His dad invented windsurfing and later on Matt Schewitzer became the very first world champion in windsurfing. Read the interview below.
How did you get introduced to windsurfing?
My father invented the sport, and I got introduced to the sport at a young age.
How did you see the sport growing while you competed?
The sport took off early in Europe, then spread to Japan and then United States. We had huge turn outs of about 800 people for world championships. The progression of equipment in the 90’s led to a great time to be involved with the sport.
Which boards and sails did you ride with?
I was fortunate enough to be involved in designing my own boards with a few great shapers throughout my career. And I also designed the first asymmetric sailboard. For decades I was supported by unrepresented Hot Sails and now have been representing North Sails for the past decade.
How would you compare the “good olds days” with the windsurfing now? Do you still go sailing?
During the beginning of our sport, the most influential and important part of our sport was the camaraderie and family ties. It was very much a social support and events were packed with family friends and people from all around the globe. Windsurfing still represents pure freedom on the ocean and will always be soulful. I still sail as much as I can nowadays, but competition has very much changed from what it was in the early days, just like all extreme sports. The freestyle that I was doing when I was winning world titles, is much different from the freestyle championships during the present day. Double flips are not uncommon and the sport is much more radical!
How was it with sponsors, fans and events back in the days? Could many make a living from it?
The sponsorship was great! It seemed as though all the companies want it in and it really did feel like the fastest growing sport in the world!
Yes, more than a handful of people were able to make a great living during a time in the sport.
Regionals, nationals, world championships & other events around the world were nonstop.
How has the gear changed? What is your opinion about the new gear?
Now, the mast base is much closer to the foot straps because the draft in the sail is much more forward. This made a huge difference along with lighter booms, mast and boards. The biggest change that I witnessed during my lifetime of the sport, was the invention and progression of shortboards and straps.
The new gear is great! I just got a new set up from Starboard and it is unbelievable! But, it will always be so soulful to jump on an original windsurfer and ride the rail!
Where is your favourite spot to sail?
Easy question. Secret spot on Maui, Hawaii.
What is your best memory from windsurfing?
The first time using foot straps in Mexico and launching air in full control!
Which other riders did you train with, and how were the friendships among all the competitors?
Craig Yester, Wayno Cochran, Randy Clarke, Noa Aluli and lots of other great friends.
But the real training was competing around the world with good friends and competitors such as my Dad, Robbie Naish, Bruce Wylie, Mike Waltze, Rhonda Smith, Pete Cabrinha, Brett Lickle & too many others to name!
Who has been your hardest competitor in windsurfing through the years?
Robbie Naish. He was a few years younger than me, but when he entered the scene and got his foot in the door he straight up dominated!
Bjorne Dunkerbeck as well.
What have you been doing after your professional career as a windsurfer?
After beating stage 3 cancer, I focused on my family, became a property manager and owner of “Maui Sports Adventures” here on West Maui.
My biggest hobby besides windsurfing is motorcycle racing.