The short life of the Windglider

Windglider: Stephan van den Berg (left) won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics

The Windglider was a sailboard designed in 1976 by the German businessman Fred Ostermann.

In the late 1970s, Ostermann was one of the biggest windsurfing manufacturers in the world.

Europe had fallen in love with the sport, and the German entrepreneur hoped he could fill an Olympic gap.

The Windglider was a simple windsurfing class. In fact, maybe too simple.

It had a 6.5m2 sail, the daggerboard weighed four kilograms, and sailors could not use harnesses.

The length of the board was 3.9 meters, and it didn't have foot straps.

Windglider: planing in the early 1980s

The Olympic Dream

In 1982, Fred Ostermann sold his Windglider business to Dufour, a company owned by Baron Marcel Bich's BIC.

The market was at its peak, with more than 80,000 sailboards being sold yearly in Germany only.

At the time, the Original Windsurfer was Windglider's strongest rival.

However, in late 1983 and a few months before the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics, the Windglider received great news.

It had won the battle against Windsurfer, and it was chosen for the Olympic Games.

Windglider: no harness, no foot straps

Los Angeles 1984

The International Olympic Committee considered Windglider to be "more One Design," with its polyethylene structure and overall usability.

The Windglider sailing event was run in Long Beach, Los Angeles, between July 31 and August 8, 1984.

A total of 38 wind gliders from 38 nations competed in seven races. The course had nine nautical miles.

Stephan van den Berg (Netherlands) won the gold medal, Randall Scott Steel (USA) took silver, and the legendary Bruce Kendall (New Zealand) secured bronze.

Fred Ostermann: his Windglider lived less than a decade of glory

Windglider: the original logo

A New Era

However, there was little future for the Windglider. The class lost its competitiveness and appeal, and new windsurfing rivals took over.

BIC focused on the Funboard and surfboards, and the Windglider brand opened a new chapter in the museum of windsurfing.

Fred Ostermann was born on April 15, 1934, in Saarbrucken and died on February 11, 2012.

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