, just rig it and sail it!!! Don’t get all caught up in the details!”, it’s no wonder that they were unable to answer my questions. Let’s face it, 95% of individuals who windsurf DON’T race, they DON’T test gear, and they DO account for probably 99% of equipment sales. I find it hard to believe that this particular manufacturer would have such poor customer service with respect to customer inquires. I also find it hard to believe that the sail designers would not know how to measure the area of a sail by hand and would require the use of a computer. The basic principles of mathematics and calculation have been used for centuries. Find me a sail designer who understands mathematics, aerodynamics and physics and then perhaps people of intelligence will have some one to talk to regarding sail design inquires!!!
George Kolowrocki

Some of the designers for windsurfing sails are the most brilliant people we’ve met. The windsurfing sail is one of the most sophisticated aerodynamic foils around and the design levels of their game are far beyond the basics of measuring sails. Another point is that many of the so-called prominent manufacturers are staffed by a few hard working people whose time is in great demand. I think the fact that you have gotten any answer gives testimony to the commitment these people bring to their jobs. As to the comment that seemed to have offended you, we would probably tell you the same thing if you questioned the size of this magazine. “Just read it and enjoy it!” ED

United We Stand
It’s time to band together and put a stop to the havoc wreaked by jet skis. Did you know: Every year these two-stroke engines “personal water craft” spill 40 million gallons of petroleum into our waters? This is 4 times more pollution in our waters than the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in Alaska. The EPA has identified the two-stroke engine as a main source of toxic water pollution in the United States–yet they still have free reign in our waters, even in national parks and wildlife refuges.

Let’s face it: Jet skis are little more than dangerous toys and although they comprise only 8% of recreational motorized boats in U.S. waters, they are involved in 40% of all boating accidents! Jet skis endanger swimmers and windsurfers, disrupt fishermen, and interfere with canoeing. If you like to spend time on the water, jet skis are making your experience unpleasant and risky–and destroying the environment at the same time. But we have a plan:
*Ban jet skis in national parks and wildlife refuges.
*Establish off-limit zones for jet skis, and 600 ft. shoreline buffer strips
*Outlaw the polluting 2-stroke engine
*Restrict jet ski operation to those qualified to handle watercraft, with a water safety instructor’s license.
*Establish time of day restrictions to preserve morning and evening hours of quiet.

Friends of the Earth believes we have a good chance at putting a stop to this lunacy by working together against them. As an avid surfer myself, I am acutely aware that we water-folk are deeply concerned about the environment. It’s time we started using the strength of our numbers, folks. Let’s write our city and park officials to voice our outrage and concern. Let’s contact our representatives in Congress and raise a little hell. The waters belong to everybody. Those who fail to treat this privilege with respect, should lose it.
Mark Whiteis-helm

Windsurfing Phys. Ed.
I would like to take this opportunity to express a couple of feelings I have about our sport to your testers, these thoughts may be of interest to others:

1. Something about cost comparison for someone just getting into the sport vs. other sports, possibly making some specific recommendations (objective) regarding what wold work best, be durable, and that you could grow on without outgrowing.
2. I live, teach and work in a small rural community. Unfortunately, we are not immune to what some consider”big city ills,” gangs, drug/alcohol abuse, violence, etc. I made a decision many years ago to do what I could to give older kids alternatives to lousy choices. One of the most exciting things I do, is to bring some of my equipment into our local high school science class.

I found some basic formulas used for computing windsurf stuff, put it up, and asked the kids what it means to them. (Is it just meaningless junk forced into their brains to torture them?) Then I showed a video from the Gorge. Their eyes opened. Then I led them into our gym where my stuff was set up. There was a hush. I told them that what seemed like meaningless computations and formulas were all part of the knowledge used to make my toys!

We talked about life choices and which would be better. Those choices don’t necessarily mean windsurfing either. We talked about living a healthy lifestyle and being good to yourself. Believe me, this is a difficult crowd to sell. But I felt (and feel), that I can make a difference talking about what I love to do and putting it in terms that young kids can readily grasp. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to express these thoughts.
Steve Weber
Isle, Minnesota

Whether in praise or to prod us on, your letters and emails are always appreciated. Email: or visit our website at: ED