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The oldest video footage of windsurfing

by Magnus Smith 26 May 12:00 BST
The first windsurfers had a diamon-shaped sail which you leaned back against © JW

Our video archive is fully searchable, and linked to all the clubs and classes in our database. It is updated weekly with the latest videos of sailing, but here we delve into the past, and round-up everything that shows early windsurfing.

The oldest footage we could find was probably contained within this History of Windsurfing, where it shows square boards with diamond-shaped rigs which the sailor leaned back against.

The Youtube channel owner has other videos in this 'history' series, and more, so do check out youtube.com/@JonathanWeston

This video from 1960 is described as windsurfing on the Patawalonga River in Australia, but is it just a very small, flat sailing dinghy? The mast is held up by itself, and the sailor is sitting down, steering with a rudder!

Moving on, these interviews were shot in the late 1990s but cover the time in the 70s, mentioning when Maui first was discovered by windsurfers.

Was this the first windsurfing hydrofoil? Shot some time in the mid 1970s (looking at the Mistral logo) with some early foils strapped onto the board, we see they do indeed generate enough lift. Was Joop Nederpelt the first to do this?

We are guessing this is the late 1970s, but would love to hear your thoughts on the year! The video begins with people strapping a windsurfer rig to anything and everything, and proceeds to cover fancy dress, windsurfing sitting on a deck chair, using the rig upside down, rollerskating/skateboarding propelled by a sail... You name it, it was tried!

Down the Wind (windsurfing competitions in 1979 and 1980) is one of the earliest films made by Jean-Luc Breitenstein. It covers several different events and includes a young Robby Naish doing some freestyle.

From 1982 now, let's hear from the person who uploaded this video: "This event filmed by Tom Tatum was the premier to probably defining every other Windsurf event to follow (well before O'Neill invitations and Aloha Classics). The video grabbed both aspects of windsurf competition with Course racing, Slalom and Wave disciplines and melded them into a highly watchable scheme. Interviews with Robby Naish, Mike Waltze, Ken Winner and Julie DeWerd created the windsurf celebrity. Look out for Arnaud De Rosnay the windsurf adventurer."

Heck, we need to send you to youtube.com/@VHSwindsurf now. There is too much great stuff there for us to embed, so we just picked the oldest two to show above, but there is so much more 1980s beauty to be watched. Even the VHS quality cannot ruin the joy!

Let's end with the 1980/90s film 'Hot' about windsurfing in Hawaii, by Patrick Dupont.

What of the rest?

Do you know the location of any more windsurfing videos that show the very early years, in the sixties and seventies? We would love to share these with other sailors. You can submit video links to us for immediate review.

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