Longboards and Andy Brandt
Four years ago I began my windsurfing journey. I’ve decided to start a new blog series to chronicle my adventures, experiences and the wonderful and very positive impact that windsurfing and all the great people in our sport have had on my life.
I’m going to start with my most recent day on the water working with one of the premier windsurfing instructors in the world. I’m speaking about Andy Brandt and ABK Board Sports. Andy is normally in Bonaire this time of year working with World Champions, (past, present and future) but due to Covid we in Florida have the great fortune to learn from him this year. No matter where you are in the sport, Andy will take you to the next level! Check out his website and sign up for his next sessions! I know I will be part of his next sessions and I look forward to working with him in Bonaire in 2022!
Back to my blog: I just turned 60 and the picture above shows me on my Kona One long board in Sarasota on one of my first days on the water. I made a number of mistakes early in my journey but one great choice I made was the purchase of a Kona One long board. I still own this board and though I now own three short boards, the Kona One was my foundation for learning to sail and windsurf. I’m not selling Kona Ones in this post because there are a number of great long boards on the market but if you are beginning your windsurfing journey, seriously consider a long board as a first option.
The reason is simple, at least it was for me. Windsurfers are sailors first and before you can windsurf you first have to learn to sail. My Kona provided me with a stable, forgiving platform which allowed me to progress at my own pace. I learned to sail, use harness lines, get into foot straps and then one wonderful day I felt the exhilaration as the board came up onto a plane and I was windsurfing. I still love that feeling!
As mentioned I now own three short boards but I sold my first short board, a JP 135 shortly after purchasing it early in year two of my journey. The JP was simply too much board for me at that early point in my process and I really struggled and almost quit windsurfing. Short boards can do wonderful things but they will also highlight your flaws if you aren’t ready for one and I wasn’t ready and it really shook my confidence. Fortunately I still had my Kona and with it I rebuilt my confidence and sharpened my abilities so that when I purchased my second short board (a Gecko 133) I was ready for the challenge.
I still take my Kona out on occasion and it is a great board. It is great fun to drop the dagger and rail on a light wind day or practice non-planning sail and board control. I might sell it some day but if I do I hope the next person enjoys it as much as I have.
Looking forward to more blog posts! And thanks for creating this great windsurfing resource for the Tampa Bay Area. My first shortboard,I too purchased too early in the learning process. Love my Kona! But my shortboards are now getting the most use being a couple years into learning to windsurf. See you on the water!
Still windsurfing at almost age 78, after beginning at age 41; mostly sail small lakes in Iowa, have windsurfed in all 50 states, raced longboards in 6 states & Quebec, currently own 4 longboards (including 2 Kona One Design), 2 wide beginner boards, & one AHD 135 liter shortboard. Looking forward to get back to Kona racing sometime in 2021 because they have the most fair classes (sail size determined by weight range). Also sailing with windsurfing rigs year round on parking lots either standing on 4 wheeled longboard skateboards or sitting on 3 wheeled trikes. Eventually I’ll give up standing on 4 wheeled boards, then cut back to only one Kona & one sit-down trike. Enjoyed your article, I hope you join some Kona racing, glad you found windsurfing which is a wonderful sport when planing or gliding (I’m mostly a glider).