Admittedly, I spend way too much time on FB and checking posts on Robert Master's Old School Windsurfers group. I enjoy some of the old school posts, scroll through the plastic fantastics being pulled out of the bin, and every once in awhile come across a doozy. The one this morning by an Italian whose read my book and should know better, posted a pic of Pete Cabrinha with the post title, GOAT. Now, I'm not Robby's PR guy or anything – heck, he never emails me back – and personally think the GOAT of wavesailing is Mark Angulo, but the GOAT of all-around windsurfing, the only household name in the blue pages, is Robby Naish. Sorry, Dunkerbeck. Sorry Antoine. A gazillion World Titles is not enough.
I can see the confusion, being one sail number off from 1111. But the colors? Pink, er, Fuscia? I don't see them. As it turns out, the joke is on me. FB translated a knowledgable fellow's post from Italian to Portuguese to English, and Pete's name was lost in translation. It turns out, Pete Cabrinha in Italian Portuguese, according to FB translator, is "Goat." Goat figure. I wonder what my name translates to in Italian Portuguese? No offers, Dan Wilson.
But what is more confusing than that post, is how far down the ranks Pete is on my Top Ten Wavesailors poll. Though always in Robby's shadow (weren't we all), Pete was a solid #2. I was fortunate to have witnessed his performances at Diamond Head, the raw ones with the Gumby surfer moves that nobody was doing. The twisted table tops that threw out a hip just watching. Working as a shaper at the time for Town & Country surf, I ran back to shop to grab Warren Bolster, who was packing boards at the time.
"Warren! You've got to pull yourself together! There's a guy at D Head going off. All the attention's on Robby, but I'm telling you, get some shots of this guy. You won't be packing boards anymore."
Of course, Warren had fallen so far off the wagon at that time it was only in half jest to think he might get his act together. But sure enough, he did, and the photos he grabbed of Pete were spectacular. I took those photos to Surfer Magazine and talked them into starting Sailboarder.
That's my photo at Hookipa, a couple of years later. Pete had tweaked himself a bit too much and gone under the knife with his knee. Remaining on Oahu didn't help his street cred. He was still good enough though... damn good... and didn't he win the wave world championship in 1985?
So yeah, most of the time my pollsters get it right (and I haven't had more fun since Dave & Buster's playing whack-a-mole for nominees based purely on popularity, not meeting the criteria). As for Pete... he's polling at number 11 right behind a guy I never heard of but hey, I'm an old schooler. It could be that his journey to the dark side threw a shadow on his popularity. Then again, some need to bone up on their history. Go and read my book if you want some. Pistol Pete, pre-Angulo, was straight up second to only one. Fortunately, it's my HOF, so I get one vote in, and hey, I just realized it is top 15. Either way, Pete is going in. If you want to vote for your goat, go to my FB Group, Windsurfing Hall of Fame. Hurry, do it, before I get whacked by the big Billy.
To celebrate my 50 years of windsurfing and having spent a great deal of time as a photographer/author documenting the sport, I decided to create my own Windsurfing Hall of Fame. Of course, this is Weston's Windsurfing Hall of Fame, and you can have your own. I've been accused of being USA and Maui Centric, but these were the places where the sport of windsurfing was born, where it became the Mecca, where everyone in the formative years had to show their face to be somebody well known. That is, after all, the definition of fame.
That said, I have a FB page, Windsurfing Hall of Fame, which I created to run polls on. I used these polls to cull a list of candidates to present to a more official Windsurfing Hall of Fame Voting Body. Here is a list of some of the current candidates.
(Weston’s) Windsurfing Hall of Fame
Top Ten Windsurfers (Original Windsurfer)
Criteria: Who made their mark on the Original Windsurfer
Top European Funboard Cup Sailors
Criteria: 1. Years 1983-2003.
Top Three Sailmakers
Barbara Ockel (top female sailmaker)
Top Three Board Shapers
Harold Ige (inductee vote-in)
Top Three Board Shapers who Ripped
Keith Teboul (inductee vote-in)
WSMA, WBA, PBA and PWA: The Professional Windsurfing World Tours | List of World ChampionsWave
1983: Robby Naish
1984: Robby Naish | Jil Boyer, Julie de Werd
1985: Pete Cabrinha | Shawne O'Neill
1986: Robby Naish | Dana Dawes, Natalie Siebel
1987: Robby Naish | Dana Dawes
1988: Robby Naish | Natalie Siebel
1989: Robby Naish | Angela Cocheran
1990: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Natalie Siebel
1991: Robby Naish | Angela Cocheran
1992: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Natalie Siebel
1993: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jessica Crisp
1994: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Natalie Siebel
1995: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1996: Patrice Belbeoch | Jutta Muller, Nathalie Le Lievre
1997: Jason Polakow | Nathalie Le Lievre
1998: Jason Polakow | Karin Jaggi
1999: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2000: Fracisco Goya | Daida Ruano Moreno
2001: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Daida Ruano Moreno
2002: Kevin Pritchard | Daida Ruano Moreno
2003: Josh Angulo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2004: Scott McKercher | Daida Ruano Moreno
2005: Kauli Seadi | Daida Ruano Moreno
2006: Kevin Pritchard | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2007: Kauli Seadi | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2008: Kauli Seadi | Daida Ruano Moreno
2009: Josh Angulo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2010: Víctor Fernández López | Daida Ruano Moreno
2011: Philip Koster | Daida Ruano Moreno
2012: Philip Koster | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2013: Marcillio Browne | Daida Ruano Moreno
