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Blog & archives hosted by Bruce Matlack:  “A Pioneer’s Perspective”

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Early History | DuPont Cover & Article

Watch the 5-minute video about the significance of the 1971 DuPont magazine cover and article in early Windsurfing history …

Video Transcript for Translation

“No waves needed.” Here’s the story about how I inadvertently helped bring the windsurfer to Europe. To those who don’t know me, you could say, in windsurfing geologic time, that I’m from the prehistory phase of the sport.

The Early Days

Let’s go back to 1970, when there were about 50 windsurfers in the entire United States. Here’s a video from 1972-73 in Alameda’s Bay, Long Beach. I was there at the beginning.

Recognition and Innovation

Let me explain how long ago that was. When all the glamour guys and gals were just discovering our sport in 1981, I was being awarded the sport’s first North American Masters Trophy at the Winter for Class North American Championships in Grand Haven, Michigan. I was already out to pasture, having been the sport’s first champion nearly ten years earlier.

The DuPont Cover Impact

I had always heard the lore of how that DuPont cover was the spark that started the explosion in Europe, but I was never sure. In the process of reviewing old magazines, Carla came across a 1982 article. Modern technology allowed us to translate into English, and sure enough, the article authenticates the lore of the DuPont cover. I was already in possession of an article from Windsurfing International Magazine, 1975.

The Story Confirmed

Written by English-speaking Swiss Alex Mauthner, also telling the story about the DuPont cover bringing windsurfing to Europe. So now, it was corroborated. Hoyle Schweitzer wanted me to do a photo shoot at the Malibu Pier the day before my Santa Barbara wedding. The date was March 20th, 1970. A photographer was atop the pier, shooting Hoyle Schweitzer and me down below. I was on Baja rig number 25, and he was on number 10.

Surprising Recognition

Seventeen months later, much to my surprise, I was on the cover of DuPont’s industrial magazine that had worldwide distribution. In my opinion, Martin Spanjer’s great “aha” moment upon laying eyes on the DuPont cover for the first time was the total concept of a guy on a surfboard, at speed, on flat water, captioned with, ‘No waves needed.’

Personal Memorabilia

I gave a copy of this DuPont magazine to some close friends. They, in turn, gave me a gift of two giant posters of this magazine cover of me, where the original words said, ‘windsurfing, no waves needed.’ They changed it to, ‘Bruce Matlack, national champion.’ In big bold letters at the top left was printed, ‘windsurfing nationals.’ They gave me two of these poster boards. One of which I gave to Hoyle, and the other I kept and still have.

The First Nationals

And then, sure enough, the first nationals became reality, several months later, in Mission Bay, California. I went on to win this first 1972 windsurfing national championship, as well as do a repeat the next year, in 1973, when the U.S. nationals were combined with the first world championships.

Conclusion

So, this concludes my story of windsurfing’s prehistory involving the famous DuPont magazine issue of August 1971, with my image and sail number 25 on the cover. Stay tuned for more stories of the history of windsurfing from the very early prehistory.

GREETINGS!

Bruce Matlack here—welcoming you to a journey through windsurfing’s beginnings. Imagine Santa Barbara, CA in 1969: at age 25, I discovered the new sport of windsurfing and quickly became one of the first 25 “pioneers” to evolve the sport. My ascent in competitive racing was meteoric, peaking as the premier racer in the nascent Windsurfer regatta circuit during its ‘pre-history’ days, when aeronautics engineer / inventor Jim Drake, & developers Hoyle and Diane Schweitzer were shaping windsurfing’s future.

A significant moment captured on March 20th, 1970, at Malibu, California Pier — the date etched in my memory as the eve of my wedding — became a cornerstone for windsurfing’s boom in Europe. Featured in DuPont’s trade magazine, this image fanned the winds of a burgeoning craze.

Now, on the cusp of 80, with many contemporaries having sailed on, I stand as a guardian of our collective memory. With the transient nature of platforms like Facebook, I felt compelled to anchor our legacy. Thus, OldSchoolWindsurfing.com was born — a beacon for the tales and triumphs of our sport’s earliest ripples.

The chronicles shared here are woven from a “Pioneer’s Perspective”, reflecting on the 1970s and 1980s’ pivotal events. Rest assured, the images and materials used are within fair use, aiming for scholarly discourse and homage. Every effort has been made to honor the creators, duly noting original publications, authors, and photographers.

I invite you to sail back in time with me to the origins of windsurfing — a sport that’s as much about the spirit as it is about the wind and waves.

-Bruce Matlack, 1/1/2024

 

This 1971 Dupont cover image was the "spark" that ignited the windsurfing craze in Europe!

Read the 2 articles below in the original German & Dutch:

Source materials:  1- 1982 German SURF magazine;  2- 1980 Dutch SURF magazine

Original German & Dutch versions below, use arrows to scroll through the pages...

