Windsurfing history

50 events that changed the world of WINDSURFING

1958 – Twelve years old Peter Chilvers (GBR) is inventing and sailing a board with sail connected together with a universal joint in Southern England.

1963 – Robby Naish (USA) is born. We will hear a lot about him in the future.

1963 – Newman Darby (USA) is testing his „SAILBOARD“. Rider controls the  kite-shaped sail standing on the lee side. The crafts will be manufactured starting in 1964, and also produced DIY, but patent papers are not filled.

1967 – Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer (both USA) are testing a board with sail at Marina del Rey, California. They call it simply „SK-8“.

1968 – Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer apply for a patent of „WIND-PROPELLED APPARATUS“. The name „WINDSURFER“  is used in 1969, patent will be granted in 1970, mass production will start soon.

1972 – Calle Schmidt (DEU) brings the first WINDSURFER to Germany. Later this year in Sylt, the first competition in Europe is organized. 

1972 – MISTRAL company is founded by Peter Brockhaus and Ernstfried Prade (both DEU). Boards from this brand will be available in 1976.

1973 – TEN CATE, Dutch textile producer, wants to sell canvas to make sails (maybe it occured in 1972). Insteaded, they become official European importer for Windsurfer. In 1977 (1973 or 1976 according to other sources) the mass production under Schweitzer´s licence starts.

1973 – Bruce Matlack (USA) becomes the first windsurfing world champion in San Diego.

1974 – WINDSURFING HAWAII company is founded. Windsurfers from Kailua „Thor“ Horgan, Larry Stanley and Pat Love and others are developing further basics of advanced WS equipment: harness in 1975, storm sails 1976, foot straps will follow in 1977, adjustable booms in 1979).

1975 – Fred Ostermann´s (DEU) WINDGLIDER company starts licenced production.

1975 – NEIL PRYDE (sail producer since 1970) makes first sails for sailboards.

1975 – Mike Waltz (USA) uses the WS rig on short surf board in big waves (maybe it occured in 1978).

1976 – Robby Naish (US-1111) wins his first title at Bahamas Worlds (he will win another 22 world titles in subsequent years)

1977 – Derk Thijs (NLD) breaks the 17 knot speed barrier on WINGLIDER (not serial board).

1977 – The first NORTH SAILS windsurfing sails are on the market. The production under licence will be moved to Germany in 1981.

1978 – HiFly company is established. Its blow-moulded PE boards will be soon famous for their durability.

1978 – Mr. Vorapant Chotikapanich (THA), founds the WINDGLIDER THAILAND company (later it is renamed to COBRA). It will become the world leader in the beginning of 21st century, covering 90% of world board production.

1979 – John Speer (USA) is probably the first one to use hydrofoil on a windsurfer. Several other designs will come later: Joop Nederpelt/MISTRAL 1980, Peter Harken 1985, Rich Miller 1997.

1979 – BIC is established by Baron Bich (FRA). It´s division DUFOUR WING buys the WS licence. Ken Winner (USA) provides first designs.

GAASTRA SAILS (est. 1897) becomes market leader in windsurf sails.

1981 – F2 is established by P. Brockhaus. Rider and shaper Jurgen Honscheid (DEU) introduces „FUNboard concept“.

1981 – NORTH SAILS brand (est. 1957) enters windsurfing business.

1981 – Retractable daggerboards are introduced.

1981 – FANATIC company is established.

1982 – WINDGLIDER is chosen as the board for the 1984 Olympics. Fred Ostermann sells his business to DUFOUR.

1982 – Christian Marty (FRA) is crossing the Atlantic ocean on a windsurfer (3860 km in 37 days).

1982 – Windsurf board sales are at their height. In Germany alone, 80 000 boards are sold. HiFly sells 22000 boards per year (21000 boards in 1983, 17080 boards in 1984). Sales of BIC (TABOUR/DUFOUR) are even higher.

1982 – Jenna de Rosnay (FRA) sets the world women’s sailing speed record on 23,67 knots. She will set another one in 1984 again. Moreover she will become forever the most photographed women in windsurfing history.

1982 – Full length battens are introduced.

1983 – Fred Haywood (USA) reaches the 30,83 knots speed in Weymouth. This is probably the very first use of seat harness.

1983 – Gaastra introduces and applies for a patent of a camber inducer.

1984 – Clamp booms and RAF sails are introduced.

1984 – Arnaud de Rosnay (FRA), experienced adventure windsurfer, traveller and photographer disappears at sea in the Taiwan Strait. 

1984 – Stephan van den Berg (NLD) becomes the first Olympic windsurfing gold medalist in Los Angeles. Scott Steele (USA) takes silver, Bruce Kendall (NZ) takes bronze.

1985 – Legaignoux brothers (FRA) demonstrate the first inflatable kite (commercial boom will start at the end of century, when Robby Naish gets involved).

1986 – Pascal Maka (FRA) sets the world WS speed record – 38.86 knots in Fuerteventura.

1987 – Windsurfing Intl. terminates operation (about 400 000 one design Windsurfers have been sold since 1970).

1988 – Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11) gets his first world title. He will win 42 World Championship in all disciplines and set several speed records.

1988 – Bruce Kendall (NZ) becomes the second Olympic gold medalist (Lechner DII class).

1988 – Eric Beale is the first sailor to break the 40 knot barrier.

1990 – Jason Polakow (AUS) starts his PWA career. In 1997 he will be crowned PWA Wave-sailing World Champion and he’ll  launch his own board brand.

1990 – The first Indoor windsurfing event is organised in Bercy, Paris.

1992 – Barbara Kendall (NZ) wins the first ladies Olympic windsurfing competition (DII – Lechner). Franck David (FRA) wins gold in men´s category.

1992 – Antoine Albeau (FRA-192) makes his PWA debut. Soon he will win multiple world IFCA and PWA titles and will hold speed records.

1994 – Svein Rasmussen (NOR), a successfull windsurfing rider, starts his own windsurfing company called STARBOARD.

1996 – Olympic´s regatta uses Mistral One Design boards (designed in 1989, modified MOD will be later used for 2000 and 2004 Olympics).

1998 – Transatlantic Windsurfing Race – Four teams (USA, GBR, FRA, GRE), including top PWA windsurfers Anders Bringdal and Micah Buzianis) race from Canada to England.

1999 – First Formula World Championships held in Belgium

(the maximum board width is 1m, 12.5m2 sail).

2000 – Current WS speed record holder is Thierry Bielak (FRA) with 45.34 kts (since 1993), PWA overall winner is Kevin Pritchard (USA).

2000 – Vaclav Hornik is launching…

2000 is not the end of SAILBOARDING history…

WINDSURFINGMUSEUMPRAGUE thanks to:,, Jan Volman, Jan Štumbauer, Marek Raška, Joe Windsurfer, members of Old school windsurfers FB group, and many other.
For study purposes only – 5.2019.