Monty Spindler: he created some of windsurfing's most successful sail | Photo: Spindler Archive

Monty Spindler is one of the premier sailmakers in our sport and every bit as good of a sailor as he is the maker.

With longevity few can match, he has designed sails for more brands than any other professional.

The young needle spiker started sailing on the lakes of Detroit at four years of age in Optimist, with his commitment to the sport advancing with a move to Annapolis at age 13.

It was here that he met future Olympic silver medalist Scott Steele.

Scott and Monty were teammates and all-American sailors at St. Mary's College.

As a USA Olympic Sailing Team member, Monty took sixth at the Laser World Championships in 1977 and second at the Finn North American Championships in 1981.

Monty Spindler: the ultimate sailmaker | Photo: Loftsails

Sewing Iconic Sails

During these years, Monty had a sewing machine in his home and began building custom windsurfing sails and harnesses for himself and his friends.

People took notice.

In 1980, Monty worked for Horizon Sails and produced various prototypes for none other than inventor Newman Darby and then Platt and Nancy Johnson's Island Windsurfing Loft in Newport, RI.

All three were raising their game. Then, people really took notice, one of them being Windsurfing Hall of Fame inductee Ken Winner.

1982 saw Spindler move to Hong Kong to work for Neil Pryde and make sails for Winner.

These were productive years working on Lake Garda and designing sails for HiFly, Tiga, Sailboard, Browning, AMF Mares, Vinta, Marlin, Neil Pryde, and others.

In this role, Monty worked with Matt Schweitzer and Mike Waltze to develop sail designs for Windsurfer International.

During these proud Pryde years, Monty designed the ever-popular and first full-battened production sail, Neil Pryde Ultranova.

Monty also designed the reefing sails used by Arnaud de Rosnay for his infamous channel crossings during his Neil Pryde years.

ART and Loftsails

With newfound fame, in 1987, Spindler moved to Advanced Rig Technology (ART), where three consecutive absolute World Sailing speed records were set (1991-1992) by Pascal Maka and Thierry Bielak.

Cesare Cantagalli started the forward loop revolution with ART wave designs from Monty as well.

ART team riders Thorkil Kristensen and Fabien Pendle earned podiums in the World Cup.

Monty, the competitor, won the Johnnie Walker trophy at the Weymouth event in 1987 with his revolutionary leech cut-away ART Radwing.

Departing ART in 1996, Monty's Loftsails brand began as The Loft in 1999. Loftsails has a rich history of winning test reports in magazines.

Also, Valerie Ghibaudo won World Cup events and was crowned PWA World Tour and the International Speed Sailing champion with her Loftsails.

Formula Foil world champion Hélène Noesmoen and Loftsails' Raceboardblade domination of the International Raceboard Class continue the tradition of Spindler racing designs.

Last but not least, the success of Loftsails for recreational fin and foil sailors desiring high-end gear continues to this day.

Monty Spindler was inducted into the Windsurfing Hall of Fame in 2022.

Words by Jonathan Weston | Windsurfer, Journalist, and Founder of the Windsurfing Hall of Fame

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