Written by Oisin van Gelderen.
1. 1963 – Newman Darby produced the first prototype Darby Sailboard using a sail hand stitched by his girlfriend Naomi.
2. 1968 – two good friends, Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake, inspired by the surfing and sailing within their home state of California set out to combine the two. Drake introduced the idea of an articulated mast and developed the universal joint. By 1968, the partnership patented the first Wind-surfer, though this will later be contested in the courts.
3. 1976 – sees Robby Naish win the first of many World titles, aged just 13.
4. 1977 – Derk Thijs sailed at 17,1 knots.
5. 1979 – Pioneering windsurfer, Baron Arnaud De Rosnay, becomes one of the sports truly International superstars. His first epic voyage sees him speed sailing down the Sahara coast from Nouadhibou to Dakar over 12 days, and later that year he also crosses the Bering Straights, between Russia and Alaska.
6. 1980 – Jaap van der Rest pushes the record at special speed trials in Hawaii with 24,45 knots.
7. 1981-1982 – Boards featuring the first fully retractable daggerboards were introduced, and footstraps start to become a common feature on production boards.
8. 1982 – Hoyle Schweitzer’s British patent was defeated in the UK courts, when Mr. Justice Whitford ruled in favour of Dufour and other companies fighting the patent. Mr. Whitford gave the legal decision that 12-year-old Peter Chilvers had invented windsurfing at Hayling Island creek in 1958, a full 10 years before Schweitzer. This had a profound effect on the development of British manufacturing and of the sport in the UK, which had previously been by stifled by the patent and could only import products from abroad.
9. 1983 – Fred Haywood breaks the 30knot barrier at the Weymouth Speed Trials. He used a custom NeilPryde sail with a wing shaped mast, and also possibly the very first seat harness.
10. 1983 – Jeff Magnum invents the camber inducer, which first came into production in Gaastra sails. Other brands have to pay a royalty fee to Gaastra to use the technology.
11. 1984 – Arnaud De Rosnay is lost at sea while attempting to windsurf from China to Taiwan across the Straits of Formosa.
12. 1984 – Windsurfing introduced into the Olympics for men, Stephan van den Berg wins the Gold, both in this year and in 1988. Dave Hackford represents Britian.
13. 1986 – Steve Bisset establishes the Tiree Wave Classic, which is now entering it’s 26th year.
14. 1986 – BOARDS magazine test the fastest production board in the World, the Cobra 260, which is a direct replica of Michal Pucher’s record board.
15. 1986 – Pascal Maka breaks the record from Crossbow with 38,68 knots, sailing at Sotavento in Fuerteventura. The windsurfers become the fastest sail-driven craft on the water.
16. 1986 – 17 year old Cesare Cantagalli unleashes the first forward rotating loop – the Cheese Roll – at the Aloha Classic to an amazed crowd. In 1998 he continues his trend, with the first double cheese roll, winning the PWA Wave event in Barbados.
17. 1987 – Boards magazine test a selection of sails like the A.R.T Radwing and Tushingham twist foil. ‘Cutaway’ sails are very much the rage, controlling twist is the sail brands main focus, a concept that had been developed by Barry Spanier and others a few years previously. Gaastra employs a team to test rigs strapped to the top of a SUV, to measure sail characteristics at different speeds.
18. 1988 – Eric Beale becomes the first sailor to break the 40 knot barrier, on a Jimmy Lewis custom, at the purpose built speed canal at Sainte Marie de la Mer.
19. 1988 – Bjorn Dunkerbeck begins his reign as most successful windsurfer in the world. He has scored more than 100 single PWA World Cup victories, and won 41 World Championship titles spread between every discipline in the sport.
20. 1990 – F2 Sputnik 270 is launched. Dave White immediately uses it to set a new production record at 39.10 knots.
21. 1990 – Indoor windsurfing is born, hoards of screaming fans witness this incredible spectacle held at the Palais Omnisports de Paris – Bercy. With superstars such as Robert Teriitehau jumping out of the pool, indoor competition takes windsurfing to the masses throughout the 1990’s. Nik Baker flourishes in this new discipline, and over the next decade becomes Indoor World Champion six times.
22. 1992 – Windsurfing in the Olympics for women Barbara Kendall from New Zealand wins the first ever female windsurfing Olympic gold medal. Barry Edgington represents Britian in the mens event.
23. 1992-1993 – Custom board brands like Strapper and Copello become mainstream, and start to change the way production boards will be produced in the future. Their vacuum sandwich construction was previously only the preserve of the custom market.
