Utterly Amazing; American I’m Sorry

Reader’s Respond to Volume6: Issue 3-4

Committed Feminist
Today I received the current issue of “American Windsurfer.”  The letter to the editor sent me searching for my copy of AW which ran “The Accidental Tourist” article. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I got out my bifocals and still was unable to find anything objectionable. I am a long time and fairly accomplished wind sailor. I am also a committed feminist and I am heterosexual.

I am sorry to see that the sport is being infiltrated by so many up-tight, sex-obsessed individuals. I say print more nudity of both sexes! The majority of us are open-minded, free spirits. Nudity is not a problem. Violent images associated with sexual images are the problem. I wonder if any of the prim-Puritans who expressed their outrage have spent much time in Europe where there is a much healthier attitude about the human body.
Sue Anne Schleif
Valier, Montana

Typical American
With curiosity I read the letters about “the case” of the photos with the naked woman. Typical American! Here in Europe no one would even look at it. It is the same sick mentality that powered the 40 million dollar case against Clinton and his private problems with sex. What’s disgusting is not the photo nor publishing the photo. 1) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—obscenity too!!!! 2) The finger that points to the moon is not the moon!

You did not have in mind to turn your mag into a photo collection for frustrated young American males. Showing that photo is a sign of serious journalism! Suppressing it would mean to live in countries like the one of Milosewic, like Afghanistan, Sudan, Burma, China and so on. The so called “protection of the reader’s mind” is often championed when it comes to sex but never mentioned when it comes to violence.  When I read cases like this, I am glad not to live in such a Victorian Puritanic country as the USA.

The arguments in the letters lack basic logic. The intention of the article has been to show the lives of a MALE windsurf traveller. And like it or not, sex magazines are very much part of it. How can some of your readers ask you to falsify your report and on the other side expect you to write honest articles? I wonder why not one of the letters mentioned the behavior of the windsurfer!!! Instead they pick on you.
David Hofman
Riva, Italy

Suggestive Tikis
I thought I was “the diehard windsurfer” who read every issue of every windsurfing magazine through and through, missing no details and absorbing all the latest tips and action shots. However, after reading last issue’s AIR MAIL, I realized I must now view each issue with a giant magnifying glass, so as not to miss anything.

American Windsurfer and its staff have never failed to capture windsurfing around the world in its fullest detail, which takes me on a journey with each issue. I feel that everyone who reads the magazine is left well informed and itching to get on the water which supports our sport. These guys are real core windsurfers who sponsor other aspects of our sport more so than any of the other windsurfing magazines, so a minor booboo can easily be overlooked. By the way, Tinho, those are pretty suggestive tikis you carved and placed in front of your shop. Do they represent fertility gods or what? Go ahead and cast those stones, as I’m sure the ones who wrote in to complain are as pure as the driven snow.
Rick Rosemblume


Where’s the “I’m Sorry”
Many times I have been tempted to write to an editor but have never followed through with it. This time I will.

First, I wish to express my disappointment in your lack of apology for your mistake. If I interpreted some of your comments from an earlier issue correctly, you do not have much admiration for our President. However, note the similarities in your explanation of a major blunder to that of our President’s explanations of his mistake. Where’s the “I’m sorry”?

I am a charter subscriber of your magazine and although I did not cancel my subscription, I did not intend to renew. Frankly, I have been getting tired of pictures of scantily clad women who attend windsurfing events. I did not intend to make an issue of it—just drop my subscription. I am a 59 year old, short, chubby, windsurfing grandmother and assumed I would be dismissed as a prude, so I found it very refreshing that several other readers objected to the particularly offensive photograph.