2014: Thomas Traversa | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2015: Philip Koster | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2016: Víctor Fernández López | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2017: Philip Koster | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2018: Victor Fernandez | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2019: Philip Koster | Sarah-Quita Offringa
1983: Robby Naish
1984: Robby Naish | Julie de Werd
1985: Robby Naish | Nathalie Le Lievre
1986: Robby Naish | Dana Dawes
1987: Anders Bringdal | Anick Graveline
1988: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1989: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1990: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1991: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1992: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1993: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jutta Muller
1994: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jutta Muller
1995: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1996: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1997: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1998: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Karin Jaggi
1999: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Karin Jaggi
2000: Kevin Pritchard | Lucienne Ernst
2002: Steve Allen | Dorota Staszewska
2003: Micah Buzianis | Dorota Staszewska
2004: Antoine Albeau | Allison Shreeve
2005: Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Micah Buzianis | Karin Jaggi
2006: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2007: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2008: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2009: Antoine Albeau | Valérie Arrighetti Ghibaudo
2010: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2011: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2012: Antoine Albeau | Valérie Arrighetti Ghibaudo
2013: Antoine Albeau | Delphine Cousin
2014: Antoine Albeau | Delphine Cousin
2015: Antoine Albeau | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2016: Matteo Iachino | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2017: Antoine Albeau | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2018: Antoine Albeau | Delphine Cousin Questel
2019: Pierre Mortefon | Delphine Cousin Questel
1998: Bjorn Dunkerbeck
1999: Josh Stone | Karin Jaggi
2000: Josh Stone | Toni Frey, Karin Jaggi
2001: Antoine Albeau | Colette Gudagnino
2002: Matt Pritchard | Karin Jaggi
2003: Ricardo Campello | Daida Ruano Moreno
2004: Ricardo Campello | Daida Ruano Moreno
2005: Ricardo Campello | Daida Ruano Moreno
2006: Gollito Estredo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2007: Marcillio Browne |
2008: Gollito Estredo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2009: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2010: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2011: Steven van Broeckhoven | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2012: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2013: Kiri Thode | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2014: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2015: Dieter van der Eyken | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2016: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2017: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2018: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2019: Yentel Caers | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2018: Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
2019: Nicolas Goyard | Delphine Cousin Questel
1983: Robby Naish
1984: Robby Naish | Nathalie Le Lievre
1985: Tim Aagesen | Nathalie Le Lievre
1986: Stephan van den Berg | Anick Graveline
1987: Stephan van den Berg | Britt Dunkerbeck
1988: Anders Bringdal | Nathalie Le Lievre
1989: Phil McGain | Nathalie Le Lievre
1990: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1991: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jutta Muller
1992: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1993: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1994: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Alessandra Sensini
Los Angeles 1984 (Windglider)
Gold: Stephan van den Berg (NED)
Silver: Scott Steele (USA)
Bronze: Bruce Kendall (NZL)
Seoul 1988 (Lechner Division II)
Gold: Bruce Kendall (NZL)
Silver: Jan Boersma (AHO)
Bronze: Mike Gebhardt (USA)
Barcelona 1992 (Lechner)
Gold: Franck David (FRA)
Silver: Mike Gebhardt (USA)
Bronze: Lars Kleppich (AUS)
Gold: Barbara Kendall (NZL)
Silver: Zhang Xiaodong (CHN)
Bronze: Dorien de Vries (NED)
Atlanta 1996 (Mistral One Design)
Gold: Nikolaos Kaklamanakis (GRE)
Silver: Carlos Espinola (ARG)
Bronze: Gal Fridman (ISR)
Gold: Lee Lai Shan (HKG)
Silver: Barbara Kendall (NZL)
Bronze: Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
Sydney 2000 (Mistral One Design)
Gold: Christoph Sieber (AUT)
Silver: Carlos Espinola (ARG)
Bronze: Aaron McIntosh (NZL)
Gold: Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
Silver: Amelie Lux (GER)
Bronze: Barbara Kendall (NZL)
Athens 2004 (Mistral One Design)
Gold: Gal Fridman (ISR)
Silver: Nikolaos Kaklamanakis (GRE)
Bronze: Nick Dempsey (GBR)
Gold: Faustine Merret (FRA)
Silver: Yin Jian (CHN)
Bronze: Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
Beijing 2008 (RS:X)
Gold: Tom Ashley (NZL)
Silver: Julien Bontemps (FRA)
Bronze: Shahar Tzuberi (ISR)
Gold: Yin Jian (CHN)
Silver: Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
Bronze: Bryony Shaw (GBR)
London 2012 (RS:X)
Gold: Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED)
Silver: Nick Dempsey (GBR)
Bronze: Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL)
Gold: Marina Alabau (ESP)
Silver: Tuuli Petäjä (FIN)
Bronze: Zofia Klepacka (POL)
Rio 2016 (RS:X)
Gold: Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED)
Silver: Nick Dempsey (GBR)
Bronze: Pierre Le Coq (FRA)
Gold: Charline Picon (FRA)
Silver: Chen Peina (CHN)
Bronze: Stefania Elfutina (RUS)
I once made a movie about what it was like to come to Maui for the first time back in the day and experience the hardships of carving your path. Step one is finding a place to live. That movie, Double or Nothing, was only a bit exaggerated, but for the earlier arrivals, Oahu was an even more difficult nut to crack.
