Introduction to Windsurfing
Learn to Windsurf
Introduction to Windsurfing


Most people regard Windsurfing to be the brainchild of two southern Californians, Jim Drake (sailor) and Hoyle Schweitzer (surfer), who combined their two sports into a workable, if not somewhat unusual, new hybrid sport. At the same time, Bert Salisbury of Seattle, Washington, met Drake and Schweitzer during a trip to Malibu beach with intense enthusiasm and interest. Without delay, the men obtained patents and soon the world was introduced to this new sport aptly named (as suggested by Salisbury) "Windsurfing". Although it was Drake and Schweitze who helped evolve the sport into what we know it as today, however the fathers of the sport of sailboarding should be attributed to Newman and Naomi Darby.

Credit goes to the American Windsurfing Magazine that Newman and Naomi's story came was revealed. Even though the Darby's name had been associated thru the years when the origins of windsurfing was talked about, their concept was always deemed to as something that didn't work. However, Newman had been experimenting with the concept of a 'free sail' since 1948 and the Darby's were making and marketing their boards in 1964. And can you believe it - It was a woman, Naomi, who was the first person to be photographed sailboarding!

An event organized by Brian & Lorraine Carlstrom on August 20th, 1997 was held honoring Newman Darby. The event drew a crowd of 300 plus, the first public acknowledgment of Darby's contribution to the sport of windsurfing.

The essence of both the Darby's and Drake & Schweitzer's co-invention was placing a sail on a universal joint which required the person to support the rig, allowing the rig to be tilted in any direction. This tilting of the rig fore and aft allows the board to be maneuvered without having to use a rudder.

The Darby's ceased their production of sailboards by the late 1960s as sales were few and it wasn't until Schweitzer's Windsurfer™, which was mass produced in the early 70s that the new sport took off. These tough polyethylene boards were used for all sailing levels, as they were the only boards available. Starters learned on them, and experts gained mastery on them. Everybody made the Windsurfer™ work regardless. Windsurfing fever had Europe firmly in its grasp by the late 1970s. Europeans, who have been attracted more to individual than team sports, we drawn to windsurfing in masses, and one in every three sailing families had a sailboard, as they were called back then. Many European manufacturers produced their own types of the Windsurfer™, and a thriving industry was born by such companies as BIC, a French plastic disposable writing pen company.

Americans started purchasing the advanced European-made boards, which still continues to this day. The Early 1980s saw a period of amazing expansion for the sport of windsurfing. Racing participation was at an all-time high, which lead to the creation of the professional World Cup tour, and in 1984 the first Windsurfing Olympic event was held at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Equipment development progressed at a feverish pitch through the mid-80s, as seen when a windsurfer captured the world speed-sailing record at slightly faster than 36 knots. Since then, windsurfers on extremely specialized equipment, sailing winds of 40 knots and above, have pushed that speed up to an incredible level, 45.34 knots. Now, windsurfing is a fully matured sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages.

Details exerpted from a number of sources.
Bellis, Mary. "History of Windsurfing." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Accessed 2021-03-07