The Windsurfer Story

The origins of our sport goes back to 1963 when Newman and Naomi Darby made the first documented sailboard. The first "Windsurfer Class" board was born in 1967 thanks to Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer. The idea was to allow surfing even without the waves, using a sail connected to a board with a cardan joint and it was perfected with the help of Alan Parducci.

A futuristic vehicle for your dreams has risen out of the western sea, bringing new dimensions to life itself. How can such a simple, easy-rider device bring so much joy to millions? Because …it puts you – with your skills and your dreams and your hidden potential – into a perfect interaction with wind and water. Thus, this one small vehicle brings with it the power to make your visit here on planet earth even more fulfilling.

Hoyle Schweitzer, 1984

Windsurferclass 2010
Hoyle and Diana Schweitzer
The ‘Windsurfer’ was the original mass-produced sailboard and instantly gained world-wide attention which quickly spawned the massive growth and popularity of the sport.

The Original Windsurfer was a strict one design which sold over 400,000 units – still the largest sailing class ever. The first world championships for the Windsurfer Class were held in 1973 (Mission Bay, San Diego, California). Three years later in 1976 in Nassau, Bahamas, 456 competitors took part in what was then the largest one design sailing event ever. Here, a 13 year old Robbie Naish of Hawaii took the overall title. Naish would go on to dominate the sport for the next several decades.

Throughout the late 70’s and 80’s, the Windsurfer Class was king for amateur sailboard racing around the world with international and national events attracting large fleets. The Windsurfer was used as a demonstration board at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1984 the “Windsurfer One Design” was launched with an updated Mylar sail and rig. The board also sported footstraps stiffer fin and a partially retracting centre-board. These changes made the One Design much more controllable in stronger winds than its predecessor.

The original patent drawing

Throughout the 80’s, 90’s the One Design was raced widely, however towards the end of this period, the One Design fleet started to dwindle whilst the sport was growing exponentially. This was due to the rapid influx of other manufacturers and racing classes using new technologies.

By 2010 fleet sizes were reduced but strong pockets still existed with Australia and Italy continuing to attract good fleets and conducting regular racing at a National level.

In 2016 a project was commenced by IWCA Europe to develop a new hull based on the Windsurfer One Design moving from polyethylene to lighter weight epoxy construction with increased volume to cater for a wider range of athletes. The “Windsurfer LT” was adopted by the Class in 2018 and can compete in the Windsurfer Class along with the Original Windsurfer and the One Design.

With the LT the Windsurfer Class maintains the ideals and traditions of the sailboarding pioneers – to provide a fun and inclusive platform for fair and friendly competition through inexpensive one design racing, where the emphasis is on skill and tactics rather than equipment.
In few years after the launch, thousand of LT boards have been sold and new fleets are forming across Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Americas.

Since November 2018 IWCA is a recognised World Sailing class

Windsurfer Class future is still to be written... we are waiting for you! Join us.

Hoyle and Dyane
Hoyle and Diane at a boat show

Edition Year City Country
1973 San Diego California, USA
1974 Association Island New York, USA
1975 Bendor France
1976 Nassau Bahamas
1977 Baia Sardinia Sardinia, Italy
1978 Cancun Mexico
1979 Clearwater Beach Florida, USA
1979 Porto Hydra Greece
1980 Freeport/Lucaya Bahamas
10° 1981 Nago City, Okinawa Japan
11° 1982 Arzachena Sardinia, Italy
12° 1983 Kingston Ontario, Canada
13° 1984/85 Perth Australia
14° 1986 Praia do Forte Brasil
15° 1987/88 Plettenberg Bay South Africa
16° 1991/92 Port Elizabeth South Africa
17° 2018 Torbole Italy
18° 2019 Torbole Italy
19° 2020 Perth (Canceled) Australia
20° 2021 Perth (Canceled) Australia
21° 2022 Mondello Italy
22° 2023 Perth Australia
23° 2024 San Pere Pescador Spain

Edition Year City Country
1973 Sylt Germany
1974 Marseille France
1975 Utrecht Holland
1976 Volendam Holland
1977 Halmstad Sweden
1978 Marseille France
1979 Kiel Holland
1980 Torbole Italy
1981 Weymouth England
10° 1982 Vilamoura Pourtugal
11° 1983 Halmstad Sweden
12° 1984 St.Cast France
13° 1985 Terracina Italy
14° 1986 Andijk Holland
15° 1987 Jersey United Kingdom
16° 1988 San Vito Lo Capo Italy
2016 Lake Resia Italy
2017 Barcelona Spain
2018 Vilanova Spain
2019 Hoorn Netherlands
2020 Penmarch (Canceled) France
2021 St. Cyr sur Mer France
2022 San Pere Pescador Spain
2023 Carnac France
2024 Torbole Italy

Edition Year Location Area
1973 Chiemsee Bernau
1974 Ostsee Kiel-Schilksee
1975 Wannsee Berlin
1976 Dümmer See
1977 Ostsee Kiel-Schilksee
1978 Bodensee Fischbach
1979 Havel Berlin
1980 Starnberger See Starnberg
1981 Dümmer See
10° 1982 Starnberger See
11° 1983 Bodensee Überlingen
12° 1984 Zwischenahner Meer
13° 1985 Ostsee Kiel-Schilksee
14° 1986 Starnberger See
15° 1987 Havel Berlin

Edition Year City State
1975 Caldaro (BZ) Alto Adige
1976 Punta Ala Toscana
1977 Castelfusano (Roma) Lazio
1978 Talamone Toscana
1979 Roccaruja Sardegna
1980 Giannella – Orbetello Toscana
1981 Gallipoli Puglia
1982 Cala Bitta – Arzachena Sardegna
1983 San Vito Lo Capo Sicilia
10° 1984 Termoli Molise
11° 1985 Torbole Trentino
12° 1986 Vieste Puglia
13° 1987 Vieste Puglia
14° 1988 Caldaro (BZ) Alto Adige
15° 1989 Termoli Molise
16° 1990 La Maddalena Sardegna
17° 1991 Numana Abruzzo
18° 1992 Gallipoli (LE) Puglia
19° 1993 Cagliari Sardegna
20° 1994 Terracina Lazio
21° 1995 Olbia Sardegna
22° 1996 (non disputato) -
23° 1997 (non disputato) -
24° 1998 (non disputato) -
25° 1999 Porto Recanati Marche
26° 2000 Terracina Lazio
27° 2001 (non disputato) -
28° 2002 Porto Recanati Marche
29° 2003 Porto Recanati Marche
30° 2004 (non disputato) -
31° 2005 (non disputato) -
32° 2006 (non disputato) -
33° 2007 (non disputato) -
34° 2008 Porto Recanati Marche
35° 2009 (non disputato) -
36° 2010 (non disputato) -
37° 2011 Ostia Lazio
38° 2012 Ostia Lazio
39° 2013 Ostia Lazio
40° 2014 Piombino Toscana
41° 2015 Torbole Trentino
42° 2016 Anzio Lazio
43° 2017 Mondello Sicilia
44° 2018 Coluccia Sardegna
45° 2019 Vieste Puglia
46° 2020 Cala Galera Toscana
47° 2021 Pittulongu, Olbia Sardegna