The only people I knew on the crowded isle was my best friend, Diane, but she left the day after I arrived back to the mainland. She did introduce me to her cousin, John from Tennessee the captain of a nuclear sub at Barber's Point. My first place to stay was in Waipahu, the armpit of Oahu near Pearl Harbor, in a concrete block apartment building that resembled the Detroit Projects.
Those first few nights were an adventure, and I'm not just talking about the cockroaches, rats and centipedes. While John had earned his respect in the hood as the only Haole, I had not. Fresh meat off the boat. He told me to not dare walk on the streets at night, as the bruddahs liked to drink Budweiser, then beef, then hug, then drink Budweiser, then beef... and so on. I would not make it through the first phase.
So, I was outta there, and off to Waialua. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, Master Baggins would say, with nothing in my pocketses. I found a duplex to rent, and without taking one look around this neighborhood, quickly turned my living room into a shaping room. To say my landlord was not pleased is an understatement, so she made me take it all down. Fortunately, I took the first two boards I made to Pearl City. The first normal one got me a job as designer at Town & Country, the second bat mobile was a wtf moment, but I kept the job anyway, which paid by the board sold. So in essence, I was broke ass mofo.
Avalanche was right in my backyard, and well, the self-destruction that followed you can read in my book. If you really really want to. But meaner than Avalanche, which I had dreamed of riding since seeing those incredible Steve Wilkings' photos of Thor and Stan, were the neighborhood locals. Needless to say, I had my trials and tribulations, both off and onshore.
I was soon gone to Kailua on Monday, where I got a good deal on a house. The dead giveaway should have been the flea bomb that was left in one of the rooms by mistake. Within the week, the eggs had all hatched and they were jumping all over the place like Matt Schweitzer on coffee. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, so if you think you had a rough beginning, there's a lot more to my story. It's in the book. You can buy the book here.
Okay, that's not me. That Demitri Pourlos, photo by Chuck Anderson. Now let me tell you why it was a great day. No, the surf for me was not 8x mast high, the wind hurricane strength. I didn't pull off a Kai Lenny otl at Jaws nor win the lottery, but in a way I did. Now, I’m no good when it comes to math, but I can do the basics. For instance, until today, it had been 8 months since I was last able to windsurf, due to 3 broken bones in my arm, one cracked vertebrae and one helluva stoke while driving a moving truck 4325 miles straight from Bend, Oregon to Sacramento to Charlotte. Well, I only made it as far as some hospital in Tennessee. It seems every doctor in them that hills be sending me bills. But like I said, today, the 10th of March, since I did not dare try on the ides, there was one windsurfing out on Lake Norman. Me.
They say 1 is the loneliest number but it was okay. Birds kept me company and there was 1 other sailboat, 3 fishing boats, and 1 jackass trying to show off for his girl on a cigarette butt at 40 nauts. Autocorrect, cigarette boat, in the No Wake zone. But that’s Lake Norman I heard. “Just wait till Summer.” Jackass x 2000. So I enjoyed the hell out of having the lake to myself. BTW, that’s not me jumping. Not even my photo. I ripped it off of the Charlotte Windsurfers FB page. Where are these guys? On the down-side, there was a fire somewhere so it was smoky. Was I back in Sacramento? I was missing my Lake Washington crew. And, alas, there were 200 gnats flying around my car. It’s not even officially Spring.
Speaking of sweet rides, I just love my Windsurfer LT. Yeah yeah, foil foil, but in my condition… and wait, wasn’t I sold on the LT before number 2 hit the fan? I guess that explains the flies. BTW, I rigged my stock 5.7 sail. I had to. I was testing the waters. But I would have been hauling on my Simmer 2XC. As it was, after heading up the lake a few miles, I had about a 20 minute downwind surf, double mast high. But so much for product placement. Somebody has to pay for my blog. What? No audience? At least 3 people read this! Make that 2 since Mom passed away 4 months ago, 2 days before my stroke. She was 92. My dad also lived to 92. He bought me my first windsurfer 50 years ago, in 1971. Maybe it was 72. Like I said, I’m not very good a math. But I've only been here a few months and I've been discovered by a cave man. Now, here is what you two have been reading for, the video of Mac Barnhardt and someone foiling Lake Norman.
Want more blog? Keep videos free? Go to Buy The Book for a signed copy of Maui Glory Days.
The following is Google Translate's best stab at translating the article from German.
Jonathan Weston was one of the first water photographers to break into the
Hookipa, made legendary surf films, plunged into the sea with a helicopter and had deep insights into the vibrant scene in Hawaii. An interview about golden times and what's left of it.
Every windsurfer who lived the sport in the 80s and 90s knows his pictures and films. His job was to show the world through pictures how great is windsurfing. So this interview comes at least 30 years late. But better late than never, right? Jonathan, before we got gold Times and relaxed Maui lifestyle speak, first of all the question: how are you and where are you sitting the corona Lockdown straight out?
Thank you, it's going quite well so far. The Zombies still have here in California not attacked. Of course, too, everyone concerned here and the cuts into personal life are drastic.
But here in our pool (lake)Sacramento is still windsurfing - as long as they still let us (it’s a private windsurfing club so we get away with our social distancing).
The windsurfing hype of the 80s has you washed from California to Hawaii,
where you were one of the first water photographers and became a filmmaker and from there apparently also back to one Lake in Sacramento. A long story so where do you start?
