Making Waves of Amber Grain

Making Waves for Volume 4, Issue 4.

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Who is the girl on that TV commercial? Have you seen it?”  At local beaches and across internet newsgroups and mail lists, the mystery question developed. “She’s looping and jibing through a wheat field!” As suppositions to how the commercial was made and expressions of “I need to meet that girl!” echoed through windsurfer-land and around cyberspace, a marketing director’s nightmare soon developed. The identity of the product was as much a mystery as the sailor’s identity to the windsurfing audience. Luckily, with a little research, we have discovered the answers to both.  The commercial and  accompanying print ad campaign is for an allergy relief product called Allegra.  The mystery woman? Drumroll please… former Canadian Windsurfing team member Yvette Jackson.

Jackson was managing a veterinary hospital in Vancouver when a photographer casting for the print version of the ad arrived at a local windsurfing shop looking for a female windsurfer for the role. Due to her visibility in Canada as an olympic level windsurfer, Jackson was referred to the photographer and eventually cast in the ad.

“When I got the print ad job,” she laughs, “I had no idea that a commercial was to follow!” But there was more competition to land the television role. She needed a video tape of herself sailing to send to the people at the New York ad agency, DMB&B, and then had to travel to San Francisco for an on the water audition. After reveiwing the tapes and the auditions of women from Maui, San Francisco, and other parts of California, Yvette Jackson was finally offered the part. Subsequently, she was forced to make a difficult decision–her career wouldn’t allow for the extra five days off that she would need to shoot the commercial…

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In this case, one animal’s loss was another windsurfer’s gain, and Jackson was soon in Maui jibing and looping in front of a set of cameras. If you’ve seen the commercial, you probably suspect that the sailing was the easy part. Sailing in the water that is. Contrary to popular speculation, Jackson did physically sail across a field of wheat in northern California.

“They put me on the front of a camera truck, with a mock windsurfer and I was actually being trucked down a wheat field at 25 miles per hour in my wetsuit and harness while they filmed me!”

The footage was then sent to Industrial Light and Magic, the outfit responsible for special effects in movies such as Forrest Gump, Star Wars, and Twister, for editing and special effects. The result is a seamless representation of an allergy free Jackson jibing and looping her way through a dusty field of wheat.

“I went out on limb” Jackson  remarks, reflecting on the decision to quit her vet job, “and it seems to have paid off.” As a result of this commercial, she is now actively pursuing a career in Sports Talent, filling active athletic modeling roles in print and TV ads.

The big question is, what effect  has Jackson’s appearance in Allegra’s easy to swallow allergy medicine commercial had on our sport? Jackson replies,“I think it’s given windsurfing a shot in the arm!”

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Speaking of a shot in the arm for windsurfing, the Aruba government through its Tourism Authority has officially planned a Windsurfing Festival in conjunction with the 1997 Aruba Hi-Winds. Riding on the wave of this years highly successful Hi-Winds event and through the vision of Tim Werleman of ATA who sadly passed away this October— the 1997 Aruba Hi-Winds will be the Woodstock of Windsurfing for the world. It will be a  windsurfing festival for all levels of the sport even beginners. Yes, that’s right, beginners can come to Aruba and learn to windsurf for free! Intermediate sailors can attend the four day event and try out new equipment and attend special clinics conducted by pros. Of course, Aruba will live up to it’s reputation as “One Happy Island” which all of the ample after sailing parties  substantiate.

American Airlines will offer highly discounted rates like they did for the ’96 event, where you could fly round trip to Aruba from anywhere in the US for $250 and $350 international for the event.  (Call the numbers listed on page 5 for further information) For racers, the amateur event will be where the action can be found. Last year they gave away over $70,000 worth of prizes. Former pros like Nevin Sayre were all salivating and considering entering the amateur event just to win prizes like a week stay in the Honeymoon Sweet of the Aruba Marriott.

Such success can been attributed to the vision of Tim Werleman who utilized his position at the Aruba Tourism Authority to influence the quality of windsurfing. Like many others, Tim saw the need to promote Aruba to entry level windsurfers in order to sustain a level of  growth in the sport.

Tim Werleman is not the only one keenly aware of the needs of the sport. Many concerned manufacturers got together this year at the ISPO trade show to try to focus on the posibility of developing an industry supported one-design board to serve as a inexpensive entry level tool.

It is hard to measure what concrete results these meetings have achieved, however the challenge has been defined and already one board company who wants to remain anonymous has created a board they are naming the “Revival” for any one to sell or produce as long as they see it as a non-profit act.

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The entry level theme seems to be a hot topic. All the top board manufacturers  see the need, yet they hesitate to invest for fear that other companies will come and raid their hard earned customers. “Why should we spend the money to help someone get in the sport only to have (another company) steal them away?” was the sentiment of one board manufacturer. Such resentment is quite evident among all of the major board manufacturers and with the exception of F2, all stayed away from the meetings.

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“Don’t forget about me!” In our last Making Waves, we reported  on windsurfer and film maker Bill Whitteford’s receipt of two emmy awards while he was vacationing in Aruba.  Sources now tell us that Whitteford wasn’t the only windsurfing related Emmy winner. Robert Masters of San Pedro, California won his first Emmy for Outstanding Acheivement in a Craft/Editing for his work on the windsurfing video “Heart and Soul”. Heart and Soul was originally filmed for Gaastra, but was aired in September 1995 on Prime Sports Network, making it eligible for an Emmy. Masters has also been behind other well known videos over the years such as Power Jibe, Instant Replay, Rap N’ Roll and Rigmarole.

