PWA World Tour: the longest-running windsurfing circuit in the world | Photo: Carter/PWA

Today, the PWA World Tour is unquestionably the most successful pro windsurfing circuit in the history of the sport.

The Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) was founded in 1996 and, today, it is officially recognized by World Sailing (WS) as one of its "Special Events."

But to understand the foundations of the PWA World, we need to get back in time to a period when windsurfing was an unintegrated sum of several sailboarding disciplines.

In its first decade of existence as a proper sailing sport, windsurfing evolved as a funboard racing activity based on two main disciplines: course racing and slalom.

Organized by the manufacturers, the World Sailboards Manufacturers Association (WSMA) developed a World Cup Series held in five or six different countries, and run with minimum wind speeds.

The format ruled windsurfing in the early 1980s until 1987. Only sailors that were part of a team were able to enter the events run by WSMA, and they could only use members' equipment.

The introduction of windsurfing in the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games boosted the visibility of the sport. And with the 1984 Aloha Classic and the 1985 O'Neill Invitational, held at Hookipa Beach Park, Maui, the new outdoor activity gained an exciting new discipline - wave sailing.


In 1986, the WSMA was renamed World Boardsailing Association (WBA), and the access to the World Cup events was simplified in an attempt to get more money into the organization and reduce the running cost of each competition.

However, in 1987, and after the World Cup held in Zandvoort, Netherlands, athletes wanted a change. They were tired of being subjugated to the companies and brands and were not happy with the event conditions and prize money.

So in 1988, during the World Cup held in Guadeloupe, windsurfers decide to create the Professional Boardsailors Association (PBA), and set minimum prize money for registering an event as World Cup.

As a result, the number of competitions quickly increased to up to 40 yearly contests, where up to $250,000 in prize money was paid.

The PBA World Cup era lasted seven years (1988-1995), and its major guideline was simple - there were no limitations on equipment. Sailors could use whatever sail and board they preferred.

Eventually, it became a battle for the best gear, with athletes forced to purchase new boards and sails every year to keep up with the opponents and the latest technology.

Slalom: one of the most popular disciplines in professional windsurfing | Photo: Carter/PWA

However, in 1995, and due to over-indebtedness, the PBA had to be liquidated, and a new organization took over - the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA).

Today, the PWA World Tour is run by windsurfers, but it is also open to corporate members who sponsor and support the circuit.

Since its inception, the PWA World Tour has been promoting several types of windsurfing, including slalom, freestyle, wave, indoor, super x and, more recently, foiling.

The PWA World Tour runs a men's and women's circuit with between eight and 12 stages in some of the world's best windsurfing spots.

WSMA, WBA, PBA and PWA: The Professional Windsurfing World Tours | List of World Champions

Wave

1983: Robby Naish
1984: Robby Naish | Jil Boyer, Julie de Werd
1985: Pete Cabrinha | Shawne O'Neill
1986: Robby Naish | Dana Dawes, Natalie Siebel
1987: Robby Naish | Dana Dawes
1988: Robby Naish | Natalie Siebel
1989: Robby Naish | Angela Cocheran
1990: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Natalie Siebel
1991: Robby Naish | Angela Cocheran
1992: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Natalie Siebel
1993: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jessica Crisp
1994: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Natalie Siebel
1995: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1996: Patrice Belbeoch | Jutta Muller, Nathalie Le Lievre
1997: Jason Polakow | Nathalie Le Lievre
1998: Jason Polakow | Karin Jaggi
1999: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2000: Fracisco Goya | Daida Ruano Moreno
2001: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Daida Ruano Moreno
2002: Kevin Pritchard | Daida Ruano Moreno
2003: Josh Angulo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2004: Scott McKercher | Daida Ruano Moreno
2005: Kauli Seadi | Daida Ruano Moreno
2006: Kevin Pritchard | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2007: Kauli Seadi | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2008: Kauli Seadi | Daida Ruano Moreno
2009: Josh Angulo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2010: Víctor Fernández López | Daida Ruano Moreno
2011: Philip Koster | Daida Ruano Moreno
2012: Philip Koster | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2013: Marcillio Browne | Daida Ruano Moreno
2014: Thomas Traversa | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2015: Philip Koster | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2016: Víctor Fernández López | Iballa Ruano Moreno
2017: Philip Koster | Iballa Ruano Moreno

Slalom

1983: Robby Naish
1984: Robby Naish | Julie de Werd
1985: Robby Naish | Nathalie Le Lievre
1986: Robby Naish | Dana Dawes
1987: Anders Bringdal | Anick Graveline
1988: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1989: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1990: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1991: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1992: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1993: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jutta Muller
1994: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jutta Muller
1995: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1996: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1997: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Nathalie Le Lievre
1998: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Karin Jaggi
1999: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Karin Jaggi
2000: Kevin Pritchard | Lucienne Ernst
2001: -
2002: Steve Allen | Dorota Staszewska
2003: Micah Buzianis | Dorota Staszewska
2004: Antoine Albeau | Allison Shreeve
2005: Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Micah Buzianis | Karin Jaggi
2006: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2007: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2008: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2009: Antoine Albeau | Valérie Arrighetti Ghibaudo
2010: Antoine Albeau | Karin Jaggi
2011: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2012: Antoine Albeau | Valérie Arrighetti Ghibaudo
2013: Antoine Albeau | Delphine Cousin
2014: Antoine Albeau | Delphine Cousin
2015: Antoine Albeau | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2016: Matteo Iachino | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2017: Antoine Albeau | Sarah-Quita Offringa

Course Racing

1983: Robby Naish
1984: Robby Naish | Nathalie Le Lievre
1985: Tim Aagesen | Nathalie Le Lievre
1986: Stephan van den Berg | Anick Graveline
1987: Stephan van den Berg | Britt Dunkerbeck
1988: Anders Bringdal | Nathalie Le Lievre
1989: Phil McGain | Nathalie Le Lievre
1990: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1991: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Jutta Muller
1992: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1993: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Britt Dunkerbeck
1994: Bjorn Dunkerbeck | Alessandra Sensini

Freestyle

1998: Bjorn Dunkerbeck
1999: Josh Stone | Karin Jaggi
2000: Josh Stone | Toni Frey, Karin Jaggi
2001: Antoine Albeau | Colette Gudagnino
2002: Matt Pritchard | Karin Jaggi
2003: Ricardo Campello | Daida Ruano Moreno
2004: Ricardo Campello | Daida Ruano Moreno
2005: Ricardo Campello | Daida Ruano Moreno
2006: Gollito Estredo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2007: Marcillio Browne |
2008: Gollito Estredo | Daida Ruano Moreno
2009: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2010: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2011: Steven van Broeckhoven | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2012: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2013: Kiri Thode | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2014: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2015: Dieter van der Eyken | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2016: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa
2017: Gollito Estredo | Sarah-Quita Offringa

Super X

2003: Kauli Seadi
2004: Matt Pritchard
2005: Matt Pritchard | Karin Jaggi
2006: Antoine Albeau | Daida Ruano Moreno

Dimitri Maramenides, the founder and owner of Epic Kites, rode his kite a few hours before Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast of the United States.

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