The Most Influential Gear of All Time: SK8 Windsurfer


A SK8 Number One Windsurfer

A SK8 Number One Windsurfer     Photo: Original Windsurfer photo archives

It was a beautiful late afternoon in 1965 when Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake gazed out on the Pacific to see blown-out surf. There were no waves to catch and there wasn't enough daylight left to go sailing. They talked about how they liked the do-it-now aspect of surfing and the freedom of sailing, and wondered whether there was a way to combine the sports. Jim said he hated all the time required to sail: launch the boat, prep and rig, get out of the marina, then wash down at end of the day. Hoyle said surfing was restricted to wave conditions and finding a good break that wasn't crowded. After a year of experimentation, they had a design with a fixed mast and no rudder that spoke to both their preferences. By 1970, armed with a patent, board sales started to take off, and Schweitzer and Drake had moved more than one million units by 1981.

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