I was one of the lucky participants of the extremely interesting seminar that was organized by Surf Toys e-shop, the relatively new importer of PATRIK watersports equipment.

Patrik Diethelm needs no introduction to the ones seriously involved with windsurfing, but as years go by, the ex-F2 shaper and now owner of the PATRIK brand together with his wife & multiple windsurf champion Karin Jaggi, by extending their range of products, are well worth following. Just a look at their latest achievements is proof of my words and of what we should keep an eye on.

Epic Racing at PWA Foiling in Garda

Women’s Speed World Champion 2023

Wingsports (GWA) Double Champion 2023

Winning of the 1st German DWC 2023

All aspects of Patrik’s involvement with the watersports were covered, technical, commercial & even personal and his approach was a revelation.

Methods of production – by the way, Patrik “Cobra made” boards are semi-custom, in order to obtain the best tolerances characteristics, while the still unique, revolutionary & evolving hollow boards Airinside, were made in their own facility in Ukraine.

Materials, shaping, hydrodynamics AND aerodynamics, and even rigging techniques were explained in detail.

AIRINSIDE construction:

  • The complete hull and internal structure contains an average of 36m2 of Prepreg Carbon (10 times more than any other windsurf board on the market), and 6.5m2 of Honeycomb sandwich material.
  • The complete hull and all components such as fin box, mast track, strap inserts, cutouts, etc., are built in one single shot with only one 20mm diameter opening which is needed to connect the air pressure.
  • The materials are cured under pressure for 6 hours at 165°C.
  • Advantages

    • Up to 1kg lighter than any other board in the same category.
    • Highest weight/strength ratio compared to any other construction on the market.
    • Fin box, mast track and strap inserts: Except for the footstrap plastic insert all parts are from Carbon and Honeycomb. The tensile and compressive strength of every part has been mechanically tested. It is so strong that either the pressure gauge stopped at 1 tone, the webbing of the straps ripped, the screws snapped and/or the thread pulled out.
    • Every board is foil ready and the fin box is by far the most solid box on the market. The fin and/or foil sits inside the fin box as if it were built out of one piece with the board. Every foot pressure is transferred directly onto the foil and you can steer and control your gear with less effort and fly over the water in a much more relaxed body position.
    • The full hull layers in combination with the internal structure allow control of the twist and flex like a laminated fin.
    • Incomparable precise measurements and finish within the same model/size ensure each board is uniform.

Being a windsurfer myself, I thought I would concentrate on windsurfing subjects, but in the end, I was fascinated with his new foiling research that has already shown its unbelievable potential. I started to understand the effect of high aspect profiles, angles of attack, symmetrical designs and so many things Patrik refused to take for granted, and open-minded, one more time devoting long hours & money, he came up with enviable results.

Thank you Patrik for coming & sharing your valuable knowledge.

Due to the fast expansion of this new sailing sport, I asked our friend Alecos to contribute Hitthewave with his personal & successful experience. Click for the full read.



Some (rather long) context to start with, which I hope will not sound too unfamiliar

I am 63 turning 64 in a couple of months.

I have been windsurfing with my wife and a few good friends such as Dimitris and Kostas for more than 25 years now and, like most of us I guess, I am not getting any better -if anything I am getting worse… and I was never too good at it anyway.

So, back in 2020, when I bumped into a YouTube video of a young guy flying over waves on a foilboard with a small kite in his hands, I thought that it was the coolest thing I have seen for a very long time!

Amazing how smooth and effortless he made it look and I said to myself, “yeah right but, he is probably one of those ultra-charismatic little pr.cks who use to ride monster waves in Hawaii since they were 3 years old”.


But it made think. I have been trying to find a light-wind-alternative-to-windsurfing for quite some time (whether we like to admit it or not, once you reach a certain level and a few years in your back, then unless it is 20 knots plus, it is not very exciting to get into the water any more).

I tried dinghy sailing. But unless you have a perfect club nearby where you can leave your boat semi-rigged, going back and forth on a road-trailer, and then on a beach-trolley, and then half an hour rigging, and then launching and re-launching, getting sails up and getting sails down, wash and dry the thing, and then all the way back home, store the boat and the trailer somehow, etc. etc. it’s not really worth it -especially if you have a back problem (like most of us I am sure) that makes hiking a bit too painful or impossible indeed after a few legs. So, I am left with a couple of beautiful dinghies –a Devoti Zero in Athens and a Topaz in Paros- that I haven’t used more than 3-4 times in the past two years (you are already guessing why, right?)

Then I tried kiting. But unless you are not afraid of the odd chance to get rather seriously hurt in our age if something goes wrong, you will be holding back for sure and progress will be rather slow and disappointing (that was so in my case at least). Also, spreading around 25 meters of lines, and booms, and 5-6m wide kites, next to a thousand other guys, and not too close to trees or rocks, etc. etc. well, your beach choices are rather limited in fact -especially if you leave in Athens. So, I sold my CrazyFly kites and gave away my surfboard.

And then, I saw this wingfoiling video I was telling you about. And-I-thought-to-myself  ‘you will never end up doing this of course, but why not trying a wing with your old Mistral SUP to make it a little bit less boring than it usually is?’

And I did so. I bought the very first Naish WingSurfer 4.0m (they only offered 4.0m in their first year!) and off we went. And it was a lot of fun actually in force 2 to 3, going up and down faster than you could row and not too hard to point either once you got the hang of it.

And, not to make the story longer than I already did, I then said the hell with it, and i bought my first Gong Zuma 6’0” 95lt along with the recommended 2100 XL Alvator foil set -because they were ‘good value for money’ to cut my losses in the likely case of defeat…

Today, together with my wife who started this year, we have 7 wings (two of them are for sale), 3 boards (one of them is for sale), 5 front foils, 3 masts, 2 fuselages and 2 stabilizers (none of them is for sale).

And I am doing OK so far, I guess, being able to fly in almost all conditions from force 3 to force 7 gusts, gybing toe side and heel side, riding switch and changing feet, riding waves (well it’s actually more like going downwind still but I keep trying) and STILL struggling with my tacks!

Therefore, extremely generous as I am, please allow me to share my wealth of experience and knowledge in the subject matter.

A number of reasons to pick up wingfoiling at your/our age:

  • It’s easier than it looks. Seriously. Especially if you have some board, wind, water experience.
  • It will be a revelation against the all too well-known windsurfer’s agony for the all-too-rare ‘good’ days with decent (i.e., strong) winds. Once you are past the beginner’s level, you will be flying from sub 10 knots up to 30 knots or more. All of a sudden, 9 days out of 10 became good days now.
  • Likewise, as far as spots are concerned 9 out of 10 spots are good spots. Nearly any beach, onshore, offshore, sideshore, flat, chop, waves, whatever, is an acceptable choice. The only no-gos are heavy break beaches. There you are very likely to damage your gear and hurt yourself. With a foil board on one hand and a wing on the other, you are very unlikely to make it through any serious break. Unless there is a somewhat sheltered path to make your way to chest deep water and relatively clean air to take off quickly in between waves.
  • Also, the combination of a lot less demanding weather conditions and a lot less demanding spots, mean that you are going to have a good time almost always. Unsettled gusty weather, wind that is going up and down all the time, annoying wind swifts, confused waves, bad chop, etc. all of them suddenly become a lot more acceptable once you are up in the air flying. (with the caveat of course, that you are past beginner’s level -in the opposite case, a sideshore beach and a Force 4+ is the place to be if you can).
  • Naturally, once you progress, a nice swell or relatively well shaped waves is what you will be looking for. The wind doesn’t actually matter that much, it can be either moderate or strong or even gusty and you will be fine. For example, meshy waves and the wrong wind to waves angle that will really piss you off when windsurfing, will be a joy to foil. A good friend of mine admitted (and I echo him wholeheartedly) that he has done more wave riding in a year of foiling than he has done in 20 years of windsurfing.
  • Then comes the gear hassle: you may forget about roof racks. Unless you have been going windsurfing on a Smart (like Dimitris sometimes does!) then you should be able to fit a board which is normally no more than 150-160cm long, probably a lot less, 2-3 wings and a couple of foils inside the car. All the gear that I mentioned above for 2 people easily fit inside our VW Tiguan.
  • Rigging: 5 minutes tops, unless you are useless, or you are on your phone at the same time sending messages, posting stories and the like. And everything feels so much lighter to carry around, pack, unpack, dry and store. Also: pumping up another wing if you need to, compared to rigging another sail is a fraction of the time and effort.
  • Changing gear to match the conditions: bear in mind that wings have a much broader wind range than windsurfing sails or kites as they depower almost completely if need be. Similarly for a board and foil set (provided that they are well suited to your level of competence). Effectively, you are very unlikely to have to change gear in any given day -perhaps a wing one size up or down if you get it wrong or the wind changes quite significantly. Generally speaking, you spend a lot less time rigging and carrying equipment around and the effort needed does not compare.
  • Finally, and most importantly for the roaring sixties:
    • Winging is much kinder to the body than windsurfing; and it exercises a very different set of muscles and joints. Also, it does wonders for the much needed as years go by, balance and flexibility and is more physical than kitesurfing if you prepared to try something more than pottering around.
    • It is a fresh challenge and just by being something new it will boost your energy and drive to get wet day after day (presumably you would have lost some of that after so many years of windsurfing)
    • Another good friend pointed out something I haven’t realized till he said so: the beach looks much nicer on a wing foiling day. The wind is not blowing in your ears all the time, the sea looks calmer, the sky is less dramatic, the chill factor and the cold are a lot more bearable when not in summer, and in general you will find yourself enjoying the beach and the surroundings in days that you would not normally be out here in case of windsurfing.

Don’t matter all of the above: the first time you will find yourself coming down a wave flying on a foil with everything so unusually silent around you, you will know the real reason why. It is magical.

And a number of reasons NOT to pick up wingfoiling at your (our) age:

  • You are afraid of failure. Don’t be. Your wife (I guess you have a wife and not a girlfriend at this age), your friends (the true ones at least), and the younger guys will understand when you do the walk of shame coming up the beach. (the latter don’t really care about you, you know).
  • You are too stingy to make the investment. Don’t be. How many more summers are left?
  • Where are you going to store all the new stuff on top of all the windsurfing gear you have accumulated over the years? Don’t worry, the odds are that you will start selling a lot of your windsurfing equipment pretty soon (so we did at least, keeping just a couple of Goya wave boards and sails).
  • You think it will be too tiring and cumbersome to learn. Well, it is not; at least compared to learning to windsurf or kitesurf -if you recall those days. The whole set up is such, that you can go easy or push harder at whim. And nowadays, there is plenty of equipment for beginners (in all sports actually) unlike the case years ago when we were trying to learn to windsurf.

Any tips to get us going after all?

Yes, there you are:

Make a commitment. Financially and psychologically. If you are of the mood to ‘…take a few lessons next summer’ or ‘…I am going to borrow some equipment and give it a go’, then you better not.

We said it is easier than it looks but, do you remember the days you were falling in the drink time after time? Remember the swim when you drifted a mile down the beach and came out in the rocks? Remember the amount of water you drunk till your first waterstart? Well, it is not as bad as this but it is not a walk in the park either. You need to put in the hours.

Which brings us to the financial commitment also to force yourself not to give up too easily, too quickly. My own recipe at least, was to buy a fair amount of beginners’ equipment straight away and be prepared to change them quickly to even better equipment with the first sign of progress (which means pricey equipment: my Armstrong foils and board for example, or the Duotone Allula Unit wings I ‘ve got now). The opposite that I did when learning to windsurf years ago: being stuck with the same second hand, not-so-good equipment for too long. But then I had the luxury of time that I don’t have today, and I didn’t have the luxury to burn some money that, thankfully, I do have today.

