The Biggest Catch in Maui… and other fish stories.

Spear fishing has become a lucrative passion for brothers Greg and Alex Aguera. With fellow windsurfer Don Vitarelli, the Agueras helped land the largest Ulua (jack Trevally fish) caught in Maui county, according to the record.  Greg explains: “We were all in the water and Donny started shouting. We thought a shark had attacked him…” It turned out Vitarelli had wounded the big fish and was dragged for a considerable distance.  “Alex went under and found the speared fish hiding between coral reefs and finished the kill.”  Getting the fish to shore was another ordeal.  “We practically sank Alex’s fourteen-foot boat.”  The three windsurfers held their breath as the jumbo Ulua got weighed in at 121 pounds, beating the old record by a whopping one pound.  “We took the fish to Nagasako Fish Market and sold it for $200; not bad for a mornings’ work before sailing.”

On another island, Lisa Neuburger, recently retired from the World Cup Race Tour, has started an alternative travel and destination business that will combine windsurfing clinic packages with adventure travel vacations in the Virgin Islands.  Ecologically-minded adventure travel, or eco-tourism, is becoming increasingly popular as people see the need to preserve the natural resources and culture of the world’s remaining “paradises.”  As if that was not enough, she has also started construction on her dream house in the Columbia River Gorge, a rewarding transition from thirteen years of competitive racing, stressing and saving.  Certainly this is the best of both worlds: summers in The Gorge and winters in the Virgin Islands.  Neuburger will continue to race on the US circuit to uphold her titles and promote windsurfing.
On the nearby British Virgin Island of Tortola, Andy Morrell, US National Champion, has revived, resurrected and renewed a race of legendary proportions.  Known as the HIHO (Hook In and Hold On), it was, once upon a time, the dream windsurfing adventure for every sailor in the United States: a race that goes from island to island, followed by a flotilla of party sailboats that supply life to the animals and bunks for the weary.  It is indeed a regatta that conjures up the romantic notions of windsurfing adventure and fun.Speaking of romantic notions, Julie Gutz, age: “retired”, of Lake Kabetogama, Minnesota, who frequents Aruba every winter to windsurf, also played in the original all-girls professional baseball league in the early 1950s.  Hollywood recently brought attention to the league in the hit movie, “A League of Their Own.”  Though not based on Gutz’s professional life, the Dottie Hinson character (played by Geea Davis) had many similarities.  Both were catchers and both grew up on farms, milking cows and displaying talent for slugging baseballs.


Another star in the making is Judi Meindl, a doctor of emergency medicine with an L.A.-based trauma center.  Meindl, a spirited Japanese-German beauty, has been asked to star in a medical question & answer series-for the famous Music Television network.  Production is said to begin in the fall. Dr. Meindl seems to be in high demand, as she will also appear in a new television program fashioned after the successful series, “Rescue 911.”  The news was that the production company made the deal and set filming dates with the hospital, but when it became apparent that the filming conflicted with Meindl’s windsurfing vacation plans, production dates were changed for the star. (It certainly seems that this gal has got her priorities straight).
In Henry Allen’s article “Gone with the Wind” he mentions a Yugoslavian beauty “with a huge triumphal grin…”  American Windsurfer tracked her down in Aruba.  Her name is Snezana Nesic (pronounced Schnashna), an airbrush artist from Beograd. Since leaving war-torn Yugoslavia in 1991, Nesic started windsurfing and supported herself by making custom hand-painted windsurfing T-shirts.  Her highly creative works of art bear titles like “Board Meeting,” “Off the Lip,” “All Powered Up and No Place to Jibe,” “Don’t drink and Jibe,” “Stop Complaining and Start Planing” and her latest: “Da Huts,” a tribute to “DaKine” and Aruba’s Fisherman Huts, and the shirts reflect her innate wit and charm.  With boyfriend Charles Dasher, Nesic will spend three months in the Columbia River Gorge to “promote Aruba” and garner ideas for more windsurfing T-shirts.  The project is entitled “Aruba across America” and sponsorship is being provided by Sailboard Vacations.

