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Windsurfing, water safety, and the earth

Published on April 16th, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
I was lucky to be a youth sailor when windsurfing was introduced, and after the daily summer class, we’d grab boards and go screw around. It didn’t hurt that Windsurfer co-founders Hoyle and Diane Schweitzer were members of my club, and it was this kind of fun that really taught us how to sail.

Nothing gets you in tune with the wind and water like hanging on a boom, balancing body weight to propel the board. Get it wrong and you go swimming, and getting it right heightened our awareness. Combine that with the affect of mast rake, and you soon accrue skills that can be transferred to any kind of boat.
This began windsurfing’s explosive growth in the 1970s in the USA, but there have been plenty of recent generations that have missed out on this experience. However, World Sailing hopes a newly completed education program will help get kids back on the boards while also heightening their environmental awareness:

WindsurfKids, a new joint initiative between World Sailing and board supplier Starboard, aims to make watersports accessible to kids all over the world, and combines water safety and environmental education in one free and easy-to-use workbook.

Kids are guided through six lessons by Tiki and a dream team of professional windsurfers and eco-activists, including iQFOiL European Champion Hélène Noesmoen, Starboard riders Sarah Quita Offringa, Lena Erdil, Nico Prien, Oda Brodholt, and Thip Mongprasert, Ocean Ambassadors Zane Schweitzer, Florian Jung, Merijn Tinga, Federico Morisio, as well as Starboard Founder Svein Rasmussen.

As they make their way through the first three lessons, young readers get to grips with the basics of windsurfing, learn to spot hazards at sea and discover all sorts of adventurous possibilities – including the windsurfing pathway to the Olympic Games!

Following on from this, the second half of the workbook focuses on two more key areas, helping kids to look after themselves and their home – planet earth.

Interactive recipes, exercises and games are designed to keep WindsurfKids happy, healthy, and relaxed. While breaking down complex topics including microplastics, climate change and carbon footprints into bite sized chunks. Inspiring the next generation of ambassadors for the planet!

“Adventures, learning new stuff, taking care of the ocean and planting mangroves for the planet – this is the stuff I love and live for. Windsurfing brought me a lifetime of opportunities and fun,” said Starboard Founder, Svein Rasmussen.

“We at Starboard hope that you will enjoy this workbook that Linzi Hawkin, Sarah Quita Offringa, Lizzy Howard and our eco team have created with their hearts and minds by wanting to help us all connect with the ocean through windsurfing and learn how to better protect it.”

World Sailing Head of International Development, Koray Ezer, added, “World Sailing is wholeheartedly committed to encouraging more people to discover the benefits of our sport. As such, we are very excited to support Starboard‘s Windsurf Kids initiative which gives younger children the opportunity to learn the basics of windsurfing, water safety, and how to care for the environment with tips from some of the very best windsurfers in the world.

“The program is fully aligned with World Sailing’s Sustainable Development Agenda and offers a free program for children to have fun on the water and become ambassadors for the planet.”

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