Best at the front. I had in the 70s studying photography
School in Santa Barbara / California (Brooks Institute of Photography) started but when I was on some races raced quite successfully and always windsurfing took up more of my life I gave up my studies. Like everyone back then, I also dreamed of Hawaii.In 1980 I packed my home-made custom windsurfer, one of the first ever made with Gary Efferding from a block of foam dock and took it to Oahu. The beginnings there were wild. Ibought a car for $200 - no,
it was more of a traveling wreck - that took me to the beach and me at the beginning partly as a place to sleep served. You quickly learned people, then lived in their garden and slept on the terrace. No money in my pocket. If some small change in the car under the seat
found it was a great pleasure. Everything what mattered was windsurfing every day
to go, nothing else. Sometime I needed some raw materials to shape a new board for me
and ended up at Town & Country Surfboards factory in Pearl City / Oahu.
At that time there were also manufacturers of surfboards an increasing
Demand for windsurf boards, because Windsurfing was the fastest
growing sport in the world. The owner the workshop, Craig Sugihara, said:
"Bring your board over when it's done. If it looks good, we have to
talk. ”A short time later I had one Job as a shaper.
In the early 80s, they were all Windsurfing pioneers first on Oahu
At that time the material development was
not very far yet advanced. Was moderate wind an advantage, so Oahu was ideal.
And it was the time when Robby Naish, who grew up on Oahu, who
Scene dominated, that had a certain Suction effect. Maui, however, was
unknown: and also completely at that time underdeveloped, the island was totally economically suspended - nobody wanted to do it voluntarily there. One day I was standing with mine Boss Craig in the workshop and showed him my latest board creation, a
very short board (for a time when waterstarts were rare) with a wide tail and bat wings. 'Looks like the car from Batman’s, my boss said. A guy from Maui came along and
if you continue building such boards I might give him your job. ’
The "guy" was Malte Simmer (later Founder of the Simmer sailing brand
Style, the Red.) And built even wilder Stuff than me - Batman's car on steroids
so to say.
Did he get your job?
Fortunately not. But he showed me the first time pictures of Maui. That was
like brainwashing me. There surfed a few guys in high waves and jumped high into the air.
But until I jump from Oahu made it to Maui, should it still be one take a bit. (Whatinhellen?)
Robby Naish was already the hero in 1981 of the sport. Do you remember how
did you meet him for the first time?
I still remember it well. (I’m sure he doesn’t!) He was already a superstar at the time.
When he's at Diamond Head (best known Wavespot on Oahu, the Red.) (Not sure what Red means) went on the water, he usually started the garden of his girlfriend, whose
Parents had a house there. Rarely he mingled with us on the beach
Mortal. He always had an entourage around him, they rigged his
Stuff on. When everything was ready, surfed, he got out, flew through the air, took a break
a shaft and ripped it into pieces. I wondered for a long time if he
can start water at all because he never crashed. The windsurfing world existed
then from Robby Naish, then came long nothing and then sometime (not sure what the interpretation was here because there was no time of nothingness. Things were moving fast).
People like Mickey Eskimo or Pete Cabrinha (later founder of the kitr brand
Cabrinha, the Red.) (I thought he was brunetteish until later when he became blonde). Who on Oahu Robby's shadow to world-class surfers
How did you get the hang of the life artist and shapers for photography
to get? (How did I get from shaper to photographer?)
I developed a kind at the time Hate love to a guy who is packed the boards in the factory,
his name was Warren Bolster. He was a pretty crashed wave rider and Skater who hardly liked windsurfing with his provocative questions towards my shape creations
but gave food for thought. It took some time to buckle up who actually is in our warehouse
did the dirty work: I got an old skateboarder magazine in the Fingers, and spotted on many of the Images copyright "Bolster". It posed out that Warren is a photography Was legend because he had as a photographer and editor of the magazine the dead Sport skating back into consciousness brought to the youth by becoming the legendary
Surf skate gear Dogtown and Z-Boys had portrayed. Since then
Skating through the ceiling. Unfortunately he was pretty crashed (alcoholic). Sometime took
I take him to the Diamond Head and he rushed with a water camera
in the break. My boss had to pretty quickly after a new warehouse worker
look around. And with me too that awakened the love of photography
New. Until it happened, however, only went sometimes a little off ...
In what way?
I had my job in the shape Workshop already quit because of me
a job with Sailboarder (I had pitched them the idea and was hired as editor then fired before it began because some guys said I was a fraud and didn’t know how to windsurf. ok), one
of the big windsurf magazines of the back then was. That sounded like a safe one Business, but it went wrong. I stood on the street, leafed through the yellow Pages and finally applied to me
UP Sports built hangliders back then and sail and wanted too offer your own windsurf boards. The condition at the time was: I get the job as a shaper when I do it at renowned hang ten event at Cabrillo. I had to break into the top 10. Fortunately, that has
worked. And I convinced mine Boss that I had to go to Maui to be closer to the scene.
Maui is still considered “the place to be ”in windsurfing, but is also a
Place where fought with hard bandages becomes.
How was it in those days?
I came with Pete Cabrinha in 1981 there. It was tough even then School, in many ways. At my first day I ended up surfing session in Hookipa right on the rocks and destroyed
my equipment. The spot was made by Wave surfers dominated and up to the point
Defended blood. Five or more surfers at the break meant you stayed as
Windsurfers do better on the beach (not true back then, we got along pretty good. It was Diamond Head I was referring to in the interview… whatever). And it
gave windsurfers there like Mike Waltze,who didn't like the spot
becoming increasingly popular. But it could not be suppressed.
