Flashback: 1985


Windsurfers To Launch 1st Season At Chicago Beaches

Originally published May 24, 1985 | By David Prescott, Chicago Tribune

Memorial Day traditionally marks the opening day for Chicago beaches, and this year Chicago area boardsailors have a great deal to celebrate. The Chicago Park District has approved a long-awaited plan to open two of the city`s beaches as access points for sailboards, allowing the city`s estimated 2,000 winsurfers to launch their boards without having to travel outside the city limits.

For years the sailboard has been classified as a water craft, and as a result has been banned from the beaches. But after receiving hundreds of letters and telephone calls, including formal proposals from the major windsurfing organizations in Chicago (the Windsurfer Fleet and the Wayler boardsailors), park district board members reconsidered the sailboard`s status.

``It is absolutely great news; it`s what we have all been waiting for,``

says Warren Tanaka, owner of Above Board, a sailboard shop in Evanston. ``For years, Chicago boardsailors have had to travel outside of the city to legally launch their boards, but now they can participate in an Olympic sport right in their back yards. There are still some things we would like to have, but what is important is we have access, and we have to get out and use the beaches.`` The beaches opening to boardsailors are Montrose Avenue Beach, 4400 north, and Rainbow Beach, 7800 south. Each has a buoyed area on the south through which boardsailors may gain access to the lake.

Boardsailors are required to swim their boards out 100 yards before raising their sails, and the park district warns that while the beaches have lifeguards, they are not responsible for the safety of the sailors. Beach captains have the authority to close the launch areas in the event of dangerous conditions such as thunderstorms, rough waters and pollution.

The local windsurfing organizations are planning club regattas at the beaches on a weekly basis, and sailors are encouraged to contact area boardsailing shops for more information.


Windsurfing Champs Try Windy City

Originally published September 06, 1985 | By David Prescott, Chicago Tribune

Bathers at Oak Street Beach will have more to gawk at than usual this weekend when a number of the best boardsailors in the United States gather for the first Windy City Windsurfing Championships.

The competition, sponsored by Outside Magazine and Wayler Sailboards, is the first boardsailing competition to be held on a Chicago beach since the Chicago Park District approved an ordinance this year permitting boardsailors to launch their boards from designated entry points on the city`s lakefront.

Wayler Sailboards, a division of GS Sports in Addison, which sponsors the Wayler North American Championships in Charlevoix, Mich., and the Wayler Worlds in Islamorada, Fla., long has been a major force in promoting the sport of windsurfing in the Chicago area and the United States. Outside Magazine, an international Chicago-based publication that is taking an increasing interest in the sport, intends the local competition to become an annual event.

The two organizations have combined their expertise and their influence within the boardsailing industry to organize an event that`s designed to be as educational to the beginning windsurfer as it will be competitive to the recreational and championship-class racer.

Major Hall, a former North Shore resident who is coach of the U.S. boardsailing team, is chairman of the event. Along with other members of the team, Hall will be using land simulators to give free introductory windsurfing clinics to spectators.

Registration for the competition begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. The entry fee is $20 and competitors may rent a limited number of sailboards at the event. Overnight storage facilities will be provided for those who bring their own boards.

The first competition, the ``Windstar``-- a race on a short timed course -- begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The ``Windstar`` will be followed at 10 a.m. by a windsurfing clinic and at noon by a freestyle competition.(Freestyle boardsailing is similar in concept to freestyle ``hot dog``skiing, in that it features unconventional variations on conventional maneuvers during a three-minute performance.) Other competitions will include a slalom race, a balloon chase and a long distance race. A post-race party for participants will be held at the Snuggery, 15 W. Division St.

Sunday`s competition will begin with a skippers` meeting at 8:30 a.m., followed at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. by triangle races.

``There are a lot of people who are excluded from the yacht clubs and don`t have boats,`` says Bob Lepman of GS Sports. ``This regatta will give people a chance to get out on the water and have a good time. And if you want to learn about windsurfing, this is a great opportunity.``

For more information, call 543-****.

What: Windy City Windsurfing Championships

When: Saturday and Sunday.

Where: Oak Street Beach

How much: $20 registration fee; free to spectators.