|FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT AND PIONEERING THE FUTURE
The Future of Windsurfing - as viewed in 2005 by Jim Drake
Windsurfing is in it's infancy compared to other individual participation sports -- like skiing, golf, tennis and bicycling. This means that the future can be dramatically different from today.
In 1967, on the day windsurfing was born, skiing already had composite skis and plastic boots, tennis had metal rackets and road bikes were already at a high state of refinement. But these seemingly mature sports still had revolutionary steps in front of them. Snowboards, carbon fiber rackets and bike frames, suspension frames and disk brakes for bikes to name a few. And so it will be for windsurfing, all the more so because of its youth.
Windsurfing is very similar to two other successful and mature sports -- skiing and bicycling -- that can be used as an analogy to highlight where windsurfing might go. One obvious area is technology. It will
is the vision"
improve by lowering the entry level price for high quality gear. Mass produced colorful sails with glued seams are a good possibility here. Technology will also continue to lower the wind required to plane. Wider boards and deeper fins, perhaps with lifting foils, and radical new sail concepts will move in this direction. And a branch of the sport -- recently named cruising -- will offer serenity under all conditions.
But perhaps the most important trend will be to expand its potential as a spectator sport to the benefit of its popularity as a participation sport -- just like skiing and bicycling. For this to happen the concept of a stadium must be developed. Video recorded events at remote locations do not have the immediacy of real time close in experiences. A more dramatic and effective idea would be outdoor floating bleachers moved from shore and moored suitably close to, say, a slalom 42 or Super X course. Tickets, advertising, beer and hamburgers could well support such an enterprise. The synergistic connection between sailor/spectator, competitor/manufacturer and advertiser/entrepreneur works in all other individual sports like windsurfing. What's needed is the vision - and just a little money and luck.
39 years ago: Jim Drake designed ,built and sailed the world's first windsurfer.
31 years ago: Matt Schweitzer won the first windsurfing world title, and his family made it the worlds most popular watersport.
11 years ago: Starboard was born and pioneered windsurfing ever since.
Everyone is windsurfing. From 4 year-old kids on the flat waters of Bonaire to people taking their first lessons on a mountain lake in Europe. From the waveriders of Maui and Western Australia, to the high-speed drag racers along the Atlantic Coast. Even a normal,
active family on a summer trip can enjoy windsurfing.
Everywhere a patch of water can be found - a lake, a beach, a river or reservoir - people are windsurfing. Be it in the middle of a city, on the south coast a calm summer day, or a windy winter evening on a river, windsurfing has venues the World over.
Everytime the slightest breeze sets in, modern boards of all styles get planing. Earlier than ever: racing, slalom, wave, bump-n-jump, freeride. Now, new Hybrids offering both modern planing performance and sailing thrills in sub-planing conditions achieve a wider wind range than ever before. Everyone is windsurfing more often.
Over the last decade, Starboard has been at the forefront of windsurfing. Continuously pushing the limits of R&D and never afraid to try bold ideas. Starboard continues taking windsurfing to new levels by pushing the development envelope.
Since 1995, the following milestones have been set by the company said to have brought windsurfing back to the masses:
Wood Technology - 1995 - the World's first wood sandwich boards
GO - 1998 - the World's first wide short-board, the first full EVA deck
Carve - 1999 - the World's first short, wide freeride boards
Start - 1999 - the World's first ultra-wide beginner board
Formula - 1999 - the World's first dedicated Formula windsurfing board
Free Formula - 2000 - the World's first freeride oriented Formula board
Fish - 2000 - the World's first short and wide real world waveboard
Formula Experience - 2001 - the World's first Formula Experience boards
Kiddy - 2002 - the World's first real kids board
Hypersonic - 2002 - the World's first short, wide slalom boards
Compact - 2004 - the World's first 2m windsurf board made for traveling
Pro Kids - 2004 - the World's first dedicated performance boards for kids
Express II - 2004 - the World's first wide sandwich board with a daggerboard
Z-Class - 2004 - the World's first production Hybrid style board
Hybrid Race/Carve - 2005 - the World's first Duck-Tail Hybrid board
Aero - 2005 - the World's first lightwind cross-over board