Now I have another dilemma. Mark Archer, your instructional editor, happens to be a close friend of mine. I have been a frequent visitor to Aruba and he considers me to be his “States Mum.” Mark is a classy guy and interested in promoting windsurfing for everyone—not just babes and young male athletic types. So I will wait to make a final decision when it comes to renewal time.
Sharon Chickering
Stevens Point, WI

We’re delighted that you’ve decided to stay with us. Six years is a long time. Don’t wait so long to express your opinions. Your letter is our honor. Especially from charter subscribers! You might find what your looking for after the 4th Airmail letter in the last Issue. ED

How do you spell. . .
How do you spell “APOLOGIZE?” Your last Forecast really missed the mark responding to critics of the Accidental Tourist story. You allude to the need to apologize, but instead you go on to whine (even though you said you weren’t) that your mistake overshadowed all the good things you think that the magazine does. Then, you try to engage us in your distortion of your editorial blunder by talking about the imperfect world we live in, that windsurfing is an imperfect sport, and that there are bigger things to be learned.

So what is it that you learned? What can you commit to your readership in the future? From what I can tell, all you’ve learned is to spell
apologize as “RATIONALIZE”.
Ed Marks
Atlanta, GA

Let’s Get Real
You were way too apologetic about the content of the one photo in “Accidental Tourist.” I’ve always enjoyed American Windsurfer’s wide range of topics & pictures, even when the topics are more about life than sailing. By my way of thinking, this photo depicts a very real part of life. Approve or disapprove—it’s real, but not a real problem. It seems that a lot of people are uncomfortable with sexuality. This is a problem. You know no one caught the real problem photo in the same article. It’s the one of the author drinking & driving. Come on, people get your priorities straight. Get real!
Kurt Vogelman
Vail, Colorado

I was surprised sat the amount of bad press you received about the “Accidental tourist” article. I quite enjoyed the issue and can say that I have seen the same and worse in women’s catalogs sent to my house. Keep including sexy females and males in all your issues. I also hope to see Douglas Faulkner’s underwater nudes in an upcoming issue. Perhaps you would consider an article on sailing spots of North America, including the Great Lakes. I live near Lake Huron in Ontario and have had some epic days wave sailing. It is common in the fall to sail 4.5 with 7-10’ breakers. I also had the chance to sail in Veredaro Beach, Cuba in March ’99. The sailing and people were fantastic! I sailed 5 days in a row with a 5.3 sail and 263 Saxo. Clean breaking waves with N-E side shore wind made for great sailing. Cuba is definitely on my sailing agenda for the next year. Keep up the great work with your magazine and please renew my subscription.
Neil Beveridge
Gilford, Ontario

P.S. I have included some photos. Perhaps you could print them along with my letter?

Can Not Believe
I can not believe the prudish attitude of your “middle class” readers that complained so bitterly about the “RUDE” photo in your last issue. Maybe the whole image of Windsurfing needs a shake up. One gets the impression from your Magazine, and the other one especially, that to windsurf you should be a professional, such as an engineer or a dentist or anesthesiologist or similar. So forget the self–righteous, bigoted,
bourgeois, whining minority and get some ATTITUDE! Personally, I am upset that I missed that issue; it sounds really interesting !

As I am a new subscriber, maybe you could send me a copy with my next issue delivery. It seems that you can’t give them away over there, so maybe you could give me a few extra copies to hand out to my friends. They will be really happy for sure! Regards
Dave Ward

Utterly Amazing
Utterly amazing, inspiring writing. Fabulous images! (WaterColors) What a gift Douglas Faulkner has. He speaks directly to the soul in both word & image.

Thank you AW for braving “beyond the lowest common denominator” & launching deftly into the ethers—ahh! Is it after all so far afield from what some would claim is the “more rightful” domain of AW: a board, breathlessly aloft amidst airs so high. BRAVO A.W.!
Peter Paul Rubens
Portland. OR

Nice Journalism
Love the mag. Lately I’ve been going through all the back issues. I was at the doctor’s office today reading about the TAWR. Some great photos and some nice pieces of journalism.
Manager, Berkeley Windsurfing