On the practicalities now -as the above philosophical wonders should have you convinced thus far:

  1. Google and YouTube: all you needed to know and were afraid to ask is there. Study it.
  2. Buy a 5m wing and a cheap SUP -if you don’t have one already- and learn how to fly the wing. If you have some wind/water background you will get the hang of it in a week at most.
  3. Get a wide board 30-40lt above your weight if you are uncertain and want to play safe-safe but be prepared to sell it -or scrap it- quite soon.
  4. Get a board no more that 20lt above your weight if you are reasonably fit and nimble. This one you are going to keep much longer. Don’t compare the volume with windsurfing boards, the whole foil set up underneath offers a lot of stability and you can easily get up on something that floats your weight.
  5. Get a foil around 2000sqcm, a sizeable stabiliser around 300sqcm, a short mast around 65-70cm and a long fuselage (again around 70cm).
  6. Get two wings a 5m and a 6m if you are in the 70-90kg range. A size up or down if you are outside that range.
  7. Find someone to show you the basics or look for them in YouTube.
  8. Safety: pick a sideshore beach (ideally) or an onshore one. Do NOT go out on an offshore beach before you have mastered the flight. Once on the foil you can point much higher than when windsurfing. When NOT on foil, you will drift away a lot more. And better to forget about certain self-rescue technics you may find on YouTube: in reality, you won’t be able to paddle board and wing against wind and waves for more than 50-100 meters, no matter how small they may seem. Unless there is a rescue boat around be aware in the beginning.
  9. Protection: protection gear matters. Don’t you dare going out without a full vest (not your windsurfing one, a long one that covers your belly too) and a helmet. Falling on a foil hurts a lot more than hitting a boom or a mast. A long leg wetsuit and shoes are not a bad idea either at least in the beginning as you may find yourself kicking the foil underneath.
  10. Be patient and be prepared to spend at least 20-30 hours in the water before your first take offs and small flights. The progress is not exactly linear. You keep trying and trying, doing the same mistakes all over, and then it suddenly clicks and you make a significant leap forward. Then it’s the same story all over again till the next level.

Bits and pieces

I won’t attempt any tutorials here how to take off, pump, fly, jibe etc. there are more that enough videos about all that, and from a lot more competent people than myself. Just some random thoughts I picked up in the past two years of trying:

  • The foil counts for approx. 80% and the board and wing for the remaining 10% each.
  • Everybody is making foils by now but there are some specialist brands that have been developing foils for more than 10-15 years at least. You can’t go too wrong with them even though all the mainstream brands are catching up pretty quickly.
  • This is a new sport and everyone is still learning so you will be hearing what may sound as contradicting advice whether it’s about equipment of about how-to. You will have to find your way in a lot of things.
  • Besides beginners board and foil mentioned above, start with a short mast 65-70cm but as soon as you start flying on small waves get to an 85cm one which is the ideal length to give you some room for error albeit a bit more sensitive.
  • Wings with solid handles or booms are a lot better than the ones with soft handles in my opinion. Soft handles waste a lot of energy when pumping or sheeting in.
  • Relatively short and wide boards are better than long and narrow ones for winging.
  • Less inertia and less swing weight matter a lot in the air. So does weight so, don’t hesitate to move to a smaller board 5-10lt above your weight even if you think you are not quite ready for it. Do not forget that normally you will be spending 2-3% of your time on the water and 97% in the air -not in the first 50hrs of course!
  • Don’t hesitate to go out in what seems to be more wind than it should. It is actually easier close to 20 knots rather than 10. In the beginning your pumping imitations suck and there is no point dragging on the water all the time. Better to take off and crash, take off and crash, and all of a sudden you start flying for a few meters, and then a bit more, and then you start to find your balance and trim between board and wing when in the air, and everything starts to fall into place attempt after attempt, and then you lose it for a while and it comes back again and, at some point, the real fun begins.
  • Similarly, get a bigger wing than what the other guys who are flying are on (accounting for your relative weight of course). As a beginner you need to feel overpowered in order to fly. Don’t worry, once you master pumping the wing and the foil, you will be amazed with how small a wing you can get away with.
  • Try to tune your equipment to your level of competence and to the conditions. Don’t hesitate to experiment and keep fiddling with back-and-forth mast placement, foil sizes, strap positions, mast and fuselage, etc. Contrary to windsurfing, where to be honest you have to be a test rider to really understand the subtle differences, in foiling small changes make quite evident difference even to the beginner’s eye.
  • Bailing out: the only real risk is falling on the foil which can be pretty serious indeed if you are unlucky. Especially in the early days, you have no idea which way the board, the foil and your body will go when you crash so, make a habit of falling on your back when bailing out and never on your front which is the likely place for the foil to be. Also, if you feel that you are losing control don’t try to save it; bail out falling on your back and kicking the board away from you.
  • Strap or strapless? Strapless feels safer in the beginning but in my opinion, straps give you a lot more control and they will boost your performance especially in waves. Or you may want to go just for the front ones which is my choice these days as it gives you a lot more flexibility with the back foot placement and pressure (provided you are not into aerials)

And a closing remark especially for ex-windsurfers: foiling is wonderful and quite complementary to windsurfing. But it is also quite different in many ways which is part of the attraction.

As ex-windsurfers, we have to realize that we are not riding a board, we are riding a foil; the front wing of the foil set to be exact: the mast, the fuselage and the back wing are there just to connect to the board and stabilize the flight. Also, we are not flying with the wing, we are flying with the front foil. The wing is there to give us some propulsion for the foil to get to its foiling speed. Once there it flies itself (and us) and the wing is only really needed once you feel it falling below its foiling speed again. Mentally you have to make the connection with something you don’t even see: it is under your feet and into the water. At most, you may hear it hissing or singing as some prefer to think it so.


Almost, back to normal…

More people eager to have proper vacations after a 2-year covid quarantine, more days of strong wind, more friends taking up winging, less personal endurance due to aging, and less guitar playing due to a changing environment.

Usually, we look for a September Paros comeback, but it did not materialize.

Well, a most pleasant addition to our gathering, was the presence of our good friends William & Lissa, who came all the way from Atlanta US, to spend some time with us. William is a keen sportsman and a strong supporter of Hitthewave, through windsportatlanta.com.

I’m sure he had a good time, not only because he said so, but because he was sailing longer than anyone else, while I can hardly recall a July with so much daily wind. He is a lucky guy!

Instead of a description of the fine conditions, I will share with you a short hand-held video I shot, of Giannos windsurfing & Dimitis (young addition to the PWS club) winging: https://youtu.be/h8GpIE7_Eew

All the windsurfing-addicted friends were sailing regularly and again a series of photos are better than words to give you the image.

William charging

Alkis jumping a slalom board

Christos on his signature move

Dimitra charging on gift board

Flo carving behind Christos

Flo flight

Julie downwind

Julie upwind on a men’s day

Kostas P. jumping fun

Kostas V. downwind

Mari on my AV BT87, ready to use the ramp Roland just did


Lutz downwind

Peter downwind

Sailing with Mimi

Sailing with Sylvie

Sotiris on Flikka FR

Testing the AV BT 87

Sasha early bird sailing

Winging is picking up, so more & more pictures will come along while soon I will get winging contribution from Alekos – the most experienced winger among our group.

Alekos winging

Mari wingfoiling

First single-handed wing rescue by Giannos

Winging first ride – I hate the lifevests…

Arnauld could not make it for testing PLANCHEMAG material in NG beach, so I was not motivated for testing (if this is a good excuse for my ageing…).

The ones that were seriously testing the time I was there, were the guys of Delta Team.

Delta Team of Giannis Gennimatas was there training, and the 2 riders Apostolos Grigoropoulos & Filippos Iatrou were testing among other things, the new fins Giannis is developing.

The evaluation of his fins is done with a direct comparison of the best-known fin brand products, and ergometric data is recorded, showing heart rate related to speed, which translates to the ease of achieving & maintaining that high speed. In the attached graph, the (left) first session is with the well-established fin, while the (right) second session, is on the Delta Team fin. The graph shows with blue the speed and in red the heart rate. It is clear, that the Delta fin, allowed the rider to sail at higher speed, with much less effort – anyone competing, knows what that means!

The Delta fins are available in 1cm increments in sizes 30-45

For a very short time, due to wind drop, I had the pleasure to try one on my wave-slalom Copello, and it felt great. I look forward to exploiting them further…


Unfortunately, the guidelines for safe navigation & avoidance of the watersports area by motor boats are not followed, resulting in scenes like the one I recorded, with Konstantinos K. being closely blocked here…

Incredible sailing sunset beauty

Thank God, Summer is not that far and we will once more have the joy of all meeting & sailing together.

Back in 2016, Danilo from Trieste, my dear friend & ingenious home mechanic, offered a contribution post for better cooling of the beloved Fiat X1/9, based on an auxiliary electrical cooling pump.

He now further improved the cooling, by replacing the original radiator with an aluminum one. Here is how he dealt with it:

This is a modification of mine from months ago: it concerns the replacement of the stock radiator of the X1/9 with an aluminum one (which, in any case, required adaptations).

The two electric fans and the electric water pump were already from an earlier modification.

The current images are related to the replacement of the stock radiator:


The home-made parts for fixing the two electric radiator fans

The same details that fix the two electric fans to the stock radiator

Other home-made details for the aluminum radiator

A comparison of the stock radiator and the aluminum one

The electric fans mounted on the aluminum radiator

Detail of the electric water pump


I’m available for questions that may arise.




Springtime in Paros

We usually visit Paros in July for windsurfing, but thanks to an invitation from our friend Nikos & his wife Astrid (owners of the Philoxenia hotel), we decided to spend there this Easter.

Great choice by all means, because the island at that time, offers a much more relaxed atmosphere (as long as you know how to avoid the crowd).

Here are a few images I would like to share.

I start with the flourished countryside




Below, is a cute folklore “angel” on Friday night of the Epitaph at the village of Prodromos, where the village follows the tradition of the adjoining village of Marpissa, where a large scale theatrical enactment of Jesus’ last days is organized.

IMG_2536 b

And since sailing in Paros is a must even when not windsurfing windy, I tried for a second time to wing-surf on my 140 liters Gong Lance, under the instructions of Alekos – the wingman of the group.

We sailed in Santa Maria, where John & Julie were already wing training.Me & John winging

Gong alternative sailing board

July is coming soon, and so does a new sailing season for us, so my friend Kostas & myself try not to spare workout time – Alekos & Mari are sailing daily…

surfer-dude httpwww.symbols n emoticons.com




The 2021 summer was not a relaxed one.

We arrived on the island late June as scheduled, but I brought along my worries of a non-Covid health issue – no testing mood, no posting mind.

Having radically closed this outstanding issue at the end of November, I’m now starting to work-out again in order to be fit for the 2022 windsurfing season, and in the meantime, here is the first post of the year.

But let’s go back to Spring 2021, when Thomas Bakirtzis & Stavroula, owners of Stonero watersports shop in Thessaloniki & lake Volvi surf club, announced the launch of their own – locally built windsurfing & wing boards brand Big Z. Well, such things don’t happen every day, especially when backed by a supportive traveling test visit of the full range of boards, to many sailing spots all over Greece! Mind you, the boards are semi-custom & there is a full options pricelist covering construction, fin configurations & graphics. Wishing success in person, was the least I could do.


New vintage boards

Maybe you are aware, that  I see well-designed vintage boards in an affectionate way.

Within a few months, I was offered 2 such boards, one custom & one production, both of Australian origin.

The first one is a Mike Davis, which my friend Kostas Gretsos, proud owner/skipper of Afroessa GRE-1353 (one of the main contenders of the Performance sailing yacht regattas IRC1 class, bought secondhand a long time ago from Philip Adamidis (yes, WS GR-1), a board Philip got personally from Mike’s shop, having slept in the car, to save money for more equipment…It has a very unusual channel bottom design, and all the riders were fascinated by its performance.

I promise, one day this board will become part of a Windsurfing museum.

“Starting Mike Davis Designs in 1973, I was finally free to shape the boards with all of the design feature ideas and tweaks that’d been accruing in my head like so many nagging questions – No more trying to convince the boss or toning or watering-down or compromising of the concepts by the ‘writers of the checks’ to appease those anachronistic customers resistant to change, who insisted that those little details couldn’t possibly make that much difference. At the risk of sounding proud: All of which, I note with pride, still grace every modern surfboard to this day. Feel that Tucked under-edge? It is the difference between a good board and a great board. I conceived it, named it, and introduced it in 1973 and it’s been ‘stock standard’ on every performance surfboard ever since. I saw things differently and came up with different tweaks – solutions to age-old problems that remain current today.” Mike Davis
From the Museum of Surf

The second board is a Strapper wave, shaped by Mike Di Sciascio, who in the early ’90’s having as a rider young Jason Polakow, one of the world’s best ever wave sailors/waterman, with unique talent and marketing, strong logos and graphics, made a major impact globally, with the legacy still in the sport today.