24. 1993 – Fishfingers or eggs? Board shapes change dramatically with a return to ‘egg’ shaped boards, after a number of years of straight-sided slabs that were fast but notoriously difficult to gybe. The PWA’s top racers are spotted using new prototype eggs – long thin boards with the footstraps, wide point and mast-track moved back – and the world is a flurry as to what will happen next.
25. 1994 – The PWA world tour comes to Brighton for the first time, with slalom racing just off the shingle beach between Brighton’s piers. The infamous shorebreak claims more than it’s fair share of equipment.
26. 1997 – At the same event, the Brits do very well, with both Baker brothers, Julian Anderson and Mike Birt all finishing in the top 10. Anders Bringdal unveils a prototype race sail with what looks like – the shaft of a golf club – replacing the tip of his mast. This becomes the precursor for shorter luff sails, and eventually goes into production as the Gaastra Total Flow F1.
27. 1998 – Dunkerbeck wins Freestyle World title!
28. 1998 – Four teams race for the first time across the Atlantic, in the Transatlantic Windsurf Challenge. While team members race, a bigger challenge for the remaining competitors is staying onboard the Russian support ship, with seasickness being a major issue.
29. Late ‘90’s – Development of Formula windsurfing board.
30. 1999 – Nik Baker beats longtime idol and friend Robby Naish in the Aloha Classic, the most prestigious wave event on the PWA tour. At the Sylt event in the same year, French hellman Robert Teriitehau goes crazy with huge stalled double forwards, eventually crashing through the tail of his board.
31. 1999 – First Formula World Championships in Belgium, won by Wojtek Brzozowski from Poland. After much development and discussion, Formula rules eventually limit the maximum board width to 1-metre, a 70cm fin and 12.5m sail.
32. 1999-2000 – freestyle world champion, Josh Stone, who pushed the level with new moves such as the spock, and had also previously invented the willy skipper.
33. 2000 – PWA Wave tour visits Brandon Bay in Ireland for the first of three consecutive years. During the trials for the main event, Brandon delivers 55-knot winds and over mast high waves, with both port and starboard tack sailing on the same day. The Hawaiian elite don’t know what to make of it.
34. 2000 – Vaclav Hornik launched Windguru.com, which has changed the way people access weather forecasts for windsurfing forever. It now receives over 15,000,000 hits per month.
35. 2001 – Antoine Albeau becomes Freestyle World Champion! Heat winning moves were spicks, spock 540s, clew first spocks and the odd grubby.
36. 2003 – With freestyle taking over from slalom, supercross racing is introduced in an attempt to bring the racing closer to the beach, more exciting to watch, and participate in. A lot of crashes and carnage ensue, as racers jump over obstacles and each other before mandatory duck gybes and spocks.
37. 2003 – Ricardo Campello wins first of three freestyle world championships, he also invents many new moves including the Funnel named after one of the UK greats, Andy Funnel.
38. 2004 – marks the return of the Indoor windsurfing, with London, Bercy and Belgium all hosting events over the next 3 years.
39. 2005 – Slalom 42 returns to the PWA tour, crowning Micah Buzianis the World Champion.
40. 2005 – Finian Maynard sets world record of 48.7 knots over 500m.
41. 2008 – Ricardo Campello becomes the first sailor to attempt the Triple forward loop.
42. 2008 – Olympic equipment changed from the Mistral one design, to Neil Pryde RS:X selected for use in 2008 and 2012 Olympic Regattas.
43. 2008 – Antoine Albeau breaks the 500m speed record with 49.09 knots, which still stands unbeaten today by a windsurfer. The battle is on though, as kitesurfers become the first to break 50 knots over 500m.
44. 2008 – GPSspeedsurfing.com launched enabling worldwide competition for speed sailors. In 2008 they started a co-operation with the ISWC and PKRA, the professional speed surfers and kitesurfers association.
45. 2009 – 15 year old Philip Köster wins his first PWA event in Pozo, and begins pushing the sport to a completely new level never seen before. Two years later at 17, he becomes Wave World Champion, with such a flawless repertoire, that many are left just scratching their heads.
46. 2011 – 23 years after winning his first Slalom World Title, Bjorn Dunkerbeck stages the biggest comeback of his racing career to snatch the title from the domination of Antoine Albeau, who had been completely unbeatable until this point.
47. 2012 – Antoine Albeau sets a new speed record over 500m and smashes 50 knots, with an average speed of 50.62 knots. Just behind him, and also breaking 50 knots on the same day was Anders Bringdal who set 50.46 knots.