Trying To Figure Out
We appreciate your magazine. Having digested your light wind equipment test issue, we have settled on a Star Board Go, Star Board Free 99 or Fanatic Bee 289 with either North Sails Sting or Neil Pryde SuperNova sails. We are a male 160 lb control rider (everything but jibes)and a female 130 lb athletic novice sailing occasionally in central Pennsylvania and Maryland, i.e. light winds. We are buying equipment for the first time after over 4 years away from the sport. We are trying to figure out what sail quiver to put together. Is a (i) 6.0 and (ii) a 7.5 or 8.0 (which one?) the way to go? Do you have an issue that discusses this? Are we on the right track? There are no dealers within less than an hour of here. Can you refer us to a reputable mail order service?
Fred Hoefet

You can pretty much call any shop listed in the back of the magazine. Most large retail shops with 800# can help you. For your area, 8.0 is the way. ED

Gebi’s Mom
Really appreciated the promo article about my son’s endeavors in life and sailing. It is a too little recognized Olympic sport. Since 1984 I never know where he is unless I read about him in a windsurfing magazine. He spends much of his time out of the USA, competting, training other teams, etc to accomplish his goals of a GOLD Olympic medal. Gebi lost the gold in Barcelona in ’92 to a garbage bag that got hung up on his dagger board as he was about to cross the finish line. Wishing Gebi a Gold, downunder!
Gebi’s MOM
glsky@teleweb.net & gsky2@juno.com


Poem for AW
I am sending you a poem—I’ve never submitted one for publication anywhere—of course, being afraid of rejection. However, I know that you will respect it and I am not fearful of sharing it with you, nor the fact that you may decide it is not for AW. I want to share it with you regardless of the outcome! I hope you enjoy it.

Sam took Max (our 6–year old) out on the WindGlider yesterday. He had a ball—we’re getting him geared up for your kids clinic!

You had spoken of your travels here
long ago and recently
of friend lover child
I looked for traces on the shore
sand forever releasing
waves relentlessly efface
I imagined you
sailing these sheltered seas
in smooth breezes since departed

Within this moment may you sail
embracing those same winds
rig spilling whining taut

For/By/In You
skies flow
tides pulse
waves break
currents stir

As you sail on the

Alice Berlow
Marthas Vineyard

Congratulations AW for taking on Mark Archer as Instructional Editor to provide subscribers with what promises to be top quality instruction in your coming issues. AW, as long as you have Mark, you’ll have my subscription. I am acquainted with Mark from several visits to Aruba and have found him to be professional, dedicated, helpful and a friend. I have observed Mark take as much time and patience with beginners as he does with those trying to perfect their jibe. Mark strikes me as a selfless individual who is truly interested in promoting Windsurfing. Congratulations, Mark, for agreeing to sign on with AW. You are long overdue for some well deserved prominence and I am particularly pleased and excited that you will be involved with articles on instruction. Your first workshop entitled, “Welcome to Paradise,” was right on. What a great beginning and good luck in your new position.

Bob Lupien
Keene, NH

Duct Taping
I want to thank you for publishing the article on “Duct Taping” by Mark Archer. I spent last weekend at San Luis Reservoir with ABK. It was a great experience. Unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to windsurf that often, so when I do get an opportunity I usually tear my hands apart. Lucky for me I just happened to run into Mark Archer, who was teaching at ABK. He pulled out the latest edition of American Windsurfer, and shot right to the page about using duct tape for the hands. I usually end up taping with athletic tape, which leaves a horrible sticky residue, but duct tape was great. The advice was sound, and the technique worked so well that we had others also giving it a try. Not only did my hands last through the four day instructional session, but they also made it through dawn patrol with 35+ mph winds. Mark is a great instructor and also a wonderful ambassador for the sport.
Scot McGregor

I Love It!!
I am a subscriber to your magazine and I just want to compliment you on how good your latest issue is!!!! The one with all the board reviews. It is
incredible, I love it!! The testing results were so informative and it really gave me an excellent idea of which board and sail I should be looking at! Thanks!!! The photos were great too!! Keep it up!!