It’s interesting to note this was the treasured board of Vasso, Kostas’ wife – no coincidence both these great boards were under the same roof…


Summer 2021

Of course, there were nice scenes in New Golden beach, with most friends present & the Paros Windsurf Center flourishing – I share some photos, mostly windsurfing – with the exception of our friend Alecos, who is progressing in wing foiling, followed by Mari and encouraging Kostas & myself to join.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Having heard some time ago, from my friend Kostas of boardsΝwheels, about the extreme precision Kafros custom carbon booms, I was very happy to meet Giannis in N.G.beach, joining the hardcore “locals”, most of which rely on his booms. He sure had a great sailing time among friends who appreciate his fine work.


Packing for Paros, I could not find my impact vest, so I called on duty the historic vintage one that my friend George “Tigana” had given me years ago. It is the special vest designed by Anders Bringdal for his  Liberty Team – the one who won the first-ever TransAtlantic Windsurf Race in 1998. George went on board as a photographer of the Greek team, but was soon assigned to the athlete’s recovery squad.

The vest has plenty of special pockets & fasteners and is equipped with a Dakine watering on-the-go system. An enviable piece of history! 

Thanks to my good friend & surfing buddy Kostas Vergos, I received one more precious vintage gift, a Dave Kalama slotted wave fin, absolutely new.  I share so that those who understand will enjoy.

With the occasion of an interview with SURF magazine, I asked my friend Alex Maucher GER-132 to tell me more about his windsurfing journey, since he embraced it from its inception, and in many cases shaped the evolution of the sport.

Alex, is a 72-year-old doctor and 49-year windsurfing athlete, specializing in tandems (double rig windsurf boards-for 2 riders), where he still competes on a championship level.

He formed the first initially European, and then world sailing class of Windglider, which thanks to him was chosen as the official equipment of the newly introduced windsurfing Olympic sport in 1984.

From football to windsurfing…

As a pupil, I played football with Reiner “Calli” Calmund, who was not overweight at the time, and then I switched to hockey.

I was introduced to windsurfing by Tom Siefer, a 420 class sailor, who in 1971 saw a small photograph of Hoyle Schweitzer on a Windsurf, in “YACHT” magazine. This electrified him on the spot and was the initial spark for both of us.

It sounds incredible, everything started with a simple picture?

Yes. In the photo, the board was visible just above the waterline – it was unknown what the hull was below the surface.

So Tom made a board in his own way, an amazing achievement. It was red, made of fiberglass, 3.55 meters long and 0.71 meters wide. It had no daggerboard, but a giant fin, like Formula boards decades later. A large screw in the stern, allowed drainage of any water that had entered. That’s why the weight remained constant. By the way, this first board still exists!

On the wooden mast, a rail was fixed, where the sail could slip in, by a rope that was incorporated into the luff of the sail (like in a sailboat-sail). Since it was not clear where the lateral point had to be, Tom constructed a mast track(!), which allowed different mast positions. He even constructed a boom with clamps and an outhaul system, features applied much later to more modern boards.

Who was the first Windsurfer in Germany, Calle Schmidt or you?

Well, the pioneer was Tom Siefer, 18 years old at the time. He started building his own in 1971. But we did not get to the water until the beginning of the summer of 1972. Everything probably happened in parallel.

Tom’s board sailed for the first time on Lake Bigge, near Attendorn in West Germany. An unforgettable day.

The board had the same dimensions as modern beginners’ boards.  The real sensation was that it worked at all. It was very stable. You could actually sail with it. The spectacle was impressive and I immediately decided that I wanted to learn that sport.

 And when did you hear about Calle Schmidt?

Tom’s family, who were enthusiastic about sailing, discovered an interview with Calle in “Handelsblatt“magazine in the summer of 1972. They reported a scheduled first regatta meeting with the new sailing boards in Sylt. Of course, we arranged to go.

We went there with my little Morris Mini. When we got on the first train that morning (Sylt is an island that is only accessible by train over a dam.), we looked for the organizing Club, named “Admirals Club”. This Club existed only as a name on a doorbell!  The Mother of Calle Schmidt opened the door and led us to the kitchen of the house. Calle was still in bed. 12 people came one by one from far away. It turned out to be an unforgettable day, with a program on the water and a movie screening in the living room.

This was the first meeting of windsurfing athletes in history! 12 very likeable people, who all later became well-known windsurfers. We saw original American windsurf boards for the first time and we were fascinated.

Calle sold me a board, which was handed over to us in Hamburg, on our way home to Cologne. In the absence of a roof rack and lashing straps, we laid the board on a jacket on the roof and tied it with elastic first aid bandages through the windows of the small car. It was impossible to go over 80 km/h, and we arrived at home in the middle of the night.

We were very happy!

And where did you practice back home?

Our first spot was originally the ”Decksteiner Weiher”, an artificial lake, in a park in front of the headquarters of the Cologne Soccer-Club (1.FC Köln), with almost no wind due to the tall trees, but this was not important at first. I became a co-owner of the board with a percentage of 50%. Tom was still a student and my involvement was helpful, so I had constant access to the sailboard.

During the first winter, I got a 6 mm wetsuit and trained. Traffic chaos ensued as drivers stopped on a bridge and watched us. Probably everyone later bought a board.

Was there already a windsurfing section on the 1973 “BOOT” fair (the biggest boat fair of the world)? 

In January, the “BOOT” fair took place in Düsseldorf. This was the first time that our sport was presented to the general public. Calle asked for help from Tom and me at his small booth. He did not know anyone else here in our area. We made our presentations at the demonstration pool in front of a wind turbine and attracted a lot of attention. Even the main TV channel showed us. Someone called Mr. Charchulla came and found us on the edge of the pool and he was very interested. I made an appointment with him at the “Decksteiner Weiher” in Cologne, right after “BOOT”, that is, in early February – in the winter. I had to stay in bed for two weeks with pneumonia after that. The well-known “Charchulla-Twins” describe in one of their books how they came first into contact with windsurfing in California (!). I know that much better.

You naturally had to go to the legendary first European Championship on Sylt island in autumn 1973. Did you have any success?

The first real regatta was a self-proclaimed European Championship that autumn in Sylt, organized by Calle with great effort. It became the mother of all windsurf competitions.

Of course we had to attend.

120 surfers from all over Europe took part. Practically all of them had regatta experience with a sailboat, while I did not. That’s why I was very proud of a place in the middle of the rankings. Tom landed in the TOP 10. There is a video of this event on the internet in the “Spiegel-Online” multimedia library, which we recorded with a Super 8 camera. Worth a look. (http://m.spiegel.de/einestages/a-1038983.html).

By today’s standards, interesting participants were Ernstfried Prade (later founder of Mistral and VDWS), Klaus Gahmig, Brockhaus who founded “Wndsurfing – Magazine”, the forerunner of “SURF” and the Charchulla twins with their guitars.

A huge party took place at the end of the first day and on the second day, important people met to plan the future of the sport.

Why was it quiet for you the next two years?

I had to get my medical degree. State exams were a priority, and nothing should distract me.

After the exams, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Greece. At that time I was the first sailboard in the country and one of the first in the whole Mediterranean.

Somewhere there, the sport took off in the West.

Soon there were surf shops and small schools. But we windsurfers started to disturb, as the uninvited visitors in the areas around Cologne. It was absolutely necessary to organize the thing, although many of the freedom-minded surfers found this annoying.

On August 29, 1976, I decided to gather twelve people on Lake Zülpicher. I convinced them and we founded an association, the Rheinische Windsurfing Gemeinschaft (RWSG). I was elected president and we started. That same October, we gathered 150 surfers for a regatta on Lake Bleibtreu near Cologne, a demonstration in the presence of the “Forest Authority”(governmental). Two months later we received the green light from the private owner of Lake Zülpicher, in the middle of winter. The sports department of the city of Cologne gave us the keys to the locker rooms on Lake Fühlinger, a rowing event venue in the northern part of Cologne.

Shortly afterwards you went to the Bahamas for the World Championship of the Windsurfer class, correct?

It was an impressive event with 480 entries. Everyone was given a full sailboard. The whole world was represented – many TV channels, including German ARD (most important channel).

We were weighed and divided into 4 weight categories of 120 people. After two days of qualifying, only the top 20 in each category reached the final. With good wind, I qualified in 5th place. This was the best race of my life!

Unfortunately, there was no wind in the final and I fell to 9th place in my weight class.

The overall winner was a little boy from Hawaii, 13 years old and only 35 kg. His name – Robby Naish!

Returning to Cologne, were you very active?

Our sport was not organized at all. There were two currents. Some wanted an organization just for good-time boardsailors. I supported the other current, which was fighting for recognition as a sailing sport and the inclusion of windsurfing in sailing organizations. After the founding of the RWSG, I was appointed to the sailing committee of the DSV (German Sailing Federation) by Professor Heinrich Schoop. A few years later Heinrich anointed me as his successor.

But you wanted more?

Fred Ostermann, who later became the world market leader, copied the structure of Windsurfers organization, founded a national WINDGLIDER class association. He appointed one of his managers as the first president. Some years later I ended up his democratically elected successor. We had a live class and even published our own illustrated newspaper, “WINDGLIDER-News”. Ostermann hosted major world championships in the Caribbean and Mauritius based on the example of the Windsurfer class world championship in the Bahamas. The International Sailing Federation in London recognized windsurfing and set up the “Windsurfing Committee”, headed by a German (Hajo Fritze). Suddenly there was a discussion about the possibility of turning boardsailing into an Olympic sport.

The favorite was the already outdated Windsurfer prototype, due to its worldwide spread.

I judged Windglider clearly more appropriate. However, unlike the Windsurfers, our federation did not yet have the required “international status” of the IYRU in London. We needed 11 countries and the relative national Windglider associations for that. We only had one country!

With the support of the manufacturer, I was able to change this in record time. Then I had to tie the countries of the Eastern European bloc to our chariot and in 1980, despite the “iron curtain”, we organized an impressive World Championship of the WINDGLIDER class with 250 sailboards on Lake Balaton in Hungary. The result of the effort made history. A little later in London, at the International Sailing Association (IYRU), we managed to prevail against Hoyle Schweitzer and the mighty Windsurfer Class Association.

Throughout the effort, I was firmly supported by my friend and sailor Heinz Staudt, because as world president of Olympic class 470, he guided me in all aspects of the international scene.

We had the best proposal. The best concept and a better board.

Windsurfing became an Olympic sport for 1984, with WINDGLIDER.

However, the developments with Ostermann-Windglider were not cloudless, culminating in the dramatic “Night of Palamos” in 1981!

For the official new Olympic class, I organized a European Championship on Lake Garda in Italy and shortly after a big World Championship in Palamos, Spain. The level of participants was impressive. All the top windsurfers came. We, the active people, were already thinking about how things should go after the Olympic Games. Kids from all over Europe had very good, constructive ideas on how to make Windglider suitable for the future. We have had in mind since then, what those involved today with the category “WINDSURFER – LT” have achieved. After the European (championship), we tested different equipment, a modern daggerboard, a new fin footstraps, and a new board. The board was very good. I’m sure it would have succeeded. Fred Ostermann had also developed a new production method. The new boards were unbreakable. All this, of course, remained secret.

Until the Olympics, I insisted on following the rules of our class. We had promised the world a one-design-class. Something monstrous happened at the annual general assembly of our international organization, during the World Cup. Windglider importers from all over the world flocked unexpectedly. They had the right to vote and voted for my expulsion. A director of the manufacturing company had called them in complete secrecy and convinced them that I had to be dismissed. That afternoon I heard for the first time that I was held responsible for Ostermann’s declining sales. Among other things, I was accused of thinking in the interest of the users and not of the manufacturer. That was true, of course. That was what I was elected for… Fred Ostermann obviously did not rejoice at the unjust, hasty decision. 27 years later on Lake Zülpicher – a few years before his death – he apologized to me in every way for the events of that night. He was still very sad and it continued to weigh on him for the rest of his life.

How did things develop after the Olympic games 1984 in Los Angeles?

After the night of Palamos, the Windglider went steeply downhill. The International Class Union was dissolved soon. My friends and I left the class. Already, at the time of the Olympics, the Windglider was hopelessly outdated. Ostermann has not been able to keep up with the times to introduce new attractive boards next to the Windglider. His company soon went bankrupt and was sold to BIC for a lot of money. Freddy Ostermann, as a condition of the deal, was forced to pledge not to work in the windsurfing sector again! He became a real estate agent.