English translation from original German & Dutch versions below...

The earliest newsletter in the US:  “Windsurfing News” from 1970s …

 

Read the newsletter above to learn about the first Windsurfing International (WI) USA Cross Country road trip (see VW photo below…)

Read Diane Schweitzer’s words above as she describes the first 25 Windsurfing “pioneers”…







Photos: Old & New

Bruce Matlack in 1978 with fellow windsurfing enthusiasts Suzie Swatek, Doug Halsey, Thane Roberts.

Bruce Matlack in 1978 with fellow windsurfing enthusiasts Suzie Swatek, Doug Halsey, Thane Roberts.

Bruce in KONA Regatta in Sarasota, FL

Bruce Matlack and Paul Hengstebeck standing together in Laguna Beach, 2021, holding a vintage windsurfing board and a skeleton model, celebrating the legacy of windsurfing.

Bruce Matlack and Paul Hengstebeck standing together in Laguna Beach, 2021, holding a vintage windsurfing board and a skeleton model, celebrating the legacy of windsurfing.

Circa late 1970s at Huntington Lake: A remarkable gathering of windsurfing pioneers including the Matlacks, Schweitzers, Halsey, and others, epitomizing the early spirit and community of the sport.

Circa late 1970s at Huntington Lake: A remarkable gathering of windsurfing pioneers including the Matlacks, Schweitzers, Halsey, and others, epitomizing the early spirit and community of the sport.

Bruce Matlack smiles as he holds a daggerboard signed by windsurfing luminaries of the 1980s, commemorating the community and competitive spirit that propelled the sport forward.

Bruce Matlack smiles as he holds a daggerboard signed by windsurfing luminaries of the 1980s, commemorating the community and competitive spirit that propelled the sport forward.

Bruce Matlack, alongside Markie, rejoicing as the first USA National Windsurfing Champion at Mission Bay, 1972, with Rick and Polly Pratt witnessing the historic moment.

Bruce Matlack, alongside Markie, rejoicing as the first USA National Windsurfing Champion at Mission Bay, 1972, with Rick and Polly Pratt witnessing the historic moment.

Early 1980s photo series of Bruce Matlack's Windsurfing van; loaded down for a trip another Baja adventure in Loreto.

Early 1980s photo series of Bruce Matlack's Windsurfing van; loaded down for a trip another Baja adventure in Loreto.

Early 1980s Aerial Photo of Bruce Matlack's Windsurfing Shop in Newport Beach, CA

Early 1980s Aerial Photo of Bruce Matlack's Windsurfing Shop in Newport Beach, CA

Early 1980s photo of Bruce Matlack, crouched down in a red shirt, alongside his Matlack Windsurfing van and a group of enthusiastic tourists.

Early 1980s photo of Bruce Matlack, crouched down in a red shirt, alongside his Matlack Windsurfing van and a group of enthusiastic tourists.

Historic photo of Bruce Matlack with his wife Markie, celebrating his victory at the 1973 Windsurfing Nationals / Worlds,

Historic photo of Bruce Matlack with his wife Markie, celebrating his victory at the 1973 Windsurfing Nationals / Worlds,

1971: Windsurfing's Early Days at Seal Beach's Ray Bay in Sunset Magazine

1971: Windsurfing's Early Days at Seal Beach's Ray Bay in Sunset Magazine

2021: Bruce Matlack with John Speer, exploring the Polynesian influences in windsurfing, highlighted by Speer's Hawaiian outrigger boat model.

2021: Bruce Matlack with John Speer, exploring the Polynesian influences in windsurfing, highlighted by Speer's Hawaiian outrigger boat model.

1980 Newspaper Clipping: Bruce Matlack and Hugh England gear up for the Pan Am Cup, a testament to the teamwork and tenacity that defines the windsurfing community.

1980 Newspaper Clipping: Bruce Matlack and Hugh England gear up for the Pan Am Cup, a testament to the teamwork and tenacity that defines the windsurfing community.

In 2022, Bruce Matlack joins fellow windsurfing trailblazers Skip and Karen Harrison, reflecting on their historic journeys that helped popularize windsurfing and shape its future.

In 2022, Bruce Matlack joins fellow windsurfing trailblazers Skip and Karen Harrison, reflecting on their historic journeys that helped popularize windsurfing and shape its future.

From WINDSURFING INTERNATIONAL 1975: Bruce Matlack, 'The Professor,' a title bestowed for his precise contribution to the windsurfing class as its first official measurer and as a celebrated world champion.

From WINDSURFING INTERNATIONAL 1975: Bruce Matlack, 'The Professor,' a title bestowed for his precise contribution to the windsurfing class as its first official measurer and as a celebrated world champion.







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