WindTech History

Sarah Scheltema
WindTech premises in the 1990's

It was December 1989 and WindTech opened its doors for the first time. A new purpose fitted factory awaited the first customers.

Windsurfing was a booming sport. There were no Kiters, Stand-up paddle boarders, Foilers, Internet, mobile phones, play-stations or other distractions.

​It was fast, cool, young and sexy and it looked great. Shops were profitable and plentiful and importers had fancy offices with distributers and reps. The Australian and International competition circuits were healthy and profitable. Big corporate sponsors were on board and peddled cigarettes and beer.

​The top sailors were rockstars and household names with big egos, big salaries, big mansions and fast cars. Sailing spots were crammed with cars and sailors. The future of windsurfing looked unstoppable. This was the time to open a board manufacturing business.

​The year 1990 was a good year for WindTech and it was time to expand and get a team rider. There was a young bloke who looked promising and some said he may win an event or two on good equipment. His name was Scott McKercher.

At this time WindTech was experimenting with polystyrene, epoxy and foam sandwich technologies. Weights were dropping by the week. Compared to production moulded boards the custom WindTechs were light years ahead. This was the time of the custom board.

WindTech was the board to get. Every event had boards in the top placings. Scott went on to get a 3rd place in the Canary islands and new PWA riders ordered wave boards. Some weeks produced 6 or more boards.  

WindTech was then approached by Kinetic to design a range of boards to be distributed worldwide. They were labelled under the WindTech logo in Australia using the well known ‘bulls head’ logo and the first batch of 30 boards was sold on a Saturday morning. The legendary 8’ 10” slalom board won a shootout in the American ‘Windsurf’ magazine against the big names. Things were looking good.

A young Scott McKercher in front of the factory circa 1993

Neil in the laminating sandpit. 1994 Applying finishing touches to a board.

Scott McKercher on WindTech board

Scott McKercher 1990 Gnaraloo

So in the summer of ‘90/’91 and with a full and competitive quiver of boards Scott won almost every event on the National circuit. Then in 1992, Perth hosted a leg of the PWA circuit.

WindTech now had international exposure overnight and orders doubled. The boards were world class and after a taste of international competition young Scott decided to spread his wings, join the PWA circuit, and take on the world.

But sadly things didn’t go to script as so often is the case. Neil came down with a bout of severe chicken pox and, probably triggered by this, he became sensitised to the resins and chemicals used for the production of custom boards. After soldiering on for a few years, it became clear that working the toxic environment could not be sustained. By 1999 the last batch of boards were rolled off the racks for the last two customers, Steve Allen and Rob Radis.

​Steve went on to win the Noumea leg of the PWA circuit on a shorter wider board and then got signed up by Starboard. Rob Radis won the Asian circuit on his boards. The era had ended.

​Neil carried on shaping and producing boards in low numbers. In 2013, he began experimenting with variable tail rocker technology (Active Trim Technology). The benefits were too huge not to investigate. This evolved into the range available today. Neil then  teamed up with talents of world class wave sailor Matt Holder and the idea of launching the boards began...

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