How was it supposed in the times Milk and honey flowed and everyone
could get good sponsors?
During the early days – we are still talking about the early ones here
80s - it was by no means easy. There was Robby Naish, he was the king.
And then the rest came. I personally couldn't complain, I had with
Back then, UP Sports was a good sponsor. In 1982 I asked my boss about money
to pay a hospital bill to be able to. I was over in Hookipa been driven to the pile and with
her head on the bow of a surfer
popped (interpretation… a girl bailed on a wave driving her board’s nose into my skull). My boss thought about it briefly and told me he was doing me a favor now
would do: throw me out! He obviously thought I did
would have been too easy so far and would have to bite through to discover my talents. So has
he set me tough outside the door, although we're a really good one
had a friendly relationship. Back then I was horrified, looking back
of course he was right. This experience finally got me to take pictures
and brought movies.
Back then, film and photography was one
completely different approach than today ...
Absolutely. I ordered a water case. The first day I put it in
Camera in, swam in Hookipa the line-up, looked through the viewfinder
and saw my housing up was full (laughs). I had to work part-time for a long time
punch through until I get a new one Could afford housing, oh man. The
first roll of film that I developed but it was already in itself. There were
Photos by Mike Waltze, Fred Haywood and Matt Schweitzer, who you like
You are talking about some of the here greatest personalities of the sport.
Was it your buddies back then? Or you just had to have the boys
take pictures if you have the best Wanted pictures?
The hard core of Maui surfers was back then still small, of course I knew
everyone everyone. Some were friends, others rather not. Mike Waltze was the one
Top dog and even quite angry on me because of an article I times published in a magazine
would have. It was about the fighting between windsurfers and surfers
on Oahu. I ended the article with the words: "Move to Maui, I did!"
According to Waltze, that had triggered a run on Maui.
Revenge followed in your first photo session in the water?
When I was in the line-up for the first time, Waltze came racing towards me. I was
sure that he will head me straight would leave (take my head off). Ironically, it is the picture that was created landed on the cover of my book.
What was so about your pictures at that time groundbreaking different?
I was the first photographer to look with the camera directly in the Impact
Zone of Hookipa moved. A scarce Erik Aeder came a year later
to that, but at the beginning I had this Spot for me alone, that was fantastic.
I wanted to show the world how great windsurfing is only possible
about photos and clips. The real one Breakthrough came with the first
We're probably not talking about here GoPro format ?!
No not true. The thing was like that heavy, I can hardly believe that
I didn't break my neck have (laughs). The first attempts we did in secret back then
and are for the trial shots to Outer Sprecks (spot, a few kilometers
southwest of Hookipa, the Red.) drove where there was no one back then (my test talent, Miles Valle, Malte Simmer). There were 15 seconds of videotape recorded, but that
cameras at that time couldn’t handle the shocks of the landings
and it was just picture noise to see. So it was clear that I was going to have to shoot film. But film cannisters ran only for 30 to 45 seconds of usable material. Most of the time went for swapping cartridges, assemble everything, lick the lenses clean,
around the annoying drops of water
to bead off. But even this short snippets of film were enough to
recognize what would be possible and doors
open at sponsors. Terrifying is that a lot of people at times
modern action cams still don't understand how to take good pictures
What is your specific tip?
Good recordings are not made when you film yourself, but
each other. Instead of an action cam to strap to the top, it is better them
to put on a helmet and yourself to pursue and film each other.
That was also the recipe for success back then of my first film "Impact Zone".
You also had a lot with Mickey back thenEskimo worked because of his Staging was always controversial. How did you find working with him? Mickey was just amazing creative. His graphics adorned the Boards of different brands and he did everything to get a good shot to get. Whether he stood (landed) the move he didn't care or not, the main thing the photo became good. That brought him a lot of headwind in the scene, but ultimately he was creative with his Kind of extremely successful. Although he only won few heats, he had over 200 cover shots for windsurfing Magazines worldwide and sponsors like windsurfing Chiemsee. It was that Time when windsurfing became sexy and one at boot Düsseldorf Could fill halls with windsurf stuff. Mickey also threaded (helped me find sponsors for) years later a film project called Chiemsee "Double or Nothing" with Jason Prior and Francisco Goya. This movie had a script for the first time and should Drama and comedic elements - if you have the idiosyncratic sense shared for humor - combine and of course offer tangible action – for the case that the thing about acting and not so good at humor arrived. Everything went great - unfortunately I fell shortly before the shooting ended the helicopter.
