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By LINDA ROBERTSON
Back in 1967, two Californians discussed the virtues
and restrictions of surfing and sailing. The surfer, Hoyle
Schweitzer, complained that the perfect wave was a rare
commodity and that he spent most of his time waiting for
one to come along. The sailor, Jim Drake,' replied that rig
ging and maintaining a sailboat has become a time-consuming
hassle and that he envied the simplicity of surf
ing. The eventual byproduct of that conversation was a hy
brid of surfing and sailing, yet a sport that is totally differ
ent from the two. Boardsailing, popularly known by the
brand name of windsurfing, is now the fastest-growing
sport in America and it will make its debut as an Olympic
sport at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.
The boardsailing boom hit Europe long before it reach
ed America. Some lakes in West Germany are so crowd
ed that windsurfing licenses are required. In the United
States the number of boards bought is tripling every year.
"It's an inexpensive sport, it's portable, safe and a fun .
form of exercise," said Hayes Harris, a windsurfing in
structor based in Delray Beach, Fla. "Once you get the
hang of it, boardsailing is also very addictive."
With the water at your toetips and the wind in your
arms, part of the appeal of windsurfing is the thrill of be
ing in control of the elements.
But it is not easy to master the free-sail system and the
principle of mast-rake steering. Basically, you are using
your arms like the main sheet of a sailboat. When operat
ing the standard sailboard, there are four basic problems:
(1) controlling the force that the wind creates in the sail
and learning the art of balancing your weight against that
force; (2) steering; (3) controlling the board's roll; and (4)
finding the proper courses to sail to avoid obstacles and
get to your destination.
The sailboard is an intriguing contraption. Initially
awkward, it becomes the ultimate in grace when style is
perfected. Windsurfing is like learning, to ski or ride a
bike. At first you fall down a lot, but once you get the
hang of it, it becomes almost second nature.
"It's a very kinetic sport because you're always moving
to manipulate the sail and keep your balance on that
rather precarious perch," said George Sheppard, a UNC
dental student and experienced windsurfer. "You get a
feel for it after a while. All it takes is a little patience and
Although previous experience in sailing or surfing is
helpful, most people have difficulty learning how to
boardsail without some instruction.
"I've seen novices learn it is in an hour and I've seen
people struggle for six hours," said Rick Hill of the Ocean
Drive Surf shop in Miami Beach. "It's a matter of getting
your balance, learning to use the wishbone boom and
judge the wind."
"An instructor can give you little hints and point out
exactly what you're doing wrong," Hayes said. "We also
have land simulators and special boards for beginners.
After one or two lessons most people can strike out on
In South Florida there are numerous boardsailing
shops which rent equipment and provide instruction. The
Ocean Drive Surf Shop, 10 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, has
a rather unique system, charging $1 to join its club and $8
for an hour's rental, but providing free lessons.
Have's Nomad Surf Shop is located at 4655 N. Ocean
Blvd. (A1A) in Boynton Beach. He gives lessons at the
south end of Delray public beach. A 30-minute lesson
combined with a 30-minute rental is $15. Rental without
instruction costs $10 an hour. Many hotels in Fort Lauder-
dale, Miami Beach
- - -o -I
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By LINDA ROBERTSON
Following the cold splash and momentary disorientation, a
sense of wonder engulfs the diver as he beholds the alien world
below. Mask, snorkle and fins, so clumsy and uncomfortable on
land, seem to melt away underwater. A spiny lobster scuttles by
and lavender sea fans wave languidly in the current. The roles
are reversed :n this life-size aquarium, and man becomes the ob
ject of hundreds of curious, sidelong glances. He is the temporary
trespasser in this giant housing project for marine life the coral
The world beneath the sea is at its most beautiful in John Pen
nekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater state park
and the only living coral reef in the continental United States.
Located off Key Largo, Fla., it is a dynamic piece of real estate
characterized by brilliant color and delicate movement
Pennekamp is home for more than 650 varieties of tropical
fish. Divers may hobnob with friendly parrotfish or find them
selves gazing into the gloomy eyes of a grouper or at the toothy
smirk of a barracuda. The population also includes the French
grunt, orange butterfly, queen angel, sergeant major, snapper
and seatrout, along with the Spanish hogf ish and reclusive moray
eel. The fish are not shy, for they are used to the protection the
park affordsthem, and often they will swim up to a diver and
peer into his mask, sizing up the strange intruder on their terri
tory. Nothing can match the experience of being surrounded by
a school of glassy sweepers, their silver fins reflecting the sun-,
light like an underwater prism.
Over 40 species of Atlantic corals serve as underwater hous
v ing for a dazzling array of marine life. The intricacy of the reef is
riveting, and it is all just arm's length away from the diver.
Pennekamp is one of the natural wonders of the world. It is no
wonder that both novice and experienced divers flock to Key
For winter-weary college students, spending Spring Break in
South Florida is an especially enticing vacation idea. Hundreds
of thousands of students make the trip each year. But they often
limit themselves to sunbathing during the day and bar-hopping
at night. Just beyond the beach Pennekamp beckons. The park .
provides the perfect setting for students to dive in and do some
Snorkeling is the simplest way to explore a coral reef and Pen
nekamp is ideal for snorkelers because of its shallowness. Certi
fied scuba divers can head for deeper valleys, but most of the
action is above the 15-foot mark. Below that depth, the colors of
the spectrum begin to fade.
Snorkeling is an easy recreational sport to master. Basically it
requires only the ability to swim and breathe at the same time.
"If you can swim, you can snorkel," said Bob Edeleback, gen
eral manager of the Coral Reef Park Company and dive shop.
"Some people are a little apprehensive, but then they go out on
the reefs and have a blast"
Once the mask is on and the snorkle is in place, all breathing
is done through the mouth. You simply paddle along on the sur
face, face submerged while breathing through the snorkle,
which sticks up above the water. Fins increase swimming effici
ency three or four times. All propulsion comes from the fins
there is no need to use your arms. A long scissor kick from the
hip is the most effective stroke.
"A good snorkeler is a slow snorkeler," Edelebeck said. "It's
similar to walking through the North Carolina mountains. Take
your time and you'll see a lot more than you would racing
around. You'd be surprised at what starts to come out from the
coral heads." '
To get a closer look at the polyps of star coral or a sparkling
jewelfish loitering between the branches of a staghorn forma
tion, snorkelers perform a simple surface dive.
"Just do a jacknift
arms and feet togeth
feet and the weight o
drive you down. It's
There are a few t
divers stick to a "bud
partner. The white an
boat or on a buoy. A
avoid touching anytr
harmless, but the brig
tion and skin redness
are a rarity on Penn
about the reefs, but til
ators are unduly irritc
Dive shops in Miarr
day and rent equipm
rented for $2 each anq
At the park itself,
tours run at 9 aim., rl
cluds equipment and
snorkeling from aboz
the trips, rangers and
Pennekamp is als
water and calm seas
"We've had a very
not dipped much be let
it should be in the lo
dersea excursion a I
usual Spring Break rd
Linda Robertson is
Spotlight, February 25, 1982