Editor’s Note: 5.3/4

Yes. Photographs can be seen as simple visual tools powerful enough to shape our future in the most positive of ways.

american_windsurfer_john_chaoTHERE ARE OVER 1,000 photographs in this issue of American Windsurfer. One thousand and twelve images if you include all the advertising pages. Certainly a record for any windsurfing publication and, possibly an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Aside from establishing a total visual experience, the abundance of photographs displayed in this issue is a form of corporate self–expression. Like the proud father pulling out a string of baby pictures, or the mother showing off the wedding album… Well, windsurfing—to this magazine—is worth a thousand photos.

From the many pictures shared by our international subscribers in “Country Profile,” to explosive action in a World Cup year, the photographs printed in this issue reflect a positive  and constructive vision of our collective selves. As citizens in a global village, our kindred wind–surfing spirits define a  lifestyle that has far more substance than just another pretty face. 

When it comes to photographs, the Kodak moments we snap are usually of smiling faces. More to the point, the photographs we treasure are primarily moments of achievement, exuberance, triumph, celebration and joy. Often, the more photographs we capture, the stronger the reality of our experience. They reveal our most intimate selves and their presence reminds us of who we are, where we come from, and even . . . where we are going.

Yes. Photographs can be seen as simple visual tools powerful enough to shape our future in the most positive of ways. They are the very nurturing soil that grows one of life’s most precious commodities, where without them . . . a nation will perish.

This precious commodity is simply the gift of having a vision.

To photograph, by definition, is a Greek word that means to write or paint with light. Visualization is also a form of photography, achieved within the mind, without a camera, but with the aid of perception. When this perception is filled with positive light, it too can be a powerful tool that shapes our lives and expedites our learning process. How many times has your windsurfing instructor told you to visualize that difficult move in your mind first? How many times have you visualized something in your mind and then it happened just the way you saw it? 

It sounds simple. Well, it is. But there is a catch. How we paint with our minds is at the mercy of how we perceive ourselves. It is no mystery that a person filled with positive esteem and self-confidence will experience life quite the opposite of one who is filled with fear and negativity.


Stifling and negative perceptions of life usually stem from low self-esteem, i.e. self-images that are often derived from an abused past or self-inflicted mistakes. Unchallenged, this infliction breaks into a runaway flow of action/reaction that can quickly spiral downward into the abyss of darkness, where fear begets more fear until there is too little light to paint the aimless soul out of its emptiness and helplessness.

The power we have is both simple and immense. We can expand our world everyday with the radiating light of positive perception or we can retreat into a cave with fear and intolerance.

This issue bears testimony to the power of positive thinking. We visualize ourselves—our sport filled with possibilities—a future painted by a thousand points of light.

And when passion and simple compassion permeate our perceptions, strong winds of life will fill our sails and fly us to eternal bliss.  

— John Chao

by John Chao

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