Also on the video scene, Dave Kalama is introducing his new video, due to be out by the end of November, titled Rail to Rail. Filmed and produced by Dave Nash, the 30 minute video will feature Kalama and some of his Strapped team friends tow-surfing, windsurfing, and longboarding.

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Rumors have abounded for the past couple of years about the re-openening of “the Ponds” an oversized irrigation ditch in the California desert popularized in the eighties by it’s consistent winds and flat water that made for a perfect speed course. Although “the Ponds” was closed in 1987, a team of entrepreneurs has proposed a new windsurfing resort in the heart of the wind zone, right outside the resort town of Palm Springs.

Directed by Miles Barrett, a veteran wind energy developer, the new Ponds will consist of a manmade freshwater lake just under half a mile long and over two football fields wide. Along the shores of the lake will be a development that will include storage lockers, rental and lesson concessions as well as a restaurant and campsite.

Meg Mackenzie, the current women’s world speed record holder is also involved in the project, since the new Ponds will likely be a perfect spot to set new world records. The Ponds is tentatively slated to open for sailing in the spring of 1998.

With the 1996 AWIA Trade Show held this year in Hood River, there were bound to be some waves made. While the weather at the event site didn’t cooperate Gorge Style until late Sunday afternoon for the consumer demo days, the open hall and party on Friday night was a virtual who’s who of the industry and the windsurfing population of Hood River. With a  bounty of free flowing Full Sail Ale, consumers (ahem) checked out the latest trends in equipment design as well as new products and innovations that always seem to make their debut at the Show. Among the standouts, an invention called the Power-Uphaul, a new uphaul system that could revolutionize uphauling and allow sailors of all abilities to spend more time on the water. The  Power Uphaul attaches to your harness and lets your body weight do the work to raise the sail as you lean back! (If you can’t visualize it here, see the ad on pages 104 and 105)

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UP Sails has announced that it will no longer be producing high performance sails, which has many Bic Centers around the globe searching for new high performance sails for their rental fleets. Already in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, the Carib Bic Center is pleased to announce that it will be using Naish Sails. 

Another major announcement at the AWIA Show came from former World Cup stars Britt Dunker-beck and Jessica Crisp who have announced plans for a new Windsurfing World Tour. The tour comes in response to a demand for more international wavesailing competitions and Pro-Am events, especially in the US. The WWT will feature Wavesailing events in Hawaii, Baja, Tahiti, and Fiji as well as Pro/Am american_windsurfer_4.4_making_waves_britt-Jessicaevents in San Francisco and Indoor competitions in major US Sports arenas.  Crisp and Dunkerbeck solicited the expertise of NYC Marketing consultant Dan Cohen to assist them in coordinating their marketing efforts for the tour and to accompany them in their announcement of the WWT. One of the big questions is how the WWT might affect the current PWA tour. The answer is bound to make waves in the future, but to ensure that the water that makes the waves remains rideable, the WWT proposes to donate the net proceeds of one  major event per year toward helping those devoting their energies to protecting the earth’s oceans, lakes and waterways.

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Fred Eck with troubled waters.

That’s music to the ears of LA’s Windsurfing Pacifica proprietor, Fred Eck, who reports that his business was suspended for the entire summer when the county beach he runs his concession from was closed by foul water quality.

If such a situation has forced you to find other venues, or if you are planning a road trip anywhere in California, check out Scott Carter’s new book “Southern California Wind-surfing Sites and Road Trips”. Don’t let the title fool you, this book has information about sailing sites for 40 Central and Northern sites too, complete with maps for every big venue. Site descriptions include critical information about the site, its hazards and its fun qualities as well as typical wind direction. Carter, who is also the LA Windsurf club president, provides a graphical rating system for each site and there are also log pages to enter any notes that you want to make each time that you visit. The guide is kept alive with anecdotes, quips, historical bites, and a Foreword by Jim Drake that give the book flavor and character.  For information on how to order see the classifieds in the back of this issue. 

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VINEYARD CHALLENGE Making Waves on the cover of  NYNEX Yellow Pages. (click here to read the MV Challenge)

If a windsurfer steps on a board at 11:00 am in 15-30 mph winds out of the south to chase down 24 boards over a course of 60 miles,  how long should it take him to win the event and shatter the course record? That depends on where you are and how well you know the course. In the Ninth Annual Martha’s Vineyard Challenge it took Nevin Sayre exactly 3 hours 17 minutes to circumnavigate the island and collect his victory. Considering the wind range and the amount of windswell and chop throughout the day it’s a testament to Right Coast sailors everywhere and especially hearty New Englanders to know that 4 sailors finished ahead of the four year old record of 4 hours 22 minutes. Time wasn’t the only record that was broken as Jerry Solner, the oldest person to ever complete the race at 51, collected line honors (1st to cross the finish) and Susan Simmons finished second for the women behind Nancy Johnson in an elapsed time of 5 hours 13 minutes. Most remarkably, as Simmons set foot back on the sand that she left from she proclaimed “I said that I was going to do this before I was fifty, and I did it!” Simmons, who is 49, is only the third woman to ever sail around the island in the history of the race. Also, for the second year in a row, cellular telephones were donated by Cellular One, which leads one to think that the windsurfers on the cover of the Martha’s Vineyard/Nantucket Yellow Pages might just be there for a reason. Oh, and as an addendum to the article “Blindly Dating Martha’s Vineyard” (Volume 4 Issue 2), The Blind Date Crusaders made a second attempt this year and finished 1st in the team relay race with an elapsed time of 4 hours 37 Minutes. The crusaders would also like to thank Dan Weiss for his hospitality and hard work. The event earned over $10,000 for charity.

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