For Fernando Martinez, windsurfing provides a break from everyday lifeWORTHINGTON — When Fernando Martinez began windsurfing at age 15 in Argentina, he had no idea it would take him all over the world.
By: Amanda Walljasper, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — When Fernando Martinez began windsurfing at age 15 in Argentina, he had no idea it would take him all over the world.
“I grew up in a small town close to a river,” he said Saturday in Worthington. “I saw people windsurfing, and I drove my dad crazy until he bought me a board.”
At age 16, Martinez competed for the first time.
“A friend of mine is a really good windsurfer, and he didn’t have anyone to drive him to a race, so he told my father I was really good and he should take us,” Martinez remembered. “My friend placed first, and I got second. That was 22 years ago, and that’s when I was hooked.”
Martinez was named the U.S. national champion Sunday in the Formula class at Worthington’s Windsurfing Regatta. The top three finishers in each class were presented with unique, handmade trophies crafted by Jeff Hegwer, Jeff Adamski and Rod Harvey at Sunday’s closing ceremony.
“It feels really good, especially because there are a lot of good sailors here and because of the conditions; it hasn’t been easy for anybody,” Martinez said. “I’m kind of surprised.”
Martinez spent 10 years racing in Argentina, and then he moved to California to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated from there with his MBA. Now, he works for GAP Inc. in Miami Beach, Fla.
The U.S. Nationals in Worthington gave Martinez a break from his daily routine. Worthington’s event was the third U.S. Nationals event he has participated in. Last year, he finished in 11th place.
“We were told Worthington is one of those places the community gets really involved with the sport,” Martinez said on why he made the trek to Minnesota. “We don’t usually get to see people at the beach cheering us on. That is great.”
Worthington Regatta’s race director Jeff Hegwer was pleased with the weekend weather and the quality of racing that took place.
“It might be one of the windiest Nationals and one of the highest number of races at a Nationals (event),” Hegwer said Sunday. “We’ve worked hard the last five years to build credibility and professionalism here in Worthington. We made the races challenging, and we have the respect now.”