After Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer invented the windsurfer and patented the "freesaiI system the Europeans popularised the sport with Schweitzer enforcing his patent around the world except here in New Zealand. We did not see any windsurfers here until 1973 when a few people started bringing them in from overseas trips. In 1974/75 John Bangers produced the 1st New Zealand board, the SAILSURFER and one design racing became moderately poplar. The NZ BOARDSAILING ASSOCIATION was formed in 1980 at the Sailsurfer Nationals which from then on catered for all classes. Local board manufacturers with board names like COMET, CHICA, BLUE DOLPHIN, SEA SKATE etc became very popular as restrictions made imported boards unaffordable.
The sport really took off with the development of the short board and sailing in the surf. Division II boards and the development of rigs has led to a strong following throughout the country. A significant step towards promotion has taken place with sailboards being included in the WORLD YOUTH SAILING CHAMPIONSHIPS. Many New Zealanders will now have the opportunity to gain valuable International competition before being exposed to the Open International and Olympic scene.
Our first overseas successes were Wally Bird who qualified with the Australian Team for the 1976 Windsurfer World Championships in Sardinia finishing 6th overall. Glen Cockrane was the National champion 1980-81-82 and also competed with distinction in many overseas competitions. Some of our most celebrated windsurfers are SANTHA PATEL, World Women's Champion 1982 and BRUCE KENDALL 1984 OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALLIST. New Zealanders continue to produce highly ranked performances at overseas regattas.
Windsurfing was given a major boost in the public awareness by BRUCE'S GOLD MEDAL at the 1988 Olympic games in Pusan, Korea. During 1988 Bruce also won the Hong Kong Open Champs, and the Australian Div II Nationals, but many achievements like these go unnoticed by the rest of New Zealand.
BRUCE KENDALL has excelled in many other international regattas:
BARBARA KENDALL is New Zealands leading female windsurfer at present. She gained an AGC Young Achievers Award in 1989, and has never looked back since then.
AARON MCINTOSH is one of New Zealands top young
windsurfers Like the Kendalls, he gained his tactical racing
experience through competing in P Class and Starling classes. He
is right behind Bruce in his bid to win selection for The 1996
Olympics. His achievements so far:
1990 3rd Youth Worlds, Holland
There are many other windsurfers who have represented New Zealand internationally. They have returned with improved skills which has improved the level of competition here. The NZWA is presently introducing more advanced levels of training using our top windsurfers, and rims to set up courses for Advanced Instructors in the future.
To keep up to date with our top windsurfer's latest achievments and new developments on the windsurfing scene, be sure to read the NZ Windsurfer magazine - the only windsurfing magazine produced in this country.
Early Development of Windsurfing (USA)