The high-flying cover of the first American Windsurfer Buyer’s Guide is a hit and still going strong around the world. Viewers often thought that the photograph by Maui-based Patrick McFeeley was a fake until they saw the sequence on the Contents page. The non-traditional Buyer’s Guide has caught the attention of many non-windsurfers’ fancy and has helped establish a worldwide distribution. The dynamic display of the sport throughout this issue has not only piqued interests outside the United States but it has compelled many outside-industry corporations to consider associating their brands with windsurfing.
I’m a photographer stuck in the office between assignments and stock shooting. Took your new issue to lunch and got so excited over the whole piece I was jumping outta my skin. I like the table of contents, the Contributors section, the design of a lot of the ads (Grapho Inc. Designs gets high marks!), the photography (great cover), the way you address digital changes (i.e. the cover), the Windwear Fashion piece, the paper, the guts for a little nudity (p.97), the Simmer Style lead pages, the digital enhancement (p.58), and a bunch of other stuff.
Keep at it. You’re an inspiration.
Virginia Beach, VA
A Second Chance
I feel compelled to write to you after just skimming the latest issue of American Windsurfer. Feeling a bit guilty, I guess, since I came so close to wanting to cancel my subscription after your interview with Annabella. It wasn’t the content as much as the length and emphasis of the article. After checking out my new issue I was thrilled to see that you had gotten back to the light-hearted, informational and inspiring side of the sport I love. Ironic that my first read was “The Zen of becoming a Windsurfer.” Even though I’m no longer a novice, I always feel I’m beginning some aspect of the sport every time I sail. There-in lies the challenge. So I was surprised to see after reading page 1 of “Zen” and checking the byline to see if it was yours, that Annabella had authored it! I found the piece confirming and even helpful. All I need now is for the snow to stop, so I can get out to shred. I also saw another side of the author—the athlete, that I had missed in the first story. I hope other readers find it inspirational and share the info with a beginner. I look forward to upcoming issues with the focus heavy on the fun and light on the heady stuff! I’ll keep reading. See you on the water.
P.S. I’m definitely a visual learner, so I love your creative photos!
As a “wanna-be,” learn-how-to, extremely interested, don’t know where to start, need to find some water, newcomer to the sport of board sailing or windsurfing, I must say that I am glad I found your publication. I received my first issue; the equipment and everything about windsurfing guide, and was totally blown away by the quality of the photographs and dimensions of the publication. I can only hope that my enthusiasm for learning about the sport transfers to the ability to do it. Believe it or not, I am looking forward to getting my bill. I cannot believe that five issues are twenty bucks (although I am grateful).
Please continue your efforts to write quality articles on the sport and if possible assist neophytes like myself with the jargon, philosophy, temperament and subtleties of windsurfing. I am looking anxiously forward to the next issue. Hopefully, it will have race results, educational articles and features on places to go and things to do.
Kirk D. Clennan
A Gimmick and A Lie
I recently received your latest issue featuring an apparent equipment guide. I realize and have enjoyed your alternative approach to windsurfing journalism. However, to claim that this issue is an “equipment guide” is nothing short of a flat out lie. A guide offers helpful pieces of information about a product, i.e. price, product comparison, tester comments etc. Your “guide” fell short on all of these.
However, the “guide” did show me how creatively your magazine could display your advertisers logos. I learned more about the Chinook fish than I did about any of the products advertised. I say advertised because that is all your “guide” was, a large advertisement. The next time you build up an upcoming 80 page segment, call it like it is and bill it as “American Windsurfer’s Annual Advertising Gimmick.” However, if people knew they would be paying $5.00 for an issue of pure advertisements with no information whatsoever usually found in a guide, no one would buy your magazine. So I guess your gimmick was successful. I was looking forward to the equipment guide but received only advertisements. I could get manufacturers’ brochures with more info in them for free.
It is clear to me that you chose not to do a conventional guide because you found it too much trouble to actually research a product, even something as simple as the retail price!
