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It was in 1987 at the age of 20 that Barbara Kendall won her first international title. It was this title which was the catalyst to her approach in 1988 when she decided to focus all her energies on Boardsailing and went about developing the relevant skills which were to stand her in good stead for the next decade.

As soon as Boardsailing became an Olympic sport Barbara took the opportunity to join her already successful brother on the Olympic dais winning Gold in Barcelona in 1992. Making her the first woman in 40 years to do so.

Like any successful athlete Barbara worked with a team, including brother Bruce and coach Grant Beck. It is this successful combination which has continued to carry her through. And, like all teams there have been additions - one of the key additions has been Barbara’s boardsailing husband Shayne Bright.

In 1993 she took a break from Olympic sailing in order to freshen up and begin sailing in wave sailing contests (wind surfing in the surf). By the end of 1994 she had again made her mark and went on to win the Aloha Classic Big Wave title.

Returning to the Olympics in 1996 Barbara again became a force to be reckoned with narrowly missing the gold and bringing home silver.

In 1997 Barbara jumped back into the wave sailing events and continued to succeed. She also took a bronze medal at the World Boardsailing Championships in Perth.

Barbara’s 1998 season started well with a second in the European Championships early in the season. Then she went on to win the pre-Olympic test regatta in Sydney in September.

From Sydney, Barbara went on to France for the World Championships where she blitzed the competition, winning with a comfortable margin of 16 points and in the process defeating Olympic Gold medallist Lai Shan Lee (Hong Kong).

Barbara’s 1999 season has been the best in her 15 years of International Boardsailing. She won every event she entered in this year, culminating by winning the World Championships in New Caledonia. Barbara stamped her dominance on the fleet. She didn’t need to sail the last race and won by 30 points.

Trying to win gold at the Olympics in Sydney is Barbara’s next goal and at the moment she is in a great position to do this. Who know what’s next. But after that track record the world’s at her feet.


  • 1998 and 1999 Mistral (women) World Champion
  • Barbara’s achievement makes her the first NZ woman to ever win a world championship in an Olympic class.
  • New Zealand’s most successful female Olympian:

    Silver medal (Mistral women’s) Olympic Games, Atlanta 1996
    Gold medal (Mistral boards) Olympic Games, Barcelona 1992
  • Has held the NZ women’s national championship title for 14 years since 1985.


1999: 1st Mistral World championships ( New Caledonia)

1st: NZ Windsurfing National Champs

1st: Royal SunAlliance Regatta (Auckland)

1st: Singapore Am/Slam Slalom Competition

1st Sydney Harbor Regatta (pre-Olympic regatta)

1st North American and Australian Mistral Championships

Named NZ Sportswoman of the Year

Yachting New Zealand yachtperson of the year

1998: 1st: Mistral World Championships (France)

1st: Sydney Harbor Regatta (pre-Olympic regatta)

1st: Oceania Continental Championships

2nd: Mistral European Championships

1997: 3rd: Mistral World Championships (Perth, Australia)

1996: Silver medal: Olympic Games, Atlanta

Named NZ Sportswoman of the Year

1992: Gold medal: Olympic Games, Barcelona

Awarded MBE for Services to Sport

Yachting New Zealand Yachtsperson of the Year

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wiNZurf 1996,97 - last updated 08/01/00 - email bruce@winzurf.co.nz