The image of the crashed helicopter in the Spreckelsville's line-up went around the World. What happened back then? I had filmed from the helicopter several times and knew it wasn't 100 Percent is safe. Therefore worked I like to be with a famous pilot together. He had messed up a lot in life and instead of going to prison he had to go as a service to the community Make reconnaissance flights, to dig illegal marijuana plantations. So he could do well in rough Flying off-road. On this day however, another pilot had to step in, that I didn't know. But it everything was arranged, so I didn't have any Choice. I hung on the side of the helicopter out with the camera in hand and filmed. The new was not lacking courage, but control. Once he almost cut off Robby Seeger's head. It was adventurous. I said: Let's break up! We flew via Sprecks towards the landing site and waited for the permission of the Towers, I discovered Jason Prior surf there. Jason actually should have been Long ago in Hookipa on the water supposed to be, he was one after all of my main protagonists - but how he was usually late and a little bit unplanned. I took the opportunity a few last shots of him too when I make a very strong gust saw coming closer. The gust pulled the Heli up, turned him over and it swung towards the side towards Water surface. I was still trying jumping out but forgot that I was was strapped on. When the rotors did that Water hit, it was the loudest Sound I have ever heard. Everything was silent for three seconds Pilot and I took a quick look at each other and a few moments later we were under water. The helicopter was on the Reef. I could see the surface above me see, but got one of the two seat belts are not on. I was under water for a long time, I guess like two minutes. Fortunately I had back then a horse lung. When I was liberated, I managed to show up briefly, but the camera with that heavy battery pack pulled me down again. Let go of the camera somehow didn't come in at that time the sense. I solved it under water released batteries (I later swam out and found them) and finally couldPop up. That I do that with easy Survived injuries was a great luck. Still was on timely completion of the film unthinkable at the time. (It was released four months late, Double or Nothing… better late than never).
You filmed all the icons of the scene Who is left in your head?
Mark Angulo and Jason Polakow. (mostly Craig Maisonville) They were just unique in their time regarding their creativity on the Water. Everything looked easier with them as if they were floating. Robby Naish was equally impressive but he was always better at Wind from the left. Mark Angulo was probably the one with the most talent. For the Angulo brothers Mark and Josh the rest did not only have good sides ... Mark could have won anything but unfortunately the creative are not always the most professional (not my words. Mark was Mark and less concerned about the professional side of the sport than pushing the limits). Jason Polakow was different there, he was more professional and is never lopsided Got caught. His problem was that constant injuries. I think there is hardly a bone in that not a screw is stuck. Would be less injured, he would have Dominate windsurfing even more can. On the other hand, it would be his kind easy to surf without injuries was not possible.
What were you then - creative or professional? I share fate to some extent of the creative. I loved taking pictures but actually I always wanted to rather be on the water windsurfing myself, underneath then of course the work and it suffers came other photographers like Erik Aeder or Darrell Wong, the big deals landed with big brands.
Why did you get the island from which you you dreamed for so long, in the end
turned his back again?
At some point there were other things more important. For example, school for
my daughter. I was concerned about this not being a good place for her. I left there in 2000 (for a NASA gig in Sausalito and then to Carmel). With it I have this chapter in my book ended for me.
Do you get a lot of feedback from the Legends of the scene, presumably who’ve
Little. Most protagonists don't want to read it, they don't want to
look back. But I get a lot Praise from people who are normal windsurfers
are and who like to look back and soak up the stories. It shows the life that many people
would have liked back then But unfortunately for most people Hawaii stayed
GoPro is children's birthday!
Helmet camera from
Side) weighed several
Kilo, the VHS recorder
he had on
with your back.
Maui in the 80s
was exciting (above
Right side: Maui
was the beginning of
Uncharted territory. You lived
in the garden or on
Secret Spot Camp
One and conquered the
with some strange ones
left), lives today
Jonathan back in
(top left) experimented
the first with asymmetrical
this pretty good grip
on the edge.
Below: Malte Simmer
on camera, Jonathan
On the staged
Cover photos, the Jonathan
once with Mickey
The aerial view
by Eskimo deep in the
Was white water
however over everyone
Doubt - she
"Sports Photo of the
Top left: Mark
but in the typical
on the World Tour.
Top right: Jonathan
Bottom left: Robby
Naish at work.
What looks like
the control center
NASA was a
normal editing room
in the 80s. today
would be a small one
A laptop is sufficient
259 pages full
and photos about
has the good old days
Jonathan Weston in
his book “Glory
Days - Return to
the impact zone "
You can find that on Amazon
work worth reading
almost 14 euros.
Above: The new guard
to Jason Prior and
Waveriding in the
90s. Jonathan was
always up close with the
Camera included (above
Below: That Jonathan
from the damaged
Helicopter with only
came out, borders
King Robby - usually started from
His girlfriend's beach house out in the break,
sometimes he mingled with us mortals.
The most creative
Unfortunately, surfers were
not always that
most professional -
Mark Angulo was
the best for that
Mickey Eskimo had a lot of envy. He rarely has
won a heat but got more cover
Shots than everyone else. He was brimming with creativity.
Mike Waltze: “You’re in my spot.”
Me: “What?” I looked around the bluff at Ho’okipa, where you could once park anywhere. There were open spots everywhere. I wouldn’t even call them spots.
“My parking spot.”
Not exactly how I wrote it in my book, but I’m too lazy to look up the excerpt. I hadn’t spoken to Mike since the making of Wind Legends some 12 years ago. He called asking for some footage for his movie, “An Excellent Life.” I said sure, and by the way, is it okay if I portray you as a bad ass, because, you know, you were.
Mike and I had actually played demolition derby with our Maui Cruisers, fully ramming each other head on in the parking lot. Then we’d go out and make some killer photos together. It was a weird chemistry.
So when I described a scene I had written about him in the first draft, where Pete Cabrinha and I were standing on the bluff and he pulled up…
“You’re in my spot,” Mike blurted out.
“That’s it! That’s great!” I said. “Can I use it?”
“Sure. Can I use your footage?”
