Forecast: Premier Issue

Why another windsurfing magazine?

american_windsurfer_john-chaoThat question was often asked during the development of this magazine.  Simply put, we think it is time for a change.

It is presumptuous to think that American Windsurfer is going to change the future of windsurfing.  However, I do believe windsurfing will never be the same with the birth of a magazine like this.

American Windsurfer is a publication designed to appeal to a general audience.  If you are looking for a steady diet of radical, off the lip, double cheese roll or another publication for the hardcore sailor only, you’ve found the wrong magazine.

American Windsurfer speaks to someone who might not windsurf; it’s an ambassador to the beginners or the not-ready-for-prime-looping sailors.  American Windsurfer is more about interesting people and their windsurfing lifestyle than equipment and techniques.  We want to find the soul of windsurfing, it’s inspiration, the many unique places where wind is found and along the way, a few million new participants.


Windsurfing is perhaps the most exciting and intoxicating sport I have every come across.  Yet in the ten years that I have been growing with the sport, windsurfing has lost some of it’s edge, it’s “soul” and the general appeal it used to hold for a larger audience.  Windsurfing inherited a reputation of being “too difficult,” “too expensive” or just “too selective.”  The industry became bogged down in what I call the “inward, inbred syndrome: where the equipment and the publications cater to a smaller and smaller audience of hardcore enthusiasts.  The attrition rate of those who subscribed to the high-wind, high-performance happiness soared as they found themselves sitting on the beach weekend after weekend waiting for stronger and stronger winds until only hurricane-conditions could bring contentment.

Like they say, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out something is wrong.  There will always be hardcore enthusiasts whose dedication and pursuit of the sport is a way of life and I might add, an admirable one.  But for the larger group of recreational participants, whose age, family and professional responsibilities prohibit a total life changing involvement, the sport has not found a connection.

As a nation without a vision will perish, so will windsurfing if its vision as a sport enjoyed by many is lost.  Windsurfing has NOT lost the fun and the thrill but has briefly lost sight of the vision that drives its engine for general growth.  “The sport will never die,” said a friend, “it’s just too much fun.”

I believe we are on the threshold of a second generation of windsurfing growth.  The birth of this magazine is a start.  Beyond this, it will take the manufactures to re-address beginner equipment and the many dealers across the country to commit to teaching beginners again.  it is important for dealers to recognize that they are the gate keepers for future participants.


Windsurfing needs YOU.  If you would like to see the sport grow, windsurfing needs you to share your equipment with a friend.  To begin with, when you subscribe to American Windsurfer you can give a FREE subscription to a non-windsurfing friend or to a friend who has momentarily dropped out of the sport.  American Windsurfer‘s job is to see that we deliver an inspirational, easy to ready and understandable publication which you will be excited to give to a friend and say, “Here, this represents our sport!”

I am very encouraged by the cohesive awareness within the sport for the need to re-direct energies to expand the sport and to once again, welcome beginners.  The birth of this magazine is possible because people believe in our simple idea and have the faith to back us up with their time, talent and advertising dollars.  We hope you take note of them.  Study this first issue and see what improvements you can bring to the sport of windsurfing and the American Windsurfer.

by John Chao

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