Windsurfing – Not keeping up with the competition?

Today – with Jimmy DiAZ – former President of the PWA Worldtour!

Some decades ago windsurfing was the Sh… – is was extreme action, every beach had it’s own surfer dude and almost every car in Germany had a board strapped to the car always.

Windsurfing had NO competition, but this is no longer the case. What happened and how do we earn back the lost ground.

Question is whether Windsurfing still is cool, or if it’s only us old-timers that think so!

I have had the pleasure meeting some of the windsurfers from back when everything was blooming hot – but just before we get to the interviews here are some stats from instagram.

#windsurf:::638580
#surf:::22530946
#kitesurf:::1486837
#wakeboarding:::1734490
#sup:::4446858
#supyoga:::431286

Windsurfing is old enough to be RAD again!

People started windsurfing so long ago that through the years this amazing sport has lost some of its glitter and glamour and just not keeping up in the popularity scale against other watersports. But why is that and can it be changed?  

Windsurfing has been around since start 1960s and the first patent was applied for in 1968 and accepted in 1970. So Windsurfing goes way back and its path through history shows the changes in what we know of today as Windsurfing.

During the seventies and eighties, the sport rose to fame and in the nineties the sport exploded. Back then Windsurfers were the ones to be. The likes as Pete Cabrinha, Robbie Naish, Anders Bringdahl, Mike Waltze, Peter Boyd, Mark and Josh Angulo and Bjørn Dunkerbeck – just to name a few – were somebody everyone looked up to and wanted to be like.

Though its seems like that was the golden age as history shows a decrease in the sport and its development since then. But why is that? In the hope to understand why Windsurfing got sidetracked and what it would take to get it back to its former level – room for professionals to get better sponsorships, but first and foremost to reinstate a true and strong level of amateurs, we have spoken with three musketeers from back when everything still was flourishing. 

Jimmy Diaz

We met up with Jimmy in Hvide Sande to get his take on Windsurfings past and present. Jimmy is the former President of the PWA Tour (Pro Windsurfing Association) and a long time passionate windsurfer himself. Today he is running an International acclaimed surf center in Turkey.

Jimmy goes way back – not like some of us that started with the wooden boom… but still he started on the brand ‘Windsurfer’ (a long heavy beast) which he shared with his brother.

What is windsurfing to you: “A Passion, sport for life and a sustainable lifestyle. Who would have thought that I would be windsurfing some 30 years later? This day today my wife and I run a business that offers kids something to keep them off the streets. A life with windsurfing and the sea close to the heart. So, to sum up what windsurfing gives me: A different perspective on life.”

How is the life as a pro: “It’s not a 9 to 5 kind of job, I tell you! It’s a hassle! Being in business as a pro windsurfer is not all glory and fame. You have to work hard and long hours if you want to stay in the game – but boy! It’s also so rewarding and I wouldn’t be without the memories! All the people I met, all the countries I’ve traveled to – in so many ways I feel richer than most, perhaps not like how most perceives richness, but nevertheless that’s exactly how I feel!” 

Windsurfing was the “thing to do” in the early nineties, but not anymore – what happened: “Good question! I think that the industry is still scratching the head trying to understand what really happened! What I know, is that windsurfing is here to stay – and the ups and downs must be expected. But the extreme has become more extreme and windsurfing was once seen as an extreme sport – it still is, and much more than it has ever been – but not longer perceived as such in the same way by the general public and media at large. But after 2010 we have experienced an upward momentum both in terms of competition and product development. More important, it looks like Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Surf and SUP are growing together – because these days most surfers enjoy not just one of these water sport disciplines, but happily combine them all.”

 

‘The Water does something to your state of mind’

Can Windsurfing as we know it today recruit new talent: “Absolutely! Even though it’s a cliché, kids are the most important corner stone. At our surfcenter we have managed to get the kids interested – as many as 120 in one happening. They have the energy and are eager to learn, work hard and most importantly there is a natural competitiveness between them.”

What is it that Windsurfing does for you: “Well I will make that question simpler and ask – what is it water sports can do for you? And the quick answer is that it brings joy, energy, friendship and mental clarity – bringing all that together provide you with a lifestyle formula of pure happiness – So whats not to like?”

Thanks to Jimmy for taking the time to unfold some of the magic behind the sport and for giving so much back to windsurfing in general. If you want to say hi to Jimmy you can properly find him as a part of the pack here at the WATERZ Festival.

Tomorrow we talk with Legendary Former World Champion Tim Aagesen on this quest promoting windsurfing!

What do you think it will take to get people to try windsurfing? Pls. comment below!

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