Plea for Safety
While sailing at the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery in the Columbia Gorge on Friday, July 16, 1999, another sailor jibed on top of me. Not seeing me, the other sailor failed to change direction. I tried turning and jumping off my board, but the tip of his board jammed into the back of my right thigh. He asked if I was OK. My response was that he hit my thigh hard. He stared at me a couple of seconds and sailed away. I limped out of the water and back to the car. I didn’t realize how bad I was hit until a friend back at the car watched me limp back with blood on my foot. I had a gash 4 inches long, 2 inches wide, and an inch and a half deep. I spent the afternoon and evening in ambulances and ER. As I write this a week later, I’m lying on my back as it’s too painful to sit up.

I would like this story to be a reminder for all windsurfers to: 1. LOOK BEFORE YOU JIBE. Be aware of what’s going on around you. 2. If someone is bodily hit, take time to determine the extent of the injury. Sail into shore with them if necessary. It’s normal that an injured person doesn’t know how bad they’ve been hit. 3. When crash is imminent, put your gear between you and the other person’s gear. It’s easier to repair a board than a body part.Thanks, and sail safely!
Marc Fovinci
West Linn, OR

That Kid’s Camp completely rejuvenated my faith in our sport and recharged my spirit. I appreciate your instrumental role as you worked so hard to pull it off. Way to go.

The brother and sister pair I instructed that weekend smiled more often and with greater gusto than any two siblings I have ever seen. The aloha certainly flowed freely. I just wanted to say thanks.!
Dan Weiss
Boston, MA

Thank you and to all the volunteers who came out to lend a hand. See “Hatching Windsurfers” on Page 40.

Test on the Web
Excellent stuff to have your tests on the web. Save’s a lot of time asking around etc. Keep it up! So hard to pull it off. Way to go.

Burying an Old Friend
“Snap, crackle, pop” are not sounds proprietary to a popular breakfast cereal. They’re also the sounds of a popular production-board exceeding its fatigue life. Bumping and jumping one moderate afternoon, my well-worn Screamer disintegrated like a satellite on re-entry. Nothing against Mistral—the board had suffered nine years of sun and surf-—but conclusive evidence that boards have limited lives. More cracks
surfaced in those four hours than would on a mirror facing Medusa on a bad hair day. We didn’t crash and burn, did not ram a rock, didn’t tank a tree trunk. My board simply—died. The mast-track drove through the deck, spider webs flared from footstraps, the fin-box fractured and the foil dropped out like a high school druggie. I paddled it, swam it, pushed it and shoved it more than a mile to shore, washing up on the beach like dying kelp. Sailing fin-less while towing the harness as a drogue only works in theory—after four hour’s sailing my forearms were already spent like gambling money and without hooking-in I couldn’t hold my own attention, let alone a six-meter wind-scoop. I’d waterstart, spin-out, backwind, slam-dunk, gulp, choke, cough, spit and then do it all again, until fatigue and frustration made me furious. There’s a point reached when your brain tells your fingers to grip the boom, and your fingers give your brain the finger. Sun, stress and strain had taken my board’s life. I dragged the deceased into a surf-shop and spoke to the coroner. “Can you fix it?”

“I can, but it would cost more than the board’s worth,” he said. “It’s time to toss it and get a new one.” “But I love this board—man. It jibes like a dream. When the wind dies, it’s just the right
volume to get me home and—”

“It didn’t get you home yesterday,” he said. “But if you put in a new box, maybe bandage those cracks, fill in around the—”

“Look, I could repair it,” he said, flexing the deck with thumb-pressure. “But would you trust it?”

Those words hit me like shorebreak—”would you trust it.” I had to answer “no”. It had never let me down before, but neither had my Toyota ‘til it croaked half-way between LA and Vegas, coughing-up a lung like a lifelong Camel unfiltered smoker. The Toyota was towed to the wreckers, to be recycled into minivans for soccer moms. I only wish a more dignified reincarnation for my faithful friend.

By the way, do you bury a glass-reinforced plastic board in the glass or plastics recycling bin?
Dan Welch
Somewhere off the coast of New Zealand

Dan Welch is AW’s new roving Travel Editor. He is sailing around the world on his sailboat that is outfitted with four windsurfing probes. Half way around the world, Welch’s first chronicle of his travels will appear in the next issue. ED