September 13, 2008
When it comes to windsurfing, many think that Toronto may not be a world class city to do it in. And it’s not, at least not in the summer. But before you ditch all plans of trying it out because you won’t be windsurfing in say, Hurricane Katrina, realize that slow and easy maybe the way to start.
Over the past weekend over sixty participants took part in the 26th annual Toronto Windsurfing Club Mammoth Marathon. This 17 km race goes around the Toronto Islands and takes anywhere from two to four hours to complete. Many enthusiastic windsurfers ranging from teenagers to seniors endured the rainy weather to participate in this race and face their worst enemy of all, the lack of wind. With the stormy sky and rain making way for beautiful and sunny weather, many racers had to resort to pumping their way back to shore. The winners were Paul Mathews and Igor Renkas who raced on a tandem board. Guess they realized that four arms were better than two!
There was also a shorter race for the younger folks and beginners, some of whom I recognized in my short stint as a windsurfer. Many familiar faces claimed they became hooked after a few lessons and were even good enough to race. Besides the satisfaction of completing the feats of one long ass race, there were other incentives such as the possibility of winning a ‘Starboard Carve 94 Windsurfer Board’ and over $4000 in prizes donated by Boardsports, Silent Sports and Tropical North.
Windsurfing is a very family friendly sport and Toronto seems to have a great community of windsurfers. Women and children are encouraged to take up the sport due to their light weight and nimbleness. If your wife has been nagging about the lack of family time being spent, rig her up a sail and get your family in the water. It is a win-win situation because you can take your family out windsurfing and still enjoy time by yourself in the water! So if you’re interested in windsurfing, sign up for lessons next summer at the (lessons are inexpensive, only $80 for four lessons) and hopefully by the fall and winter, when the real weather comes along you’ll be out there ripping it with the pros!