Hey Ladies, this one's for you.
Epiphany: I am an independent windsurfing babe. Hey girl, you can be one too!
Cleopatra, my car (a small two door Volkswagen Fox) and I have been together for 11 years. And during our time together, Cleopatra carted around my skis, snowboards and passengers, but never windsurfing gear. No, the windsurfing gear was always piled on the roof or in the back of my guy friend's trucks.
"Can I help load up the truck", I'd ask. "Sure, could you hold this boom while I put the boards on the roof", he'd reply. Always, I smiled and watched as he gracefully and skillfully removed the boards off his head and onto the top of truck. Of course, he stood 5'11 while I am only 5'3 and a half.
"Can I help with the straps", I'd cheerily inquire. "No thanks, I have my system all worked out", he'd reply. And this scenario continued for the first two years of my windsurfing career. All this seemed great. How manly! How chivalrous!
But, somewhere along the line, I began to think that I could never windsurf alone. I could never rig my own gear, carry my sails over bushes and wooden fences to the ocean, let alone figure out what gear to use during different wind conditions. And how on earth would I ever manage to put all my gear onto Cleopatra? How could I possibly windsurf without this guy? The sad thing is, I didn't believe I could.
No more guy friend! And worse, I am alone in a city where I don't know a single soul. Oh gosh, what to do? In Massachusetts, I was taken to all the windsurfing hotspots. Perhaps it would be useful to find them in Miami.
After perusing several tourist guide books to Miami, my first windsurfing stop was to be Sailboards Miami on Rickenbacker Causeway; Ovids place. Here, they taught windsurfing and I rented gear. The gear was already rigged and ready to go; saving me the embarrassment of not knowing how to rig my own gear.
Next I toured Matheson Hammock Park on my mountain bike. Here, I met Denise. She told me about the South Florida Board Sailing Association (SFBSA) and strongly encouraged me to attend one of their meetings. And so I did.
On select Wednesday evenings, the board assembles at a local outdoor bar in swanky Coconut Grove. And this is where I met the ambassador of windsurfing, Sir Brian. The ambassador kindly took it upon himself to help teach me how to rig my gear and choose appropriate size sails for different wind conditions. The ambassador also introduced me to other windsurfers on the beach who conveyed kind words of encouragement as they greeted me before and after on-the-water sessions. And so I learned that windsurfers look out for one another whether they have known you for twenty years or twenty seconds. And finally, the ambassador showed me how to pile my gear onto Cleopatra. If I didn't know better, I think that Cleo smiled for the first time in Miami as I tightened the straps, securing my board to her roof.
I sincerely thank the windsurfing community of Miami for my personal growth and epiphany: I am an independent windsurfer.
So hey girls, if you dream of being a windsurfer; you can do it.
And the windsurfing community (SFWA) is here to help you along your way.