The national Windglider class association changed its name to “Vereinigung Deutscher Regattasurfer eV” (German Surf Athletes’ Association, and merged with the Windsurfer and Open Class (KDS) to form the current Deutsche Windsurfing Vereinigung e. V. (German Windsurfing Association) (DWSV) – a very logical and well-functioning structure. At the same time, professional races and additional classes were developed (eg DWC, Formula).

Jochen Halbe, then editor-in-chief of “YACHT”, whom I had appointed to the“Windsurfing committee” of the German Sailing Association (DSV), convinced me in the late 1970s that it was important for us surfers not only to advise the executive committee, but also to have one of our own people as a member of the DSV presidency. For that, an additional seat had to be created in the council, which required a change in the DSV articles of association – pure utopia! RWSG, at that time the largest German surf club with 800 members, submitted the crazy application and we voted at a very big national meeting of all German sailing clubs in Berlin after a wonderful speech by Dr. Ulli Müller-Frank(Cologne). We won the voting impressively. The DSV presidency was shocked!

Unfortunately, we did not achieve much. I was not welcome at the table of presidency meetings. After a year we had a falling-out and I quit, when I got the impression that I was not given any support. Too bad, I had just started a promising dialogue with Ernstfried Prade (Association of Windsurfing schools). Today I think I abandoned the effort too early. Unfortunately, I was not able to build the bridge to the professional World Cup.  Anyway, a surfer had a place in the presidency of DSV for more than 30 years.


OK, so now let’s talk about the Tandem boards, their class, the Tandem regattas, and your involvement.

Ostermann had already made his first tandem in 1974, white with a yellow deck, nicknamed “fried egg”. In 1976 the Windglider tandem followed, with a concave hull and the first races were organized.

It all started with the first World Cup in 1976 on Lake Garda near Malcesine. 80 tandems! I was immediately fascinated and I am still today. It was clear that in order for this category to grow seriously, a democratically organized class association was needed.

Following the example of Windsurfer and Windglider, I founded the German and International Class Association (DTK e.V. and ITCA). The ITCA was recognized by the International Sailing Association in London (now “World Sailing”) as Division III and has since got the status of an international class – until today. In 2006 I woke up the DTK from a deep sleep. Today it is again a small but vibrant association with a beautiful website (www.tandemsurfing.de).

In the meantime, the RWSG had to be saved from disaster.

At some point in the 1990s, our local club in Cologne, the RWSG wanted to disband because it had no candidate for the presidency. The necessary general assembly had already been convened. Ulli Müller-Frank motivated me and we took over the presidency. He did it for a year, and then I had to do my turn for a year.

Don’t ask me how many years lasted my turn. After a long time that seemed to me 20 years, I passed the baton to my friend Christian Hammermann.

I know your great love has always been surfing with tandems.

Surfing is still my sport alongside tennis, to this day. In the 1970s, when there were no harnesses, I participated in all classes of single boards and won races in all categories (Windsurfer, Windglider, and open class). I was not bad, but neither was I very good.

On the contrary, I was always successful when I competed in tandems. Obviously this, I can do it better.

Tandem surfing is a wonderful sport. You surf by changing the pressure of two sails – this is unique to sailing. Parallel driving is very interesting and demanding. The tactics are different than in monoboarding and the “team” factor makes a big difference. Sharing successes and failures with a teammate is an experience. You have to fit together. You cannot do anything alone. It’s the same in all team sports. Apart from the tandem, there is no real team sport in windsurfing. In Germany we sail as teams in team events, but that is not comparable.  I had always amazing teammates in the races; all were athlete-surfers competing in other categories. They were once Wilfried Löffeler, Markus Lorscheidt, André Hauschke and Lutz Kremer. Then came Bene Klinkhammer and Dirk Hoekzema (occasionally also Philipp Oesterle, Frank Spöttel and Thomas Kleine). I’m currently competing with Patrick Bahlke and Markus Hoffmann. I always look forward to the next race.

Of course, Tandem boats also had to evolve.

In 2006, Manfred Behrendt, as head surf of the regional Sailing association in West Germany, managed to reactivate the Tandems with a small series of races. A successful tandem race also took place in Switzerland near St. Moritz. Something started moving. That gave me courage. I returned. What we lacked was a manufacturer who could make affordable boards for us. I asked several companies – no interest.

Starboard created “GEMINI”. But this was too small. A tandem should provide enough space for two rigs. What to do? I managed to locate Fred Ostermann, who had disappeared decades ago, somewhere near the French border. He told me where his old tandems were built. It was a company in Belgium called INDUPOL. I contacted them. The supposed strangers turned out to be old friends. The little boss was a former Windglider world champion lady, namely Anita Jansen. We brought the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, Stephan van den Berg and his brother Ron, from the Netherlands to the team. We met in Amsterdam and designed a brand new tandem. The result was the best tandem ever, the TD 580. Ron designed and shaped the prototype by hand. INDUPOL made two such tandems in prepeg carbon with incredible effort.

Finally, they could not offer it at a realistic price.

We all spent a lot of money and a lot of time.

Fortunately for me, I was given the opportunity to meet Georg Lechner in Austria. We had not seen each other for decades, but this is not always necessary with real friends. We had scored second place in a European Tandem championship on Lake Garda in 1979 and he was a major figure in the ITCA in the 1980s. He is a world-renowned expert in board building. Besides, he built the Olympic sailboards for two Olympic Games. To be precise, he even studied plastic processing.

Georg spontaneously helped me get out of the difficult position. He took the material from Belgium and made the now legendary LECHNER TD 580. They are really wonderful sailboards. They are suitable for any weather and any wave, for beginners and performance surfers. But one problem has remained the same since 1974. Tandems have always been very large in length. They could not be stored at home, were difficult to transport on the roof of a car, and above all, were not mass-produced in molds. SHARK tried to solve the problem with a divided board in the 1970s. Lechner adopted this idea in 2018 and implemented it cleverly. There is now a Lechner TD 580 in two pieces which is perfect. You assemble it in a few minutes. It worked perfectly on the steep wave in the Netherlands during the last Europeans. The latest feature of the new Lechner TD 580 is a folding daggerboard that is easy to use by the sailor of the aft rig. The board has a mast rail and footstraps. You can use all sails sizes up to 10 square meters. The two halves can be produced industrially. With this new board, there is hope that Tandem surfing will become popular again.

I’m sure, that all these years you have been organizing your professional and private life as well.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, in addition to my full-time job at the clinic, I also worked 8 hours a day as a hobby. At home in my office, there were three desks for different associations. Even at the university clinic, I had a small private apartment for my on-call nights. I had a telephone, a typewriter and a dictation device. I employed two secretaries and a professional translator…

In 1982 I opened my office and became an even worse workaholic. At that time I started outpatient surgery. That was new. A year later, two colleagues in Hamburg had the same idea independently of me. We formed a union with colleagues and became real pioneers. The good idea created a trend.

I’m much more proud of that than of surfing. Together we created structures and really made a difference for people. You cannot get details here, but the legislator has followed us and German hospitals are now legally obliged to offer outpatient clinics. In 1993 I founded a large day clinic where I still work.

And your family?

My dear wife and our two children, who came early, supported me and traveled with me.

I recently sold my surgery center to a big hospital. Now I no longer work as an entrepreneur but as an employee in my own nice team. That is comfortable and enjoyable. Since January 2021 I have been working halftime and I have more time for myself and my grandchildren. Two years ago I lost 16 kilos and I hope it will help me in surfing as well. I am also a member of a Raceboard team (Oberhausener SC)

Twice a year my wife and I fly for holidays to Paros for training. I surf in a long radius in the blue sea with my raceboard. They see me as strange sights there, because everyone is surfing back and forth with small surfboards and small sails. It is a beautiful island with very nice surfers.

Fun on the tandem is still in the foreground & fascinates you?

By all means, it has offered me so far maximum fun, in company with my friends. I’m not as strong on single boards as I was in the ’70s. The tandem is a different story. There have always been better teams than mine, but we are always among the leaders. Tandem surfing is comparable to doubles in tennis. My colleague Andy Mies has, at best, the individual performance required for 2nd division national league of our country in tennis. But together with teammate Kevin Krawietz, they form a world-class couple. The two of them have won twice the French Open and represent Germany in the Davis Cup. It’s a similar story for me on tandem, on a small scale.

I thanked Alex for this interesting accounting of his windsurfing dids, and I hope when he finds more time, that he will share some more I’m sure there is…

Alex Maucher  GER-132

Age: 72 years old

Born: March 25, 1949

Place of residence: Cologne

Occupation: Specialist in gynecology and obstetrics

Height / weight: 189 cm, 90 kg

Surfing since: 1972

Regatta debut: 1973 in Sylt

Sail number: GER 132

Surf club: Rheinische Windsurfing Community (RWSG)

Successes: Tandem Vice European Champion 1979 (with Georg Lechner)

7 wins in Tandem: 1978 and 1979 (with Wilfried Löffler), 1981 (with Markus Lorscheidt), 2010 (with Ben Klinkhammer), 2011, 2013 and 2017 (with Dirk Hoekzema)

Tandem European Champion 2015 (with Dirk Hoekzema)

Tandem European Champion 2018 (with Markus Hoffmann)

Favorite place: Paros / New Golden beach

Hobbies: tennis as a team sport, skiing

Personal: Married to Eibi for 48 years, one son, one daughter, three grandchildren

This interview was given to me in German. I hardly understand a German word, so I asked my dear friend George Fortunas to rescue me.

George is the ideal team member for this job and here is why:

He speaks fluently German as he has got an engineering degree in plastics from Vienna L.K.T. institution & he even made from scratch his personal sailboards in 1979, following the instructions of a German How-To book! Thanks, George.

Με αφορμή συνέντευξης στο περιοδικό SURF, ζήτησα από τον φίλο μου Alex Maucher  GER-132, να μου πει περισσότερα για την διαδρομή του στό γουιντσέρφινγκ, μιάς και το αγκάλιασε από την εμφάνισή του, και σε πολλές περιπτώσεις διαμόρφωσε την ίδια την εξέλιξη του αθλήματος

Ο Άλεξ, είναι γιατρός 72 ετών και 49 χρόνια αθλητής του windsurfing, με εξειδίκευση στα tandems (ιστιοσανίδες διπλής ιστιοφορίας – για 2 αναβάτες), όπου κάνει πρωταθλητισμό μέχρι σήμερα.

Σ’αυτόν οφείλεται η δημιουργία της πρώτης ευρωπαϊκής αρχικά και παγκόσμιας στη συνέχεια ιστιοπλοϊκής κλάσης Windglider, αλλά και η επιλογή της συγκεκριμένης κλάσης ως εξοπλισμός για την ιστιοσανίδα ως νέο ολυμπιακό άθλημα το 1984.

Από το ποδόσφαιρο στο γουιντσέρφινγκ…

 Ως μαθητής έπαιζα ποδόσφαιρο με τον Reiner “Calli” Calmund, ο οποίος δεν ήταν παχύς εκείνη την εποχή, και μετά πέρασα στο χόκεϊ.

Με την ιστιοσανίδα, με έφερε σε επαφή ο Tom Siefer, ιστιοπλόος της κλάσης 420, ο οποίος το 1971 είδε στο περιοδικό”YACHT”, μια μικρή φωτογραφία του Hoyle Schweitzer πάνω σ’ένα Windsurf. Αυτό τον ηλέκτρισε επί τόπου και ήταν η αρχική σπίθα και για τους δυό μας.

Ακούγεται ίσως απίστευτο, αλλά ξεκινήσατε από μια απλή εικόνα;

 Ναι. Στη φωτογραφία, φαινόταν το σκαφάκι μόνο  πάνω από την ίσαλο γραμμή – άγνωστό πώς ήταν η γάστρα κάτω από την επιφάνεια.

Έτσι, ο Τομ έφτιαξε μία σανίδα με εντελώς δικό του τρόπο, επίτευγμα καταπληκτικό. Ήταν κόκκινη κατασκευασμένη από fiberglass μήκους 3,55 και πλάτους 0,71 μέτρων. Δεν είχε κεντρική καρίνα, αλλά ένα γιγαντιαίο φιν, όπως οι σανίδες της κλάσης Formula δεκαετίες αργότερα. Μια μεγάλη βίδα στην πρύμνη επέτρεπε να αποστραγγιστεί πλήρως ότι νερό είχε μπει. Έτσι το βάρος παρέμενε σταθερό. Παρεμπιπτόντως, αυτή η πρώτη σανίδα, υπάρχει ακόμα!

