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June 11, 2007


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Well put. For non-windsurfers, it's very hard to understand that windsurfing is not a sport. Soccer is a sport. Basketball is a sport. Biking is a sport. They are things you can get quite passionate about, they might even rule your life a bit if you're inclined towards OCD. Windsurfing, if pursued with passion, tends to be qualitatively different. Or maybe that's just me rationalizing my psychological imbalance ;)

Wow, that's great.

I also feel like I'm always trying to figure out, and put into words, why I love windsurfing so much. Sometimes I will go to great lengths to get out for a session and it doesn't always seem to make sense. But there it is. Of course, everyone around me thinks I'm crazy. Did someone say OCD? Maybe my urge to figure it out is partly an urge to justify. Anyway it's good to know that, if I'm nuts, at least I'm not alone.

This piece beautifully describes our feelings as windsurfers but don’t try to pass it on to a non-windsurfer. I’m reminded of a very funny recent French movie entitled “The Dinner Game” The object of the protagonists is to invite the most boring person they can find to dinner and make fun of him. Well, the strangest person they find had lost his wife to the most boring person HE ever know – all this other “guy ever did was talk about windsurfing.” The human condition sure is strange. We passionate windsurfers enjoy these wonderful highs on the water and casual observers view us on a scale from boring to crazy

That's a lovely piece of writing which succinctly sums up what I find impossible to put into words. Like many of you, as soon as I open my mouth to defend why I'm so obsessed and in love with windsurfing or why it "makes me tick", I know that I will never come close and therefore I might as well keep my mouth shut.

Still, at least now I have a high level of self-awareness to the extent that I know that I'm a windsurf-bore, so I try to avoid talking about it in the company of non-windsurfers, unless someone genuinely and enthusiastically (not just politely) asks me to tell them about it. However, once I get started. . . .

My partner plays a game in social situations where she times how long it takes for the "W" word to come up. My world record on that one is not very impressive!

Some interesting comments here and it's good to now we are all afflicted with the same illness. I usually describe it to people as a sport but really it's a life. How can anyone else understand that? One of the problems I think is that you have to experience high wind planing sailing on a big angry sea to truly "get it" and as we know it's just not possible to do that.

What I meant, of course, is that it's just not possible to show someone, to demonstrate to a non-windsurfer, what it really feels like. That's why we'll all always be crazy in their eyes. That's fine with me!

Windseeker, you're on to something with the 'hard to explain' bit. I don't try with most people anymore - to them, I just explain that it's a fun hobby, great exercise, a bit addictive in nature. But if you're talking to someone who gets intensity of experience, such as a skier or snowboarder who doesn't flinch at the thought of hiking uphill for an hour to get a fresh line of pow, or a surfskier who goes on downwinders in 60 knot winds (we have plenty of these types here in Bellingham), then there's an opening.

To those people, I can say something like this: "You know that sensation when you're floating on powder and going into a hard carve (for the snow people) or planing down the swell and feeling like you're flying before you're pearling into the next one? Yeah, powered up windsurfing is like that, only it's like that 90% of the time of your session." At which point their eyes go wide and there's a flicker of recognition that there just might be something there.


Andreas, in regards to who we can talk to about windsurfing, I had a great experience a few years ago. At a party my wife was talking with a physicist. Some how that we windsurfed came up. When she mentioned that I was "obsessed" he made a bee-line to me and wanted to hear more about windsurfing. He said he became interested as soon as he learned "obsession" was possible.

Meanwhile I've never heard or read anything that hits it on the head. Every once in awhile there will be something brilliant that gets some of it (like the quote in the original post) but I frankly think it's easier to get someone to try windsurfing than it is to describe why I like it. Which is why I like Phil's line for myself. It's completely true.

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    "It's good to have a shredmobile" my friend Caldwell said, so I made one. It's a Ford E150 cargo van done up with lumber and k-mart plastic boxes.