I am an avid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsurfing windsurfer
, or maybe I was. The sport is now mature (I have started in ... 1975), and have somewhat lost the excitement we enjoyed before as the state of the art was constantly progressing, but have stagnated for some years now. It even kind of became an "old people sport", as the new generation - even my daughter - took on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitesurfing kiteboarding instead
which is easier to learn and less physically taxing, especially when you must carry all the gear on soft sand.
But the excitement is back, in the form of a... return to the roots! First a lot of people began to put a windurfer rig on top of a surfboard, specifically the new large http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_up_paddle_surfing SUP
boards, able to support more weight than regular surfboards, not unlike http://www.surfline.com/surfaz/surfaz.cfm?id=924 tandem
boards. It is really a return to the roots, as the first windsurfer was conceived exactly in this manner (putting a rig on a longboard). However, this time, thanks to the progress both in windsurfing technique, sails, rigs and fins, and board construction and shape, the result has nothing in common with the early sailboards. Even Robby Naish, our God of windsurfers has http://www.shq.com.au/shq/ktml2/images/uploads/SUP/DW_img003.jpg?0.44054415931884455 tried it
Then,what happened to surfing has been happening also to this "new old" surfing-with-a-sail reinvention of sailboarding. First, we saw the "hotdogging" movement I witnessed in my surfing youth with wide and shorter boards, with a fin placed full forward and a step to release the water flow at the tail. For surfing it was the famous 1970 http://www.newyorksurf.com/modules/xcgal/albums/userpics/10359/normal_small%20aipa.jpg stingers
of Ben Aipa, for windsurfing the http://www.kona-windsurfing.com/products/konaminitanker.asp Kona
with a step bottom, and modern windsurfing traits that are the pad and straps.
And now, we are entering surfing's 1960s and its the twin finned short http://www.surfline.com/surfaz/surfaz.cfm?id=803 fish
, with the new AHD http://www.a-h-d.com/news/index.wrd?newsid=340&ahdid=3ea1a823d8d614e09fdb88978d143f45 Sea lion
, a strapless twin fin, and even some custom boards like the one in the picture
We are even seeing the return of soft cloth (aka Dacron) sails, in the form of the new http://www.hotsailsmaui.com/2008/sails.php?sail=superfreak superfreak
. Although I must confess that I am not ready to move back from my beloved http://www.ezzy.com/ Ezzy sails
So, I am back on a windsurfer after 33 years, with my new Kona and Sea Lion, ready for new adventures... see you on the water!
See some nice descriptions and photos (french) of a trial day of the sea lion at the U-ride forum
, and videos of this week-end (