When I ordered a two year subscription at Sail Expo 1995 in Atlantic City, the man taking my order touted the “in depth equipment” guide that would be coming out in early 1996. That was actually a big reason for me paying $40.00 for the subscription! Therefore I ask that my subscription be cancelled and the remainder of my money be refunded. I suggest that in the future, when luring subscribers, do not make false, inflated claims about what will be in the magazine unless you actually make an effort to put it there.
P.S. If I missed the value of the equipment guide, please let me know, as I am sure it was intended for some purpose other than advertising alone.
Apple for the Teacher
Congrats on your Volume 4 issue 3.5-4.1. Your presentation of products were great and we loved the shot of Dasher. He’s a “trip” and a very good instructor. Annabella Hofmann’s piece on “The Zen of becoming a Windsurfer.” was excellent! We really liked her viewpoint on how people learn. Mike and I were taught by Tinho to teach over six years ago and we now help him teach his advanced clinic. Helping people learn the skills “ASAP” is the most challenging part of the teaching process.
Annabella explained the complicated procedure of “learning” in a very clear way that few instructors have stopped to think about. Well done Annabella! Keep up the good work!
Johns Island, SC
I am responding to the back page of your latest issue of American Windsurfer. It is a two page spread for Fiberspar masts and says: “Fiberspar Masts… Anything Else is Primitive” It depicts a picture of an event that took place at Pu’ukohola heiau on the island of Hawai’i; a very sacred event for some Native Hawaiians. There were the Nakoa holding spears that were obviously supposed to represent masts. It was also obvious that the spears/masts (and therefore, people) were depicted as ‘primitive’.
It is an ignorant, insulting and wrong portrayal of event and people. Native Hawaiians are working toward sovereignty, self-determination and the reclaiming of identity. Your magazine’s ignorance only substantiates our need for a more accurate portrayal of our culture and needs.
me ka ‘oia i’o,
Yang of the Sport’s Yin
I believe from its first issue, American Windsurfer has been a publication dedicated to understanding windsurfing in a deeper sense. Interviews with celebrity windsurfers about their lives, articles devoted to lawyers, kids, and seniors who windsurf all have a common thread– the spiritual and physical unity that is the windsurfer: the wind and the water. This is what drew me to your magazine in the first place– understanding the bigger picture.
HOWEVER! And this is a significant however, in the 1996 Buyer’s Guide, twice I saw the Star Board mentioned without any specifications. Touted as the lightest, fastest board on the market I was intrigued to know more, but as is often the case, AW did not have much, if anything, to add on the technical end. Granted, there are several magazines on the market that are nothing more than technical journals on windsurfing gear. But, if you want your magazine to be truly universalistic in its view of the sport you should give the readers specs. On all of the equipment, especially in an issue designated as a Buyer’s Guide.
Accept the Yang of the sports Yin and I am convinced that American Windsurfer will be a successful whole.
Congratulations on an incredible issue. The Buyer’s Guide is informative and entertaining. Great pictures and strong ads (especially the Visual Speed one.) A non-windsurfer won’t be able to deny the urge to try our sport after browsing the new issue. Great work, keep it up!!
P.S. Great job on the harness layout.
Michael Van Sisseren
Hood River, OR
Praise from the Printer
There are two distinct pleasures I enjoy in the execution of my professional responsibilities. The first of these is participating in a project (the production of a magazine) that I can see from beginning to end. I get to watch a collection of random pages come together into a finished magazine.
The second comes when I get to work with reasonable people. This is a truly rare situation and one that I enjoy immeasurably. It is a delight to work with you and your staff under all circumstances. You deal with my sense of humor and the other peculiarities of my disposition with ease. For all of this I am truly appreciative.
In closing, please accept my congratulations on the publication of the 1996 Buyer’s Guide. It is a beautiful publication in content and design. My best wishes for continued success in ‘96.
