You can always come home
Published on July 10th, 2019
What bonds us to boating is as varied as the day is long. Chris Cooper reminisces about what it was for him, and how you can always come back home.
It’s been said so many times, but simplest can often be the best. Forty years ago when windsurfing was in its infancy, I went along to a lake in Maidenhead (UK) for an introductory lesson and was bitten. Over the following seven years, I became an instructor and had the good fortune to introduce hundreds of people to the sport I loved.
This was in the time when purpose made accessories were few and far between.. winter sailing meant silk motorcycle inner gloves and marigolds… plus a big thermos flask! Then you mature, and as career and family develop, you try new things… leapfrogging to yachts and powerboats.
Fast forward to a recent weekend, there’s a gently building southerly breeze and on the spur of the moment, I dust off my 30 year old F2 Strato and head for Calshot on the Solent. A few tentative tacks and gybes follow as the wind builds; then there’s just enough to pull off the first head dip in many decades, quickly followed by the whooping as the board planes across the flat water.
Why have I waited 25 years to get back in the foot straps?
Once off the water I wandered into the shop, and there was Jon Popkiss, we mixed in the same circles back in the day and we quickly found ourselves reminiscing about Phil Shotter, Phil Van Derrs, Dee and Pete Caldwell, Charles Wand Tetley, Pete Chilvers, Jez Simmonds, Pete Hart, and the London Windsurfing Centre crew.
These are the guys who shaped my love of being on the water that has stayed with me these past four decades in whatever form that has taken.
So with my old bit of kit and a decent breeze, the clock was spinning back at breakneck speed. The joy of a simple blast, just because you can, and I will again, very soon.
Editor’s note: Scuttlebutt HQ has on order two new Windsurfer LTs, embracing the rebirth of the brand that started boardsailing. The original windsurfer is back with a ‘new and improved’ take on the board that made us all fall in love. If you happen to be near San Diego, demo days are planned for July 11 and 13.