Στο ξύλινο κατάρτι, τοποθέτησε μια ράγα μέσα από την οποία περνούσε το πανί, έχοντας ενσωματώσει στο γραντί (luff) ένα σχοινί σε όλο του το μήκος – όπως στα ιστιοπλοϊκά. Δεδομένου ότι δεν ήταν δυνατόν να προβλέψει την ιδανική θέση του καταρτιού, ο Τομ είχε βάλει και μια ράγα στο κατάστρωμα , που επέτρεπε στο κατάρτι να μετατοπίζεται!. Ακόμα-ακόμα, κατασκεύασε  τη μάτσα με κομμάτια από σωλήνες και σφιγκτήρες. Τέλος, στο πίσω  ακρόματσο, έβαλε σύστημα για το τέντωμα του πανιού (άουτχολ) – λύσεις που εφαρμόστηκαν πολύ αργότερα στις σύγχρονες μάτσες!

Ποιος ήταν ο πρώτος γουιντσέρφερ της Γερμανίας εσύ ή ο Calle Schmidt (1972)

Ε λοιπόν, Ο Tom Siefer ήταν ο πρωτοπόρος, 18 χρονών τότε. Ξεκίνησε την κατασκευή του δικού του σκάφους το 1971. Όμως δεν πέσαμε στο νερό μέχρι τις αρχές του καλοκαιριού του 1972. Όλα πιθανότατα έγιναν παράλληλα.

Το σκάφος του Toμ, έπλευσε για πρώτη φορά στη λίμνη Bigge, κοντά στο Attendorn της Δυτικής Γερμανίας. Μια αξέχαστη μέρα.

Είχε τις διαστάσεις που έχουν οι σύγχρονες εκπαιδευτικές σανίδες. Το εντυπωσιακό, είναι ότι λειτουργούσε σωστά.  Ήταν πολύ σταθερό και μπορούσες πράγματι να σερφάρεις με αυτό. Το θέαμα ήταν εντυπωσιακό και αμέσως αποφάσισα πως ήθελα να μάθω να το εξασκώ.

Και πότε ακούσατε για τον Calle Schmidt;

Η οικογένεια του Τομ, που ήταν ενθουσιώδης για την ιστιοπλοΐα, ανακάλυψε μια συνέντευξη του Κάλλε στο περιοδικό Handelsblatt το καλοκαίρι του 1972. Ανέφερε έναν προγραμματισμένο πρώτο αγώνα με τις νέες ιστιοσανίδες στο Sylt. Φυσικά, κανονίσαμε να πάμε κι εμείς.

Πήγαμε με το μικρό μου Morris Mini. Όταν περάσαμε με το πρώτο τρένο εκείνο το πρωί (το Σύλτ είναι νησί και είναι προσβάσιμο με τρένο που περνά πάνω από το φράγμα), αρχίσαμε να ψάχνουμε τον φορέα της διοργάνωσης – τον όμιλο «Ναύαρχος», ένας όμιλος που υπήρχε μόνο σαν όνομα πάνω σ’ένα κουδούνι…! Η μητέρα του Κάλλε μας άνοιξε και μας οδήγησε στην κουζίνα του σπιτιού. Ο Κάλλε ήταν ακόμα στο κρεβάτι του. Δώδεκα άτομα κατέφθασαν ένας-ένας, ερχόμενοι από μακρυά. Εξελίχθηκε μια αξέχαστη μέρα, με ένα πρόγραμμα στο νερό και μια προβολή ταινιών στο σαλόνι.

Αυτή, ήταν η πρώτη συνάντηση αθλητών ιστιοσανίδας στην ιστορία! 10 συμπαθέστατοι άνθρωποι που όλοι τους αργότερα έγιναν  γνωστοί windsurfers. Είδαμε για πρώτη φορά πραγματικές, γνήσιες αμερικάνικες ιστιοσανίδες και γοητευθήκαμε.

Ο Κάλλε μου πούλησε ένα σκάφος, που μου παρέδωσε στο Αμβούργο, στο δρόμο για το σπίτι στην Κολωνία. Ελλείψει σχάρας οροφής και ιμάντων πρόσδεσης, βάλαμε τη σανίδα να πατήσει πάνω σ’ ένα μπουφάν στην οροφή του μικρού αυτοκινήτου και τη σφίξαμε με ελαστικούς επιδέσμους πρώτων βοηθειών, περνώντας τους μέσα από τα παράθυρα . Ήταν αδύνατον να πάω πάνω από 80χλμ/ώρα και φτάσαμε σπίτι μαύρα μεσάνυχτα. Ήμασταν πολύ ευχαριστημένοι!

Και πού κάνατε εξάσκηση στα μέρη σας;

 Το πρώτο μας μέρος, ήταν το Decksteiner Weiher, μια τεχνητή λίμνη, σ’ένα πάρκο μπροστά στην έδρα της ποδοσφαιρικής ομάδας της Κολωνίας  (1.FC Köln), όπου το έπιανε ελάχιστα ο άνεμος λόγω των ψηλών δέντρων, αλλά αυτό δεν είχε σημασία στην αρχή. Έγινα συνιδιοκτήτης της σανίδας κατά 50%. Ο Τόμ ήταν ακόμα μαθητής και η συμβολή μου ήταν χρήσιμη, οπότε είχα συνεχή πρόσβαση στο σκάφος.

Κατά τη διάρκεια του πρώτου χειμώνα έφτιαξα μια χοντρή στολή 6mm και προπονήθηκα. Τακτικά δημιουργείτο κυκλοφοριακό χάος, επειδή οι οδηγοί  σταματούσαν σε μια γέφυρα και μας παρακολούθησαν. Πιθανώς όλοι αργότερα, ν’ αγόρασαν και από μιά σανίδα.


Υπήρχε το 1973 στην έκθεση ΒΟΟΤ (το μεγαλύτερο σαλόνι σκαφών στον κόσμο), τμήμα ιστιοσανίδας;

 Τον Ιανουάριο, στην διεθνή έκθεση ΒΟΟΤ που γίνεται στο Ντύσσελντορφ, ήταν η πρώτη φορά που το άθλημά μας παρουσιάστηκε στο ευρύ κοινό. Ο Κάλλε ζήτησε βοήθεια από τον Τομ κι εμένα στο μικρό περίπτερο του. Δεν γνώριζε κανέναν άλλον εδώ στα μέρη μας. Πραγματοποιήσαμε τις παρουσιάσεις μας στην πισίνουλα επίδειξης μπροστά από μια μηχανή αιολικής ενέργειας και προσελκύσαμε μεγάλη προσοχή. Μας έδειξαν ακόμα και τα μεγάλα τηλεοπτικά κανάλια. Κάποιος κ. Charchulla ήρθε και μας βρήκε στην άκρη της πισίνας και ενδιαφερόταν πολύ. Κανόνισα ραντεβού μαζί του στο Decksteiner Weiher στην Κολωνία, αμέσως μετά το “BOOT”, δηλαδή στις αρχές Φεβρουαρίου –  μες στο χειμώνα και τελικά, κρεβατώθηκα για δύο εβδομάδες με πνευμονία.

Οι γνωστοί δίδυμοι Charchulla, σ’ένα από τα βιβλία τους, περιγράφουν πώς ήρθαν για πρώτη φορά σ’επαφή με το γουιντσέρφινγκ στην Καλιφόρνια(!).

Εγώ όμως ξέρω πολύ καλύτερα πώς έγιναν τα πράγματα.

Φυσικά, έπρεπε να πάτε στο θρυλικό πρώτο Ευρωπαϊκό Πρωτάθλημα του 1973 στο Σύλτ. Καταφέρατε κάτι εκεί;

Η πρώτη πραγματική ρεγκάτα ήταν ένα αυτοανακηρυγμένο Ευρωπαϊκό Πρωτάθλημα το φθινόπωρο του 1973 στο Sylt, που διοργάνωσε ο Κάλλε με μεγάλη προσπάθεια. Έγινε η μητέρα όλων των αγώνων γουιντσέρφινγκ. Φυσικά έπρεπε να παραβρεθούμε.

Δεν ήξερα καν πώς γίνονται οι ρεγκάτες. Είτε το πιστεύετε είτε όχι, συμμετείχαν 120 σερφίστες από όλη την Ευρώπη. Πρακτικά, όλοι τους είχαν εμπειρία ρεγκάτα με ένα ιστιοφόρο, ενώ εγώ όχι. Γι ‘αυτό ήμουν πολύ περήφανος με μια θέση στη μέση της κατάταξης. Ο Τομ προσγειώθηκε στην πρώτη 10άδα. Υπάρχει μια ταινία αυτής της εκδήλωσης στο διαδίκτυο στη βιβλιοθήκη πολυμέσων “Spiegel-Online”, που τραβήξαμε με μια κάμερα Super 8. Αξίζει μια ματιά.(http://m.spiegel.de/einestages/a-1038983.html).

Με σημερινά κριτήρια, ενδιαφέρουσες συμμετοχές ήταν Ο Ernstfried Prade (αργότερα ιδρυτής Mistral και VDWS), ο Klaus Gahmig , ο Brockhaus που ίδρυσε το “Wndsurfing – Magazin”- τον πρόδρομο του “SURF”και οι δίδυμοι Charchulla με τις κιθάρες τους.

Έγινε ένα τεράστιο πάρτι στο τέλος της πρώτης μέρας και τη επομένη, συναντήθηκαν σημαντικοί άνθρωποι για να σχεδιάσουν το μέλλον του αθλήματος.

 Γιατί χάθηκες τα επόμενα 2 χρόνια;

Έπρεπε να πάρω το ιατρικό μου πτυχίο. Η κρατικές εξετάσεις είχαν προτεραιότητα, και τίποτε δεν έπρεπε να αποσπάσει την προσοχή μου.

Μετά τις εξετάσεις, η σύζυγός μου και εγώ κάναμε το μήνα του μέλιτος μας στην Ελλάδα. Εκείνη την εποχή ήμουν η πρώτη ιστιοσανίδα στη χώρα και μια από τις πρώτες σε ολόκληρη τη Μεσόγειο.

Κάπου εκεί λοιπόν απογειώθηκε το άθλημα στη Δύση.

Σύντομα υπήρχαν καταστήματα surf και μικρές σχολές. Όμως εμείς οι windsurfers αρχίσαμε να ενοχλούμε, ως οι απρόσκλητοι επισκέπτες στις περιοχές γύρω από την Κολωνία. Ήταν απολύτως απαραίτητο το πράγμα να οργανωθεί, παρ’όλο που πολλοί από τους λάτρεις της ελευθερίας- σερφίστες  το θεώρησαν αυτό ενοχλητικό.

Στις 29 Αυγούστου 1976, αποφάσισα και συγκέντρωσα δώδεκα άτομα στη λίμνη Zülpicher. Τους έπεισα και ιδρύσαμε έναν σύλλογο, το Rheinische Windsurfing Gemeinschaft (RWSG). Εκλέχθηκα πρόεδρος και ξεκινήσαμε. Τον ίδιο Οκτώβριο, συγκεντρώσαμε 150 σερφίστες για μια ρεγκάτα στη λίμνη Bleibtreu στην Κολωνία,  μια επίδειξη παρουσία της «Αρχής Δάσους» (κρατικός φορέας). Δύο μήνες αργότερα λάβαμε το πράσινο φως από τον ιδιώτη ιδιοκτήτη της λίμνης Zülpicher , στα μέσα του χειμώνα. Το αθλητικό τμήμα της πόλης της Κολωνίας μας έδωσε τα κλειδιά για τα αποδυτήρια στη λίμνη  Fühlinger, ένα μέρος διοργάνωσης κωπηλατικών αγώνων, στο βόρειο τμήμα της Κολωνίας.

Λίγο μετά πήγες στις Μπαχάμες για το Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα της κλάσης Windsurfer, σωστά;

Ήταν μια εντυπωσιακή διοργάνωση με 480 συμμετοχές. Σε όλους δόθηκε ένα πλήρες σκάφος. Εκπροσωπήθηκε ολόκληρος ο κόσμος – πολλά τηλεοπτικά κανάλια, συμπεριλαμβανομένου του πιο σημαντικού γερμανικού ARD.