East Stroudsburg, PA
Learn to Windsurf
I wanted to congratulate and thank you for making the “Learn to Windsurf” theme the centerpiece of your first issue of American Windsurfer for 1996. This will hopefully encourage and support more entry level windsurfers. Thanks also for including the US SAILING list of Instructor Course dates. Good luck with this and future issues and thanks for your support.
US SAILING Windsurfing Training Advisory Committee Facilitator
I have only had the opportunity to read a few issues of American Windsurfer, the first one being a gift from my Dad. But I would like to say that as an individual who is just becoming addicted to the sport and a way of life, that this magazine entirely promotes the individual joy of windsurfing as a personal religion. It is real fun to be able to read articles about a hobby, sport, way of life, that I love, but not have to feel inadequate or left out because I don’t know all the windsurfing jargon, or cannot perform a perfect jibe. This magazine promotes what’s real about this sport, the personal challenge of improving and the fun of spending a full day with the wind and water. In an attempt to summarize my sentiments, I have written a short poem:
“Alone in the sea, just my windsurfer and me.”
Falls Church, VA
First of all, I’d like to say I have enjoyed reading the last two issues of American Windsurfer. Why? Because they are the only two I have ever purchased or read. You could say I’m a new enthusiast. So new, in fact, I am in the information– gathering stage of the sport. I have never stepped on a board but have been interested for a number of years. Because of my increasing interest, I have subscribed to American Windsurfer and plan to learn how to windsurf this spring and summer.
My initial observation is your magazine’s attention to detail. The two issues I have read are full of intriguing descriptions of races, racers, individuals behind the sport, and exotic destinations where high winds and wave jumping are the norm. They do an excellent job of documenting the daily wait and frustrations of racing. The descriptions of ocean racing and differences of competitors are superb. All of the prior topics are perfect for the seasoned individual, however it would be interesting to have a novice perspective. As an individual with no experience on a board, I am at a disadvantage to the seasoned boardheads.
What I am looking for is information for the unskilled. An avenue where my questions will be answered and interest intensified. How do I get started? What is the best equipment for the beginner? etc.
A beginner’s documentary starting with gear selection and ending with surfing with the masters may be an option for the new windsurfer. A journal which empathizes with the beginner, peaks their interest to continue, and subscribe to American Windsurfer. If you find substance in the idea, I am willing to document my thoughts as I forge ahead. The only challenge I have is finding adequate guidance and water in the state of Nebraska.
Aruba Winner Writes
I am currently an employee at UP Sports of Newport Beach, California and have been for the last four years. Last December I was informed that one of the owners, Brad Teschner, and I were awarded a free trip to Aruba courtesy of American Windsurfer magazine. I couldn’t believe it.
We departed on our journey on January 10 and returned 8 days later. The trip was spectacular… We first flew to New York’s JFK where we had an eight hour layover, so we took advantage of such “misfortune.” We actually took a cab over to Manhattan and walked around for a few hours in the snow. That was great, since neither of us had ever been to NYC. We boarded another plane to San Juan, Puerto Rico and then from there, we finally arrived in Aruba. As promised, the wind was blowing about 15-20 knots and the air was nice and warm. During the following two days we sailed, powered up on 5.5’s most of the time.
The following couple of days brought lighter wind but we found plenty of other activities to enjoy. We paddled kayaks down the beach to a shipwreck and snorkeled around that for a few hours. Snorkeling with the Brazilian girls was the best!! We drove to the windward side of the island to do some sightseeing one day. The locals who ran the resort were very hospitable. They even went to town with us during the evenings to show us where the best nightlife is. A good swell also came in for a couple of days so we were able to surf some of the Bic surfboards. What a blast!! I want to express my sincere appreciation for the opportunity of going to such a beautiful place. The people were wonderful. The accommodations were excellent and the conditions were paradise. Thanks again.
Newport Beach, CA
Keep the great letters coming! ED