“Sure. Can I put you on the cover of the book?”
When I talked to Jesus Cort Superstar (see blog post below), who I’d also not spoken to in ages… Cort began the conversation with those very words… “You’re in my spot.” He thought that line was great, but I immediately attributed it to the genius of Waltze.
Cort and Mike are best friends. They go everywhere together. They even went skiing to Georgia or Poland or both – probably the only open resorts. Hmmm, I wonder if they’ll ever make it back? Anyway, my point is, they are good friends, and I reminded Mike that we were not. He wanted my film for free. It was a safe time to point that out.
Cort coined Waltze with one of his Yogi Larned sayings about the size of fight in the dog. I was certainly the bigger size of the dog in that fight, but it was never really a fight, and I was more laying on your back for a belly scratch Golden Retriever than lock jaw Pit. I always had great respect for Mike. He was, after all, the King of Ho’okipa. Yet, even though we were next door neighbors and had mutual friends like Gary Eversole, Fred Haywood and Scotty O’Connor, we still kept our distance.
The first time Mike and I rubbed raw elbows was through journalism. I’d written an article in Sailboarder called “The Diamond Head Dilemma.” There was even more friction going on down there between the windsurfers and surfers than Mike and I. Richard Whyte had just gotten in a fight. Surfers were yelling at us as we zoomed by. I came up with a bunch of novel ways to defend oneself. Razor blades on the end of your boom, passive aggressive stuff like that. I ended the list with, “Move to Maui. I did.”
When I opened up the next issue of Sailboarder, there was a shocking letter to the editor from Mike. It basically stated that I was running from something. Then he blamed everyone coming to Maui on me. I reminded Mike about it, and the fact that the first photos published of Maui were of Matt and Ye. He said he couldn’t remember writing the letter and with all the Maui Wowee in the air, why not believe him? Regardless, I would actually like to have taken some of the blame from my photographs, but not the article. And if I was running from something, at least for once I ran in the right direction.
If I had a beach bungalow on Maui, Mike and I would be good friends today. We’d be kicking back, clinking glass and talking story about the glory days. I’m certain of that.
I was surprised when I received a text from Cort to give him a call. Though we have tread the same waters for years, as life takes its tacks and jibes we’ve not crossed tracks in decades. Though I’d always admired him, It would be a stretch to call us close friends. I figured he might have some briny bone to pick about the book.
I biked up to Lake Folsom, took a break and gave him a call. I won’t share the depths of the conversation to protect the innocent nor even the wicked, but suffice to say it was a wild look back. To my surprise, Cort told me that he loved the book, had read it in one sitting from start to finish. But then it came…”You know, I was more than a pretty face. I won two world championships.”
I honestly didn’t remember that. I thought Robby won them all. I know he was on fire in the early eighties and a true pioneer of Hawaiian wave jumping, as witnessed in this great photo by Steve Wilkings. Yet, all accolades aside, I’m still going with pretty face – just as I’d give his cohort Mark Robinson the speedobod award – banana hammock notwithstanding. My book didn’t delve into who won this or that championship, and certainly not those that happened pre-Maui.
Cort was a shining star for sure, and good lord, did I not refer to him in print as Jesus Cort Superstar? There’s nothing wrong with having a pretty face. I wish I had such a pretty of a face, though I’m not sure I’d have been able to handle the troubles that came with the package. Cort is certainly a legend but was not featured in my movie, Wind Legends, and though he had a cameo in the book, not highlighted enough for all he was worth. And he was worth a lot. He made more money than most of us “sponsored” sailors put together. He might have been second on the money list next to Robby. The fact is, there are so many legends in on our sport it could fill volumes.
Cort had browsed onto my FB groveling about all the big stars being mum about the book, then advised that most of them don’t really want to look back. Come on, man. Even Alex? Certainly, it could be difficult when you were once riding high and then along comes the next. Bruce, Matt, Mike, Ken, Robby, Bjorn, Antoine…any reminder of that peg knock might sting. But I would think most of them are mature enough to swallow that pill and relish their post windsurfing fame successes.
Referring to my films, Pete Cabrinha once told me that “If you’ve pleased 50% of your audience – and yourself – you’ve succeeded.”
Looking at my book from a sales perspective, I didn’t feel like I’d succeeded. Impact Zone, my first book, was far more successlful. Glory Days has been slogging along akin to when you get caught on the outside at sunset with big waves and the wind shuts off. Alas, nobody who writes a book with the intention of it being a best seller sells more than ten and since one of my daughters read it, and my Mom, I’m glad I penned it. Thank god my wife didn’t read it.
Cort is always full of wisdoms as well. I’d go as far to say he is the Yogi Berra of windsurfing. “If you want to make a small fortune, start with a large one.” Cort. He claims at his 101 BoardSports shops in the bay area that he makes “tens of dollars.” It’s just not fair that god gave him these great looks and the gift of gab as well. Of course, god gave him cancer as well, but he took that adversity with a dose of wisdom, which only gave him a higher perspective on life. If God gave him worms he’d go fishing.
I asked Cort if he had any wisdoms for me or criticisms even better. I asked him why, as talented as I was, others were largely more successful. Was it because they were more cordial with the universe? “That’s it,” he said. “A lot of people don’t get your form of humor. It’s smart, but some, they take your Seinfeldian scarcasm as just being mean.” A tough pill to swallow as I don’t mean to be mean, but I can look back on it as well as forward and then sideways to try and improve, at least to 50%. If I make myself laugh, I win.
