Young boarders on riseWORTHINGTON — Sailboard Beach was filled with people of all ages Saturday to take part in the 10th anniversary of the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival. Making a complete turnaround from the gloomy weather of opening day, the event became an opportunity for everyone to check out all of the weekend’s activities under sunny skies.
By: Sarah Korthals, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Sailboard Beach was filled with people of all ages Saturday to take part in the 10th anniversary of the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival. Making a complete turnaround from the gloomy weather of opening day, the event became an opportunity for everyone to check out all of the weekend’s activities under sunny skies.
About 40 windsurfers came to Lake Okabena to participate in the races and other festivities. One of the biggest changes is that now, more than ever, a younger generation is showing interest in windsurfing and racing.
“We have about six beginners out on the water this weekend from 8 to 14 years old,” said Ray Kuntz, a racing and windsurfing instructor.
Windsurfing instructor Jeff Hegwer, who co-founded the event, said this is biggest turnout of young people the Regatta has seen, and it has become a goal of many windsurfers to share their sport with young enthusiasts. Kuntz, Hegwer and Roger Jackson presented trophies to all the beginning windsurfers at the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon.
“We teach the kids to sail to an object first. It’s difficult to do at first,” Kuntz said.
Hegwer said the instructors started introductory lessons in racing last year, but this year they have expanded into also offering level two racing for those who are interested.
“They’re doing great,” said Hegwer proudly.
“This is a big year for new people,” said Craig Berg, a racing committee member, as they watched beginners practicing near the shore.
Hegwer said the Regatta is an event to be proud of, especially because the Worthington race committee is almost completely made of local volunteers.
On the other side of Sailboard Beach, artists had their work on display. From wooden roses to paintings and glass blown pieces, there was something for everyone to browse.
There was plenty to keep the children busy as well, including a large mound of sand, fish kites, face painting and wire necklaces.
A variety of original squares were designed for the Relay for Life quilts that the AOK club is stitching later this summer.
The 10 chairs displayed for Saturday evening’s Daily Globe chair auction raised $1,785 for the Lake Okabena Improvement Association. The People’s Choice Award went to Mike Woll Investment’s painted M&M chair.
From the food to the windsurfing to the art to the music, Worthington’s Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival has come a long way.
“We went from having no experience to having enough knowledge to be a credible host for an event like this,” Hegwer said, “I take pride in that.”