Ζυγιστήκαμε και χωριστήκαμε σε 4 κατηγορίες βάρους, των 120 ατόμων. Μετά από δύο ημέρες προκριματικών, μόνο οι 20 καλύτεροι σε κάθε κατηγορία μπήκαν στον τελικό. Με καλό αέρα προκρίθηκα στην 5η θέση. Αυτό ήταν τεράστια επιτυχία. Ήταν ο καλύτερος αγώνας της ζωής μου!

Δυστυχώς δεν υπήρχε άνεμος στον τελικό και έπεσα στην 9η θέση στην κατηγορία βάρους μου.

Ο γενικός νικητής ήταν ένα μικρό αγόρι από τη Χαβάη, 13 ετών και μόνο 35 κιλά. Το όνομά του – Robby Naish!

Δραστηριοποιήθηκες έντονα, επιστρέφοντας στην Κολωνία;

Το γουιντσέρφινγκ ήταν εντελώς ανοργάνωτο. Υπήρχαν δύο ρεύματα. Κάποιοι ήθελαν  τη δική τους μικρή ένωση μόνο για να διασκεδάζουν. Εγώ υποστήριζα  το άλλο ρεύμα, που αγωνιζόταν για αναγνώριση ως ιστιοπλοϊκό άθλημα και την ένταξη της ιστιοσανίδας σε ιστιοπλοϊκούς οργανισμούς. Μετά την ίδρυση του RWSG, διορίστηκα στην επιτροπή ιστιοπλοΐας του DSV (γερμανική ιστιοπλοϊκή ομοσπονδία) από τον καθηγητή Heinrich Schoop. Λίγα χρόνια αργότερα ο Heinrich με έχρισε διάδοχό του.

Ο Fred Ostermann, ο οποίος αργότερα έγινε ηγέτης της παγκόσμιας αγοράς, αντιγράφει την οργάνωση των Windsurfers, ιδρύει  μια ένωση κλάσης WINDGLIDER και διορίζει ως πρόεδρο έναν από τους διευθυντές του. Μερικά χρόνια αργότερα, κατέληξα ο δημοκρατικά εκλεγμένος διάδοχός του.

Είχαμε μια ζωντανή κλάση και ακόμη εκδίδαμε τη δική μας ιλουστρασιόν  εφημερίδα, το “WINDGIDER-News”. Ο Ostermann διοργάνωσε μεγάλα παγκόσμια πρωταθλήματα στην Καραϊβική και τον Μαυρίκιο με βάση το παράδειγμα του παγκόσμιου πρωταθλήματος windsurfing στις Μπαχάμες.

Η Διεθνής Ιστιοπλοϊκή  Ομοσπονδία στο Λονδίνο αναγνώρισε το γουιντσέρφινγκ  και δημιούργησε την «Επιτροπή Ιστιοσανίδας», με επί κεφαλής έναν Γερμανό (Hajo Fritze)

Ξαφνικά άρχισαν συζητήσεις να συμπεριληφθεί στους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες το άθλημα της ιστιοσανίδας.

Φαβορί ήταν το ήδη ξεπερασμένο πρωτότυπο Windsurfer, λόγω της παγκόσμια διάδοσής του.

Έκρινα  το Windglider σαφώς καταλληλότερο.  Ωστόσο, σε αντίθεση με τους Windsurfers, η ομοσπονδία μας δεν είχε ακόμη την απαιτούμενη «διεθνή υπόσταση» από τη Διεθνή Ιστιοπλοϊκή Ένωση( IYRU), στο Λονδίνο. Για να γίνει αυτό, χρειαζόντουσαν τουλάχιστον 11 χώρες με τις αντίστοιχες εθνικές ομοσπονδίες. Με την υποστήριξη του κατασκευαστή,  κατάφερα να το αλλάξω αυτό σε χρόνο ρεκόρ.   Στη συνέχεια, έπρεπε απαραίτητα να δέσω στο άρμα μας τις χώρες του Ανατολικού Μπλοκ και το 1980, παρά το «σιδηρούν παραπέτασμα», διοργανώσαμε  ένα εντυπωσιακό Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα κλάσης Windglider, με 250 σκάφη, στη Λίμνη Balaton στην Ουγγαρία. Το αποτέλεσμα της προσπάθειας έγραψε ιστορία. Λίγο αργότερα σε μια μαχητική ψηφοφορία στο Λονδίνο στη Διεθνή Ιστιοπλοϊκή Ένωση( IYRU), καταφέραμε να επικρατήσουμε εναντίον του Hoyle Schweitzer και της πανίσχυρης Ένωσης της κλάσης Windsurfer.

Καθ ‘όλη τη διάρκεια της προσπάθειας, με στήριξε αποφασιστικά, ο φίλος μου και ιστιοπλόος Heinz Staudt, διότι ως παγκόσμιος  πρόεδρος της ολυμπιακής κλάσης 470, με καθοδήγησε σε όλες τις πτυχές της διεθνούς σκηνής

Είχαμε την καλύτερη πρόταση και το καλύτερο σκάφος.

Η ιστιοσανίδα έγινε ολυμπιακό άθλημα για το 1984, με το WINDGLIDER.

Οι εξελίξεις όμως με την OstermannWindglider, δεν ήταν ανέφελες, με αποκορύφωμα τη δραματική «Νύχτα του Palamos» το 1981!  

Για την επίσημη νέα ολυμπιακή κλάση, οργάνωσα ένα Ευρωπαϊκό Πρωτάθλημα στη λίμνη Γκάρντα στην Ιταλία και λίγο αργότερα ένα μεγάλο Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα στο Palamos της Ισπανίας. Τα επίπεδο των συμμετεχόντων ήταν εντυπωσιακό. Ήρθαν όλοι οι κορυφαίοι windsurfers. Εμείς, τα ενεργά άτομα, σκεφτόμασταν ήδη πώς πρέπει να προχωρήσουν τα πράγματα μετά τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες. Τα παιδιά από όλη την Ευρώπη είχαν πολύ καλές, εποικοδομητικές ιδέες για το πώς να κάνουν το Windglider κατάλληλο για το μέλλον. Είχαμε στο μυαλό μας από τότε, αυτό που έχουν επιτύχει οι ασχολούμενοι σήμερα με την κατηγορία “WINDSURFER – LT“. Μετά το ευρωπαϊκό (πρωτάθλημα), δοκιμάσαμε ένα διαφορετικό εξοπλισμό, μία σύγχρονη καρίνα, ένα νέο πτερύγιο, ιμάντες ποδιών και μια νέα σανίδα. Το σκάφος ήταν πολύ καλό. Είμαι σίγουρος ότι θα πετύχαινε. Ο Fred Ostermann παράλληλα, ανέπτυξε μια νέα μέθοδο παραγωγής. Οι νέες σανίδες ήταν άθραυστες. Όλα αυτά, φυσικά, παρέμειναν απόρρητα.

Μέχρι τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες, επέμεινα να τηρήσω τους κανονισμούς της κλάσης μας. Είχαμε υποσχεθεί στον κόσμο μια αυστηρή κατηγορία, ενιαίου τύπου για όλους. Κάτι τερατώδες συνέβη στην ετήσια γενική συνέλευση της διεθνούς οργάνωσής μας, κατά τη διάρκεια του Παγκοσμίου Κυπέλλου. Οι εισαγωγείς Windglider από όλο τον κόσμο συνέρρευσαν αεροπορικώς αναπάντεχα. Είχαν δικαίωμα ψήφου και ψήφισαν την αποπομπή μου. Ένας διευθυντής της κατασκευάστριας εταιρείας, τους είχε καλέσει με απόλυτη μυστικότητα και τους έπεισε ότι έπρεπε να πάρω πόδι. Εκείνο το απόγευμα άκουσα για πρώτη φορά, ότι θεωρήθηκα υπεύθυνος για τις μειωμένες πωλήσεις της Ostermann. Μεταξύ άλλων κατηγορήθηκα ότι σκεπτόμουν το συμφέρον των χρηστών κι όχι του κατασκευαστή.  Αυτό ήταν αλήθεια, φυσικά. Γι ‘αυτό με είχαν εκλέξει. Ο Fred Ostermann προφανώς δεν χάρηκε από την άδικη, βεβιασμένη απόφαση. 27 χρόνια αργότερα στη λίμνη Zülpicher – λίγα χρόνια πριν από το θάνατό του – μου ζήτησε συγγνώμη από κάθε άποψη, για τα γεγονότα εκείνης της βραδιάς. Ήταν ακόμα πολύ λυπημένος και συνέχισε να τον βαραίνει, για το υπόλοιπο της ζωής του.

Πώς εξελίχθηκαν τα πράγματα μετά τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του ’84 στο Λος Άντζελες;

Μετά τη νύχτα του Palamos, το Windglider πήγε απότομα την κάτω βόλτα. Η Διεθνής Ένωση της Κλάσης διαλύθηκε αμέσως . Οι φίλοι μου κι εγώ φύγαμε από την κλάση. Ήδη, την εποχή των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων, το Windglider ήταν απελπιστικά ξεπερασμένο. Η εταιρεία Ostermann δεν κατάφερε να συμβαδίσει με την εποχή και να παρουσιάσει νέες ελκυστικές σανίδες δίπλα στο Windglider. Σύντομα χρεοκόπησε και εξαγοράστηκε από την BIC για πολλά χρήματα. Ο Freddy Ostermann υποχρεώθηκε να δεσμευτεί ότι δε θα δραστηριοποιηθεί ξανά στον συγκεκριμένο τομέα! Έγινε κτηματομεσίτης.

Η εθνική ένωση κλάσης Windglider άλλαξε το όνομά της σε “Vereinigung Deutscher Regattasurfer eV” «Ένωση Γερμανών Αθλητών του Σέρφ» (VDR), υπό την προεδρία μου και συγχωνεύτηκε με την κατηγορία Windsurfer και την ανοιχτή κλάση (KDS) για να σχηματίσει το σημερινό Deutsche Windsurfing Vereinigung e. V. «Γερμανική Ένωση Ιστιοσανίδας» (DWSV) – μια πολύ λογική και καλά λειτουργούσα δομή. Ταυτόχρονα, αναπτύχθηκαν επαγγελματικoi αγώνες και άλλες κλάσεις (π.χ. DWC, Formula).

Ο Jochen Halbe, τότε αρχισυντάκτης του “YACHT”, τον οποίο είχα διορίσει στην «Επιτροπή Ιστιοσανίδας» της Γερμανικής Ιστιοπλοϊκής Ένωσης DSV, με έπεισε στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 1970. ότι ήταν σημαντικό για εμάς τους σερφίστες όχι μόνο να λειτουργούμε συμβουλευτικά προς την εκτελεστική επιτροπή, αλλά και να έχουμε έναν δικό μας στο προεδρείο για τις κρίσιμες συνεδριάσεις. Για αυτό όμως, έπρεπε να δημιουργηθεί μια πρόσθετη έδρα στο συμβούλιο, πράγμα που απαιτούσε αλλαγή στο καταστατικό της ένωσης – καθαρή ουτοπία! Το RWSG – εκείνη την εποχή το μεγαλύτερο γερμανικό surf club με 800 μέλη, υπέβαλε την τρελή αίτηση και ψηφίσαμε στην Ιστιοπλοϊκή Ημερίδα στο Βερολίνο μετά από μια υπέροχη ομιλία του Dr. Ο Ulli Müller-Frank (RWSG) κερδίζοντας εντυπωσιακά την ψηφοφορία. Η προεδρία του DSV σοκαρίστηκε. Δυστυχώς δεν καταφέραμε και πολλά. Δεν ήμουν ευπρόσδεκτος στο τραπέζι των συσκέψεων του προεδρείου. Μετά από ένα χρόνο τα τσουγκρίσαμε, όταν σχημάτισα την εντύπωση ότι δεν μου δόθηκε καμία υποστήριξη στην ανάπτυξη της βασικής άδειας ιστιοσανίδας και της άδειας ιστιοπλοΐας. Κρίμα γιατί μόλις είχα ξεκινήσει έναν πολλά υποσχόμενο διάλογο με τον Ernstfried Prade (Ένωση Σχολών Γουιντσέρφινγκ). Σήμερα νομίζω ότι εγκατέλειψα πολύ γρήγορα. Δυστυχώς, δεν κατάφερα να χτίσω τη γέφυρα για το επαγγελματικό Παγκόσμιο Κύπελλο. Για την ιστορία πάντως, ένας surfer μπήκε και παρέμεινε στην προεδρία του DSV για πάνω από 30 χρόνια.

