History of surfing and windsurfing
It is believed that the first surfers were Polynesians. According to Polynesian legends, their ancestors practiced skating on the board long before the settlement of the Polynesian islands.
The first mention of their art came from a famous researcher – captain James Cook in 1778. During his third round-the-world trip, Hawaiian islands were discovered. Cook was struck by how the Polynesians cleverly overcome the big wave, easily managing the board. It should be noted that the leaders of the tribe had the best boards. Even made from local balsa wood, the weight of their “olo” boards reached 70 kg, with a length of up to 5.5 meters. Lesser people were content with heavier copies of the koa tree.
After the appearance of missionaries in the Hawaiian islands who recognized surfing as immoral, surfing fell into decay. The revival of surfing began only at the dawn of the 20th century.
Compared to surfing, windsurfing is a fairly young sport and its history is well known.
In my opinion, many mistakenly recognize Newman Derby as the creator of the windsurf. Indeed, Derby was the first to use a hinged mast, but his sailboard design was structurally very similar to the one we see in modern windsurfs.
It must be said that Newman began to engage in the creation of rattle boats, with a sailing system on a movable hinge in 1949. According to some reports, he used a wide oar to control his board, and only in 1962 did the idea of direct sail control arise.
At first it was a catamaran with a hinged mast. He controlled the sail with his hands. The catamaran was replaced by a small rattle boat.
In 1964, a successful test was conducted on a lake in Pesilvania.
Since 1965, Darby, his wife Naomi and brother Ken founded Darby Industries, Inc. and set up production of sailboards. At first, the business developed quite successfully, the first copies of sailboards were sold, and after the publication of a number of articles in Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines, interest in a sailing boat grew significantly not only in America but also abroad. Darby Industries, Inc. filed an application for a patent, but there was a fire in the workshop, production was stopped and consideration of the application was postponed.
Another of the applicants for the authorship of the creation of the windsurfer was the Englishman Peter Chelvers. Peter, an engineer at the famous automobile company Lotus Car, in 1958 on the island of Hayling, invented his prototype of a board with a sail. As evidence, he cited photographs of his windsurf of that period.
Nevertheless, for the fact that there is a modern windsurf and windsurfing, we must thank the residents of Southern California Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer. They went their own way, abandoning the idea of using a small boat as the basis, replacing it with a board that is not so sensitive to the size of the wave.
In 1968, Drake and Schweitzer created Windserfing International inc., And in 1970 received a patent for their design of a sailboard called the “windsurfer”. The great merit of Jim and Hoyle lies not only in the fact that they invented windsurf, but also put a lot of effort into its popularization. You must admit that history knows many examples when wonderful inventions are still not widely used.
By the way, according to Jim Drake himself, he and Hoyle Schweitzer did not know about the invention of Newman Derby.
Windserfing International inc. defended its authorship in all legal proceedings aimed at trying to attribute the primacy of windsurfer creation to other applicants.
Depending on the directions of windsurfing, boards and sails differ from each other.
The main areas of windsurfing are:
Olympic class – all competitors use the same surfers of the same manufacturer, designed for performances in a wide range of wind power.
Racing class – boards of this class must meet the requirements: width up to 1 meter, fin up to 0.7 meters, sail area should not exceed 12.5 square meters.
Slalom – for this class is regulated: width up to 0.8 meters, sail area not higher than 10 square meters. The athlete can declare up to 4 different sails and 2 types of boards for different conditions.
Freestyle – a distinctive feature of this class is that it evaluates both the beauty and the complexity of the performed figures in a regulated amount of time.
SuperX or super cross – a feature is the need to perform tricks and overcome obstacles regulated by racing instructions.
Wave is one of the most spectacular windsurfing destinations. Competitions take place on the breaking waves. The beauty, the complexity of the tricks and the athlete’s ability to control the board on the wave are evaluated.
Surfing and windsurfing are gaining more and more popularity every year, not only as a sport, but also as a form of extreme hobby and relaxation.