He talked about Ken Winner and how he told him to read the book, as Ken is quite featured. I would think that at least Ken, a guy I always figured was born with a large dose of pride, would eagerly want to read about himself. But no, Ken doesn’t want to look back. Evidently, Mr. Winner’s happiest when he focuses on the present and the future. I guess a young, smart, fast foiling girlfriend helps. Maybe when he can’t keep up with her, he’ll read the book.
Then, Cort and I got to talking about shared, ahem, exploits, and the final wisdom: “It’s just as easy to marry a rich girl as a poor one.” That had the clock hands burning circles, until my Strava app beeped me. I had to jump back on the bike before the sun set so I could walk the dog. The dog doesn’t give a hoot about my book nor my humor, as long as I hand out treats.
Looking back, there are so many great guys like Cort that I wish I had spent more time getting to know. Perhaps with my brand of humor, I’d piss them all off so what’s the point. Don’t look back. But please do.
The waves were cracking, booming loudly on the reef right outside the beachside home I found myself and my family carousing. There was no wind on those waves, nor people. I picked up the phone and called Robby.
I wish that my memory matched the vivid recall of my dreams. Upon awaking, I felt as if I was still stuck in this dream, and didn’t find it that funny. Robby has always treated me well, and would never have said the things he did to me in this dream. Still, the realization that the end result is reality shook me like a Kelby doll being ragged in the turbulence of a crushing napalm. Who writes like that?
In this reality, I’d sent two of my books, Maui Glory Days, to Robby’s mom, Carol. One was signed for his family and one to read for Robby. Yes, selfishly I had hopes that he might endorse it like he does in his FB videos of this and that product. Of course, they are products of his own, but just one little photo on FB of him smiling, holding the book up with his usual hat on backwards, flashing a shaka sign would have propelled my little book into the Amazon stratosphere.
A couple of months went by and neither The King nor any of his other major disciples had not spoken highly nor lowly on SM about the book, a book largely about them. Naish, Waltze, Schweitzer, Angulo, Simmer, Polakow, Kalama, Haywood… not one word. Mumsters.
Then, Bruce Matlack included me in his anti-pumping group email, and there was The King’s email address. I thought, what the heck. I’d just write Robby to see if he had at least received the book. And then, to my surprise, Rob kindly wrote back that he’d pick it up over Christmas, right after he returned from New York and his new film premier. Ah, great, I thought! I love this guy!
With this promise in my pocket and the one that had been dragging on for months from Delius Klasing to consider publishing the book in several languages, it was hard not to get my hopes high. The publisher was just waiting on the editor from Surf magazine to give his approval or not, and if so, they’d present it at the annual meeting for strong consideration. The editor, Manuel, loved it.
Fast forward two months later. I wrote Rob again to see if he had read the book. No reply. Not that I expected one. Between business, movie producing, and wave chasing, the guy is busy as hell. It probably got buried amongst his millions of emails and I don't want him to think I’m groveling. I just want hime to read the damn book.
Worse, book sales had taken their natural course and diminished to one per week. I only make about a buck a book, so there went my dream of retiring and finishing my other five books, books that have nothing to do with windsurfing. Hemingway-esques and Steinbeck-eeks, though not as good nor depressing. Perhaps I should drink more.
Then, Delius Klasing replied that, while they and the editor both loved the book, they only did well with Instructional books. There was no market for windsurfing books. So it was all up to me and my self-publishing. And Robby. Or whiskey.
I lay down my head to sleep and like one of those long drawn out advertisements revealing what supplement do we actually need to take to get rid of this belly fat, we can finally get on with the dream:
The waves were cracking, booming loudly on the reef right outside the beachside home I found myself and my family carousing. There was no wind on those waves, nor people. I told my wife, after discussing that she doesn’t remember her dreams, at least not as vividly as I do, that I had to make a call. Book sales were suffering.
Robby began to speak before I could even say hello. “What’s up, Jonathan?”
“Oh, hey, Robby. How are you?”
“Good. What can I do for you?”
“I was just down here at… I think it’s Waltze’s, or perhaps Polakow bought it…”
“Right! Angulo’s. Anyway, the waves are cracking.”
“Right. So what is it you want?”
“Well, I was just wondering, you know, if you had a chance to read my book.”
“Nope. I told you I wasn’t interested in publishing.”
“I just thought you might find it interesting. There’s a lot about you in there. I realize there’s a lot about you in every book about windsurfing…”
“I just don’t have time nor, I hate to put it to you, the interest.”
“Well, maybe you’d enjoy some of the stories about your friends in there?”
Silence. More waves cracking. I thought I’d lost him, and then…
“Okay, Jonathan. I tell you what. Send me a fifty, a bag of dog food, and a peanut butter cup in one envelope. If the peanut butter cup isn’t crushed when I get it, I’ll read it.”
“Oh, great! Wait, what? A bag of dog food and… a peanut butter cup?”
“In other words, I’m not interested in reading it.”
He hangs up. I look at my wife and she asks me how it went. I want to tell her, but I wouldn’t want to say anything bad about The King. So I eat my words. There is a banana in there. A banana is what gives you the belly fat.
Then I woke up. Robby is still The King. He's a great guy. He's just too busy. Maybe one day, when he slows down to 80, or on a 20 hour plane trip, he'll pick up the book and start reading, and never be able to put it down.