SAILING UP THE LEARNING CURVE
I’ve always thought that one of the great things about windsurfing is that the learning curve goes on nearly forever. Not the kind of sport where you plateau after three seasons. Here’s my take on that:
1981: Browbeaten into taking longboard lessons by some co-workers. Three evenings of falling off the board, climbing back on, and falling off again. Fourth and final lesson, and…..things click. Actual sailing! Follow instructor back to shop and purchase first board, a Dufour Wing!
1982: Fun ensues, but can’t really make it work in high winds. Pivoting daggerboard and harness recommended and purchased, and they work! Suddenly kinda sorta planing to exhaustion in high(er) winds!
1983: F2 Strato purchased with retractable daggerboard which allows full-on planing for the first time, as well as the elusive foot-steering via real foot straps. Jibes are a blast, but no real full-planing “power jibes” with a near-twelve foot board.
1984: Waterstart? Sounds like make believe. Two hours of struggling and being blown slowly across a lake, and it actually starts to work (some of the time)!
Early 1985: Sailboard 295 purchased. First “short” board — thanks to Open Ocean’s Brian Hinde for the awesome design! Now we’re talking. Planing jibes. One evening of breakthrough jibing in an offshore wind on Lake Superior. Twenty knots and glass smooth water. No better way to get the hang of jibing.
August 1985 – 88: Move to Gorge. Get knackered. Meet so many great people. Slowly get the hang of things. Break SO MUCH stuff (1985!). Swim in SO MANY times. Buy glass board — wow. Start riding swells. Learn to duck jibe. Learn to jibe ON a swell. Do two jibes on a swell! Start learning to jump AND TO LAND!
Never look back. Still here trying to tear and turn it up 31 years later!!!!