Ωραία, τώρα όμως, ας μιλήσουμε για τα σκάφη Tandem και την κατηγορία τους, καθώς και την εμπλοκή σου.

Ο Ostermann είχε ήδη κατασκευάσει το πρώτο του τάντεμ το 1974, λευκό με κίτρινο ντεκ, που πήρε το παρατσούκλι “τηγανητό αυγό”.

Το 1976 ακολούθησε το Windglider τάντεμ, με την κοίλη γάστρα και οργανώθηκαν οι πρώτοι αγώνες.                                                                     Όλα ξεκίνησαν με το πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Κύπελλο το 1976 στη λίμνη Γκάρντα κοντά στο Μαλτσεσίνε. 80 tandems! Αυτή η κατηγορία, με συνεπήρε αμέσως και το ίδιο αισθάνομαι μέχρι σήμερα.

Ήταν ξεκάθαρο ότι για να αναπτυχθεί σοβαρά κι αυτή η κατηγορία, χρειαζόταν μια δημοκρατικά  οργανωμένος φορέας. Ακολουθώντας το παράδειγμα των Windsurfer και Windglider, ίδρυσα τη γερμανική και τη διεθνή ένωση κλάσης (DTK e.V. και ITCA). Το ITCA αναγνωρίστηκε από τη Διεθνή Ιστιοπλοϊκή Ένωση στο Λονδίνο (σήμερα “World Sailing”) ως Division III και από τότε έγινε διεθνής κλάση – μέχρι σήμερα.

Το 2006 ξύπνησα το DTK από έναν βαθύ ύπνο. Σήμερα είναι και πάλι μια μικρή, αλλά ζωντανή ένωση με έναν όμορφο ιστότοπο (www.tandemsurfing.de).

Στο μεταξύ έπρεπε να σωθεί το RWSG από την καταστροφή.

Κάποια στιγμή στη δεκαετία του ’90, το RWSG, ο τοπικός μας σύλλογος της Κολωνίας ετοιμαζόταν να διαλυθεί επειδή δεν υπήρχαν υποψήφιοι για την προεδρία. Η αναγκαία γενική συνέλευση είχε ήδη συγκληθεί. Ο Ulli Müller-Frank με παρακίνησε και αναλάβαμε το πόστο. Το έκανε για ένα χρόνο, και μετά ήταν η σειρά μου γι’άλλον έναν. Μη με ρωτήσεις πόσα χρόνια ήταν για μένα. Μετά από ένα μεγάλο διάστημα που μου φάνηκε 20ετία, πέρασα τη σκυτάλη στον φίλο μου Christian Hammermann.

Ξέρω πως η μεγάλη σου αγάπη ήταν πάντα το σερφ με τάντεμ.

Το σερφ γενικά, είναι ακόμα το άθλημά μου – παράλληλα με το τένις, μέχρι σήμερα. Στη δεκαετία του 1970, όταν δεν υπήρχαν κρεμαστικά, συμμετείχα σε όλες τις κατηγορίες των μονών σανίδων και κέρδισα αγώνες σε όλες τις κλάσεις (Windsurfer, Windglider και open class). Δεν ήμουν κακός, αλλά ούτε κι εξαιρετικός.

Αντίθετα, ήμουν πάντα επιτυχημένος όταν αγωνιζόμουν  στα τάντεμ. Προφανώς αυτό, μπορώ να το κάνω καλύτερα. Το Tandem surfing είναι ένα υπέροχο άθλημα. Σερφάρεις αλλάζοντας την πίεση δύο πανιών – αυτό είναι μοναδικό στην ιστιοπλοΐα. Η παράλληλη οδήγηση είναι πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα και απαιτητική. Οι τακτικές είναι διαφορετικές απ’ότι στις μονές-ατομικές σανίδες και ο παράγοντας «ομάδα» κάνει τη μεγάλη διαφορά. Το να μοιράζεσαι επιτυχίες και αποτυχίες με τον συνεργάτη της ομάδας είναι μια εμπειρία. Πρέπει να ταιριάζετε. Δεν καταφέρνεις τίποτα μόνος σου. Είναι το ίδιο σε όλα τα ομαδικά αθλήματα. Εκτός από το τάντεμ, δεν υπάρχει πραγματικά ομαδικό άθλημα στο σερφ. Στη Γερμανία, έχουμε αγώνες όπου συμμετέχουν ομάδες μονών σανίδων, αλλά δεν είναι κάτι το συγκρίσιμο. Είχα καταπληκτικούς συνεργάτες της στα αγωνιστικά ζευγάρια, όλοι τους surfers που αγωνίζονταν σε άλλες κατηγορίες. Κάποτε ήταν οι Wilfried Löffeler, Markus Lorscheidt, André Hauschke και Lutz Kremer. Μετά το πέρασμα σε αυτόν τον αιώνα ήταν οι Bene Klinkhammer και Dirk Hoekzema (περιστασιακά επίσης οι Philipp Oesterle, Frank Spöttel και Thomas Kleine). Αυτήν τη στιγμή αγωνίζομαι  με τον Patrick Bahlke και τον Markus Hoffmann.  Ανυπομονώ πάντα για τον επόμενο αγώνα.

Φυσικά, και τα σκάφη Τάντεμ, έπρεπε να εξελιχθούν.

Το 2006, ο Manfred Behrendt, ως επί κεφαλής σέρφινγκ της Περιφερειακής Ιστιοπλοϊκής Ένωσης, κατάφερε να ενεργοποιήσει ξανά τα Tandems με μια μικρή σειρά αγώνων. Ένας επιτυχημένος αγώνας τάντεμ πραγματοποιήθηκε επίσης στην Ελβετία κοντά στο Σαν Μόριτζ. Κάτι άρχισε να κινείται. Αυτό μου έδωσε θάρρος. Επέστρεψα. Αυτό που μας έλειπε ήταν ένας κατασκευαστής που θα μπορούσε να κατασκευάσει προσιτές σανίδες για εμάς. Απευθύνθηκα σε κάμποσους κατασκευαστές – κανένα ενδιαφέρον..

Η Starboard δημιουργεί το “GEMINI”.  Αλλά αυτό είναι πολύ μικρό. Ένα τάντεμ πρέπει να παρέχει αρκετό χώρο για δύο ριγκ. Τι να κάνω;

Κατάφερα να εντοπίσω τον Fred Ostermann, ο οποίος είχε εξαφανιστεί προ δεκαετιών, κάπου κοντά στα γαλλικά σύνορα. Μου είπε πού χτίστηκαν τα παλιά τάντεμ του. Ήταν μια εταιρεία στο Βέλγιο με την επωνυμία INDUPOL. Επικοινώνησα. Οι υποτιθέμενοι άγνωστοι αποδείχθηκαν παλιοί φίλοι. Το μικρό αφεντικό ήταν πρώην παγκόσμια πρωταθλήτρια Windglider, η Anita Jansen. Φέραμε τον Ολυμπιονίκη του 1984, Stephan van den Berg και τον αδελφό του Ron, από την Ολλανδία στην ομάδα. Συναντηθήκαμε στο Άμστερνταμ και σχεδιάσαμε ένα εντελώς καινούριο σκάφος. Το αποτέλεσμα ήταν το καλύτερο τάντεμ που υπήρξε ποτέ, το TD 580. Ο Ron σχεδίασε και διαμόρφωσε το πρωτότυπο με το χέρι. Η INDUPOL έφτιαξε δύο τέτοια tandems σε prepeg άνθρακα με απίστευτες προσπάθειες, αλλά δεν μπόρεσε να το προσφέρει σε ρεαλιστική τιμή.

Όλοι μας ξοδέψαμε πολλά χρήματα και πολύ χρόνο.

Για μεγάλη μου τύχη, μου δόθηκε η ευκαιρία  κατάφερα να έρθω σε επαφή με τον Georg Lechner στην Αυστρία. Δεν είχαμε ειδωθεί για δεκαετίες, αλλά αυτό δεν είναι πάντα απαραίτητο με πραγματικούς φίλους. Οι δυό μας, πήραμε τη 2η θέση σαν ζευγάρι στο Ευρωπαϊκό Πρωτάθλημα Τάντεμ, στη λίμνη Garda το 1979 και ήταν ένα σημαντικό άτομο στο ITCA τη δεκαετία του ’80. Όσον αφορά την κατασκευή σκαφών, είναι παγκοσμίως αναγνωρισμένος ειδικός. Άλλωστε, κατασκεύασε τα Ολυμπιακά σκάφη για δύο Ολυμπιάδες. Για την ακρίβεια, σπούδασε ακόμη και επεξεργασία πλαστικών.

Ο Γκέοργκ με βοήθησε αυθόρμητα να βγω από τη δύσκολη θέση. Πήρε το υλικό από το Βέλγιο και έκανε το θρυλικό πλέον Lechner TD 580. Είναι πραγματικά υπέροχα σκάφη. Είναι κατάλληλα για κάθε καιρό και κάθε κύμα, για αρχάριους αλλά και σέρφερ επιδόσεων. Μόνον ένα πρόβλημα παρέμεινε το ίδιο από το 1974. Τα tandems ήταν πάντα πολύ μεγάλα σε μήκος. Δεν μπορούσαν να αποθηκευθούν στο σπίτι, δύσκολα μεταφέρονταν στην οροφή ενός αυτοκινήτου και, πάνω απ ‘όλα, δεν παράγονταν μαζικά σε καλούπια. Η SHARK προσπάθησε να λύσει το πρόβλημα με μια διαιρούμενη σανίδα στη δεκαετία του 1970. Ο Lechner υιοθέτησε αυτήν την ιδέα το 2018 και την εφάρμοσε  έξυπνα. Υπάρχει τώρα ένα  Lechner TD 580 σε δύο κομμάτια που είναι τέλειο. Το συναρμολογείτε σε λίγα λεπτά. Δούλεψε άψογα στο απότομο κύμα στην Ολλανδία στο τελευταίο Εuro. Το τελευταίο χαρακτηριστικό του νέου Lechner TD 580 είναι μιά αναδιπλούμενη καρίνα που είναι εύκολη στη χρήση από τον πίσω αναβάτη. Το σκάφος έχει ράγα ιστού και ιμάντες ποδιών. Μπορείτε να χρησιμοποιήσετε όλα τα πανιά έως 10 τετραγωνικά μέτρα. Τα δύο μισά μπορούν να παραχθούν βιομηχανικά. Με αυτό το νέο σκάφος, υπάρχει ελπίδα να γίνει ξανά δημοφιλές το Tandem σερφ.

Είμαι σίγουρος, πως όλα αυτά τα χρόνια οργάνωνες ταυτόχρονα και την προσωπική σου ζωή.

Στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 1970 και στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 1980, εκτός από τη δουλειά μου πλήρους απασχόλησης στην κλινική, δούλευα και 8 ώρες την ημέρα ως χόμπι. Στο σπίτι στο γραφείο μου, υπήρχαν τρία γραφεία για διαφορετικούς φορείς. Ακόμη και στην πανεπιστημιακή κλινική, είχα ένα μικρό ιδιωτικό διαμέρισμα για τις εφημερίες μου. Είχα τηλέφωνο, γραφομηχανή και συσκευή υπαγόρευσης. Απασχολούσα δύο γραμματείς και επαγγελματία διερμηνέα.

Το 1982 πήρα την ειδικότητα, ξεκίνησα το ιατρείο μου και έγινα ακόμη χειρότερος εργασιομανής.

Εκείνη την εποχή ξεκίνησα εγχειρήσεις εξωτερικών ασθενών. Αυτό ήταν νέο.

Ένα χρόνο αργότερα, δύο συνάδελφοι στο Αμβούργο, είχαν την ίδια ιδέα ανεξάρτητα από εμένα. Κάναμε μια ένωση με συναδέλφους και γίναμε πραγματικοί πρωτοπόροι. Η καλή ιδέα διαμόρφωσε μια τάση.

Είμαι πολύ πιο περήφανος γι ‘αυτό από ότι για το σερφ. Μαζί δημιουργήσαμε δομές και πραγματικά κάναμε τη διαφορά για τους ασθενείς.

Δεν μπορείτε να πάρετε λεπτομέρειες εδώ, αλλά ο νομοθέτης μάς έχει ακολουθήσει και τα γερμανικά νοσοκομεία είναι πλέον νομικά υποχρεωμένα να προσφέρουν ιατρεία εξωτερικών ασθενών.

Το 1993 ίδρυσα μια μεγάλη ημερήσια κλινική στην οποία εργάζομαι ακόμα.

