Performing some research to write about history of windsurf, I’ve found many different stories. I’ve tried to put all the pieces together but I’m not 100% sure that this is the right one. In any case, it worth it to see the old articles and videos about this matter.

Personally, I loved to see the images about the beginnings of freestyle, they’ve done really crazy things. But, the main conclusion I reach looking at historical data, is that the point of everything was to have fun. They didn’t show any competitive spirit, that made my remember what Jaime Andres wrote in this article, and I’m even more convinced now that he’s totally right. We have to bring that windsurf back.

The invention that made the history of windsurfing

Diseño de la patente de la "windsurfer"Well, the truth is that the first patent related with this sports is from 1968 and belongs to the californians  Jim Drake and Holye Schweitzer. However many people, between them the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, give the invention to  Newman Darby. There is enough evidence showing Darby, during 1965 testing several inventions based on a board and a sail.
In fact the invention that really matters, from the ones or the others, was the articulated union between the board and the sail. The called Universal Joint. If we are strict, there is evidence of the existence of gadgets made with a floating board and a sail since centuries. The Universal Joint was what really gave this thing the potential to be a sport.

The sport

Holye and DianeSome years later Drake sold his part of the patent to  Schweitzer for 36.000 USD. The last started to design several prototypes of what they’ve called “The Windsurfer”. A board of more or less 3,5m long and 27kg weight. Holye and his wife Diane founded Windsurfer International Inc., the first factory of windsurf equipment and started to commercialize it.
A full gear, with a polyethylene board, a daggerboard (weighting around 4kg) and a rig, price was 385 USD!!
Windsurfer International signed a contract with the Dutch Tecate for the fabrication and distribution of The Windsurfer in Europe. During the 70’s and 80’s the windsurf grow a lot as a sport.

In 1973 the first world championship was held and in 1984 started to be an olympic sport. Stephan van den Berg was the first gold medallist. Another important info is that in 1976 a guy called Robby Naish won his first world title at the age of 13.

From here, a lot of legal battles came one after the other about the fabrication rights of this invention. In 1988 Schweitzer patent expired. But at that point, the sport was a reality and the growing was massive, especially in Hawai and Europe.

Here you have 3 very good videos about the history of windsurf.

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