A Windsurfer has sailed the final frontier!  J. Michael Foale, boardhead astronaut, blasted off into space on the space shuttle Discovery this Spring. Foale is also an amateur radio specialist (KBSUAC are his call letters), and from space he talked to amateur radio operators on Earth via the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX). SAREX was established by NASA, the American Radio League & Amateur Radio Satellite Corporation and the Johnson Space Center Amateur Radio Club to encourage public participation in the space program through an endeavor to demonstrate the effectiveness of conducting short-wave radio transmissions.  As on several previous missions, SAREX was used on this flight as an educational opportunity for students around the world to learn about space first-hand by speaking directly to astronauts aboard the Shuttle.

With the ever increasing popularity of windsurfing closer to home, sailors of all levels are also looking to expand the boundaries of their sport. Six “average” sailors from Tortola are planning to do just that by pushing their abilities to the limit.  In July of this year, these six windsurfers will embark on an attempt to windsurf every mile between Grenada and Antigua, the entire length of the windward chain of the Caribbean Islands, a total distance of about 250 miles.  Joining the six recreational sailors will be a photographer and a second mate who will sail a fifty-one-foot yacht serving as home base for the entire three-week trip.  The yacht will be the safety co-ordination center, monitoring the sailors by VHF as they cross the long stretches of open water between islands. All sailors will carry VHF radios for communication and the leader will carry a GPS (General Positioning System), a precise satellite navigation unit.  American Windsurfer will bring you a special look at the “West Indies Windsurf Tour” in a future issue.

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Someone just home from a different kind of travel adventure is Mike Jacoby, four-time World Champion snowboarder who happens to be crazy about windsurfing.  Jacoby recently returned from a two week helicopter/snowboard assault on Kanotski Peak in the Kamchatka Peninsula, straight across the Bering Sea from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.  The trip was made for a future TV documentary with extreme film maker John Egan, who seems to be everywhere — Anthony Scaturo of Neil Pryde reports that he just returned from a trip with Egan to the Dominican Republic to film a windsurfing documentary. A major impression that jacoby had was how inexpensive things were.  “We rented a helicopter for a week for $400.”  Hey, any windy spots out there?

For some industry news, changes are in the air: East, West, and everywhere. Most notable however, is the ascent of Dave Buemi.  This soft-spoken world-class racer who does his talking with results has been promoted to the presidential seat at Mistral Inc., USA. Replacing Alex Shuster will be a major challenge, but if anybody can, Buemi can (and usually can do better).  He began his career in the windsurfing industry by opening a successful dealership in Annapolis, Maryland.  Subsequently he joined North Sails and played a key role in establishing the sail company in the U.S. market. Buemi climbed aboard Mistral two years ago as Director of Sales and Marketing for the U.S. and Canada. With his marketing leadership  (or was it sailing tactics?), Mistral captured a big market share with the One-Design Class and board which was named this year as the official Olympic board.

On the western front, another change of major interest: Tony Logosz of Logoszworks and Richard Green of GEM (Got Enough Money?) are merging their talents and uniting their U.S. distribution. Logosz, from White Salmon, Washington, is known for his unconventional spirit and often “bizarre” approach to board designs; while Green, a trans-plant from the East Coast Nautical academies, has attained status as a guru among World Cup racers for his fast racing boards.  When asked why one shaper would work with with another, Logosz m responded: “The beauty of working with Richard is that by sharing our talents, I can concentrate on the area of my expertise (freestyle), and ditto for Richard (racing)”.  Distribution and marketing secrets are no strangers to Byron Hero of Danskin, and half a dozen other companies.  The marketing genius is ready to jump into the windsurfing fray by purchasing the disuibutorship of Fanatic, A.R.T. and Copello Boards.  Hero is well-known in the waterski industry because he owns three manufacturing companies and is married to Camille Duvall, five-time World Champion water- skier.  The Hero formula for success is well known: buy a company that is a technology leader, market the heck out of it and then sell clothes under the same brand.  “People don’t buy windsurfers everyday, but they do buy clothes almost everyday.” says the entrepreneurial expert from his office in New York City.


To further concentrate on their area of expertise, the board of directors of the A.W.I.A. (American Windsurfing Industry Association) has hired a full time Executive Director.  They somehow succeeded in luring the talents of Scott See.  See has been the advertising manager for Rolex and Tudor watches for the past six years and has been consulted by many businesses on advertising and promotional concerns.  An enthusi- astic boardhead, he played a big role in Tudor’s windsurfing sponsorship and some of the creative marketing behind the program.  Asked why he would leave a comfortable job with Tudor/ Rolex, See’s response was, “It’s a challenge, but some fool has to do it.”