Και η οικογένειά σου;

 Η αγαπητή μου γυναίκα και τα δύο παιδιά που ήρθαν νωρίς με υποστήριξαν και ταξίδευαν μαζί μου.

Πούλησα πρόσφατα το χειρουργικό μου κέντρο σ’ένα μεγάλο νοσοκομείο. Τώρα δεν δουλεύω πλέον ως επιχειρηματίας, αλλά ως μισθωτός, σε μια ωραία δική μου ομάδα. Είμαι πιο ήρεμος και το απολαμβάνω. Από τον Ιανουάριο του 2021 εργάζομαι κατά το ήμισυ και έχω περισσότερο χρόνο για τον εαυτό μου και τα εγγόνια μου. Πριν από δύο χρόνια έχασα 16 κιλά και ελπίζω ότι θα με βοηθήσει και στο σερφάρισμα. Είμαι επίσης μέλος μιας ομάδας Raceboard (Oberhausener SC)

Πηγαίνω δύο φορές το χρόνο διακοπές στην Ελλάδα, στην Πάρο, στη Νέα Χρυσή Ακτή, για προπόνηση. Σερφάρω σε μεγάλη ακτίνα στη γαλάζια θάλασσα με το raceboard μου. Με βλέπουν σαν αξιοπερίεργο εκεί, γιατί όλοι σερφάρουν μπρος-πίσω με μικρές σανίδες κυμάτων και μικρά πανιά. Όμορφο νησί με πολύ συμπαθητικούς  σερφίστες.

Το Tandem surfing συνεχίζει να σε συναρπάζει περισσότερο από κάθε άλλη αθλητική δραστηριότητα;

Με διαφορά, μου προσέφερε μέχρι στιγμής ότι ποιό διασκεδαστικό, παρέα με τους φίλους μου. Δεν είμαι πιά τόσο δυνατός στις μονές σανίδες,  όσο ήμουν στη δεκαετία του ’70. Το τάντεμ είναι άλλη υπόθεση. Πάντα υπήρχαν καλύτερες ομάδες από τη δική μου, αλλά μόνιμα βρισκόμαστε  ανάμεσα στους πρωταγωνιστές. Το Tandem surfing μοιάζει με το διπλό στο τένις. Ο συνάδελφός μου Andy Mies έχει στην καλύτερη περίπτωση, την ατομική επίδοση που απαιτείται για τη 2η κατηγορία τένις της εθνικής μας ομάδας. Με τον συμπαίκτη του Kevin Krawietz όμως, σχηματίζουν ζευγάρι παγκόσμιας κλάσης. Οι δύο τους, έχουν κερδίσει δύο φορές το Γαλλικό Όπεν και παίζουν για τη Γερμανία στο Davis Cup. Είναι μια παρόμοια ιστορία για μένα με το Tandem, σε μικρή κλίμακα.

Ευχαρίστησα τον Άλεξ για αυτήν την ενδιαφέρουσα αναδρομή της δικής του ιστορίας στο windsurfing, και ελπίζω να βρει περισσότερο χρόνο, να μοιραστεί μαζί μας και άλλα, που είμαι σίγουρος ότι υπάρχουν…

Και τώρα που ξέρετε πόσο βοήθησε το άθλημα που αγαπάμε, αν διασταυρωθείτε στο νερό, αναρωτηθείτε αν εσείς στα 72 σας, θα μπορείτε να σερφάρετε όπως αυτός, γιατί εκείνος αυτά που εσείς κάνετε σήμερα, μάλλον θα τα έχει κάνει χρόνια πριν.

Αν πάλι τον συναντήσετε στην παραλία, πείτε του ένα ευχαριστώ. Εγώ αυτό έκανα  🙂

Alex Maucher

Ηλικία: 72 ετών

Γεννήθηκε: 25 Μαρτίου 1949

Τόπος διαμονής: Κολωνία

Επάγγελμα: Ειδικός στη γυναικολογία και μαιευτική

Ύψος / βάρος: 189 cm, 90 κιλά

Ξακίνησε το σερφ : 1972

Ντεμπούτο αγωνιστικό: 1972 στο Sylt

Αριθμός πανιού: GER 132

Surf club: Rheinische Windsurfing Gemeinschaft (RWSG)

Επιτυχίες: Tandem Vice European Champion 1979 (με τον Georg Lechner)

7 νίκες στα Tandem: 1978 και 1979 (με τον Wilfried Löffler), 1981 (με τον Markus Lorscheidt), 2010 (με τον Ben Klinkhammer), 2011, 2013 και 2017 ( με τον Dirk Hoekzema)

Tandem European Champion 2015 (με τον Dirk Hoekzema)

Tandem European Champion 2018 (με τον Markus Hoffmann)

Αγαπημένο μέρος: Πάρος / Νέα Χρυσή Ακτή

Χόμπι: τένις ως ομαδικό άθλημα, σκι

Οικογενειακή κατάσταση: Παντρεμένος με την Eibi εδώ και 48 χρόνια, ένας γιός, μιά κόρη, τρία εγγόνια

Έλαβα το κείμενο της συνέντευξης στα Γερμανικά και μη σκαμπάζοντας γρι, ζήτησα τη βοήθεια του καλού μου φίλου Γιώργου Φορτούνα. Θεωρώ αδύνατο να έβρισκα καταλληλότερο συνεργάτη γι’αυτήν την δουλειά και να το γιατί:

Ο Γιώργος μιλάει άριστα Γερμανικά, μιάς και πήρε το πτυχείο του ως μηχανικός πλαστικών σπουδάζοντας στη σχολή της Βιέννης, ενώ το 1979 κατασκεύασε μόνος του τις προσωπικές του ιστιοσανίδες, ακολουθώντας ένα σχετικό γερμανικό βιβλίο! Συνεπώς ευχαριστούμε και τον Γιώργο.

Paros windsurfing report 2020

Still under the virus threat, we got ready to get to Paros all of the usual team.

We took the reliable – not very fast boat, since the ultra-fast ones were still waiting for higher occupancy permits, as the early summer allowances, with greatly reduced passengers were turning their service unprofitable.

We arrived on the island on the 1st of July with promising wind and very few visitors. Tserdakia (N.G.)beach was looking unspoiled – with no umbrellas, while our hotel had reservations for just 2 rooms.

The surf club was active & waiting, while the restaurants were mostly counting on the local clientele.

There were a few days with SW wind and a connected downpour, so I had to sun-dry all my gear. At least it happened just once.


No new equipment was acquired, and as the Planchemag team of Arnauld was not coming for testing, we would mainly focus on having a good time. Well, that did not apply for Alecos, who decided to get into 2 sailing novelties combined. Determined, and not distracted by the “encouraging” friends that were having a good time speeding by, he set-up trying Wingsail Foiling! It was fortunate that there were not many people around, to be scared out by his cursing…Shortly after, having mastered it, he would windsurf with strong wind and wing foil under moderate conditions. Compliments.

For me, it was a good windsurfing season, because against all odds, my brother joined me after a long period of medical enforced absence. That alone turned the 2020 w.s. season to a good one & promising for the next.


As I did not have new equipment to try, I concentrated on the existing, and some of the findings were not at all favorable. Technolimits in particular scored 2 failures. First came the breakage of an old carbon boom my friend Kostas had handed me over when he renewed his rig, and then somehow, the release button of my SDM extension went missing…The boom of course was scrapped, but the extension was saved upon return, thanks to the vast spares inventory of Nic Kokkolios.

Then, coming out of the water and unzipping my O’Neill wetsuit, I noticed I had a bold black collar mark around my neck, Upon closer examination, I noticed that the exposed neoprene coming in contact with the sunscreen lotion, had started to melt. If that was not enough, the rubberized seams were falling apart after 2 years of Greek summer use. My advice: for our climate, we don’t need that kind of seams sealing while as we definitely use sunscreen stuff, make sure that the parts coming in contact with your skin, are not made of uncovered neoprene. That way, you will extend greatly the life of your wetsuit. 

Having tried quite a few fins to further improve the performance of my customized Exocet Cross IV, upon return as well, I decided to order a fin I have been checking for some time, shaped by Wolfgang Lessacher. While we were communicating about the shipping details, I lost contact. A week later and while I was thinking of alternative fin options Wolfrang called apologetically and informed me that he was hospitalized due to virus infection. Thankfully he was OK, and soon after, I received the Duo Cut 27 freeride fin.

During the week I had lost contact with Wolfgang, I thought it would be wise to order one more special fin of Australian origin & serious Lockwood pedigree, so I also have for this coming summer a Tribal Powermax 28 🙂 

The New Golden beach being famous for the good windsurfing conditions attracts teams & athletes from all around the globe and even this weird & restrictive season, I spotted the loaded van of Giannis Genimmatas GRE-99, sales manager of Acme (NoveNove), Avanti sails & Noerstick extensions Greek distributor and athlete, who was daily testing equipment(as member of the NoveNove slalom boards R&D team) while coaching a promising Youth (16y.o.) rider Apostolos Grigoropoulos GRE-186, who has shown his riding determination during IFCA meetings in Greece, Tukey & Doha.

F2 was present with production manager & shaper Paul Simmerl driving a truck, full of uncoded prototypes. Time will show if the long hours spent on the water will give interesting new equipment…

Of course, we had a swim in Santa Maria – after all, we have so many memories from this place. What really hurts, is to see abandoned the old beach canteen, the place where “Opa” kyr’ Vangelis & his wife kyra ‘Leni have fed a generation of windsurfers. 

Mind you, due to the constructions all around the bay, the wind is no longer good. Feel yourself blessed, if you sailed there even before the opening of the camping.


Today, Monday 4th of May, the first steps back to normal living, include permission for windsurfing.

Unfortunately, this rather short period of hard times for many people, has been traumatic for us as well.

First of all, I lost my since high school best friend and best man.

He was taken to the hospital, not to come out again alive. No one and I mean NOBODY – not his mother, his brother, his wife & children, his friends – were allowed to see him, speak to him, support him, or even say goodbye…

One week earlier, I had been informed that our family country house in Poros island, was set on fire by a bastard, who was arrested a few days later, but this is no real comfort, as the loss includes the total windsurfing magazine archive of my brother, from which come plenty of vintage material I have so far posted, and THE door. This antique wooden door, fully painted with floral motif, dated from the period Greece was still under the 400 years Turkish occupation, was bought by my mother during the ’60’s and was the decorative gem of the house.

During the long homebound quarantine hours, I went through last summer’s photos, and I came up with some I would like to share.

Protective Gear

You see, not windsurfing year-long, leaves my feet tender enough to feel sore after the first week of intensive sailing. The first parts suffering, are my big toes and in an effort to protect, I covered them with pieces of a holed pair of gloves found in my bag. That gave me some good protection, but the relief did not last long, because more areas of my feet were rubbed down. In addition, hastily executed maneuvers led to swollen little toes on both feet. Although I carry a pair of thin shoes for special circumstances, I avoid using them, because they distract from the direct feel of barefoot.

I  did some research, and decided to try a pair of 0.5mm Gull neoprene socks, which worked fine for me, being the next best thing to barefoot.

In case you have any interesting alternative suggestions, please let me know.


Action-wise, New Golden beach offered as usual daily spectacle. Konstantinos Kretsis was determined to do some new tricks, but not paying attention to the cracking complains of his aging board, ended up with a beyond repair damage. Kostas of the  Paros Windsurf Center assisted by Alexandros (who happened to visit us for a few days), did the rescue, while later Dora, dressed -up and on the way to Dimitris & Florentia’s wedding, posed for a shot.


George Iron Sav joined us for a week and spend some fun time sailing his twin-fin freeride board, neglecting the not so strong construction, which will lead us to the next topic, the one about boards modifications. (By right-clicking the slide show images, you may open them up to full size)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Boards Mods

Upon return to Athens, I noticed that in order to extend the life of George’s board, some protection had to be added to the nose, so I ordered a custom carbon protector to be made by Kostas @ Boards&Wheels.

The result is both practical and eye-pleasing.


With the opportunity of my visit to B&W custom shop, I decided to fix the outstanding single rear strap configuration I had asked Marco Copello on the Dragon board he shaped for me, but somehow missed.

So here it is changing from double, to single rear strap.

Finally, I think this summer, the full coverage outfit I put together last year – without having used it as a whole – will help me stay safe either on land or at sea.

Do your best to stay safe as well!