Forums > Windsurfing General

Any sail/board/fin company from UK?

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Created by fpw9082 4 months ago, 22 Oct 2023
fpw9082
QLD, 166 posts
22 Oct 2023 4:18AM
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Do British make windsurfing sails / boards/ fin ?

philn
713 posts
22 Oct 2023 3:42AM
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K4 fins. Couple of custom board makers and custom sail makers.

Wind Smurf
NSW, 232 posts
22 Oct 2023 6:43AM
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Moo custom boards.

mark62
486 posts
22 Oct 2023 3:45AM
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We only have Fhot fins left.

After all the trading complications with Europe that Brexit brought us, Mathew from Demon Sails moved his sail making company to France.

As far as I'm aware, that's it, pretty poor show from us Brits...

fpw9082
QLD, 166 posts
22 Oct 2023 5:47AM
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philn said..
K4 fins. Couple of custom board makers and custom sail makers.



Names?

Isn't strange that "sailing country" and country that invented windsurfing dont have any company ?
Has UK lots of windsurfing spots, is wsurifng community small or sea is too cold or no wind?

mark62
486 posts
22 Oct 2023 7:24AM
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I forgot to mention K4 fins??

Sadly Jon at Moo custom closed his doors about a year ago.

PhilUK
875 posts
22 Oct 2023 6:43PM
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mark62 said..
We only have Fhot fins left.

After all the trading complications with Europe that Brexit brought us, Mathew from Demon Sails moved his sail making company to France.

As far as I'm aware, that's it, pretty poor show from us Brits...


Tushingham was the last major brand, but they moved production to China so I didnt really consider them as a UK brand so much.
When Roger Tushingham retired he decided to end the brand as he didnt want to sell the name on to become a 'name' passed around for money, like so many brands are these days.
There arent many boards/sails built outside Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Not the brands who sell higher volumes anyway. AHD boards are made in Tunisia, although I got the impression they might be moving to France with the higher end kit. Their foils are made in France, like Phantom.

PhilUK
875 posts
22 Oct 2023 6:48PM
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fpw9082 said..

Isn't strange that "sailing country" and country that invented windsurfing dont have any company ?
Has UK lots of windsurfing spots, is wsurifng community small or sea is too cold or no wind?





Equally strange that countries not noted for their sailing are making most of the kit - Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
UK has lots of sailing spots, a fairly small number of windsurfers compared to France & Germany for instance. The sea is cold (thats why the UK has custom wetsuit brands), and the wind isnt that reliable, but we do get it,

fpw9082
QLD, 166 posts
25 Oct 2023 4:02AM
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PhilUK said..





fpw9082 said..

Isn't strange that "sailing country" and country that invented windsurfing dont have any company ?
Has UK lots of windsurfing spots, is wsurifng community small or sea is too cold or no wind?









Equally strange that countries not noted for their sailing are making most of the kit - Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
UK has lots of sailing spots, a fairly small number of windsurfers compared to France & Germany for instance. The sea is cold (thats why the UK has custom wetsuit brands), and the wind isnt that reliable, but we do get it,



I find you have wsurf website..ukwindsurfing.com/about/

Ben Proffit is good promter for windsurfing

Is sailing (boat) strong in UK?

Paducah
2435 posts
25 Oct 2023 3:04AM
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PhilUK said..
Equally strange that countries not noted for their sailing are making most of the kit - Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.


Not really. It's an economic/business decision, not a sporting one. Similar to that a lot of top end bikes are made in China and Taiwan but the number of top pro riders from either country pales in comparison compared to smaller countries like Belgium, Slovienia and even NZ.

Basher
521 posts
25 Oct 2023 3:22AM
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PhilUK said..

mark62 said..
We only have Fhot fins left.

After all the trading complications with Europe that Brexit brought us, Mathew from Demon Sails moved his sail making company to France.

As far as I'm aware, that's it, pretty poor show from us Brits...



Tushingham was the last major brand, but they moved production to China so I didnt really consider them as a UK brand so much.
When Roger Tushingham retired he decided to end the brand as he didnt want to sell the name on to become a 'name' passed around for money, like so many brands are these days.
There arent many boards/sails built outside Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Not the brands who sell higher volumes anyway. AHD boards are made in Tunisia, although I got the impression they might be moving to France with the higher end kit. Their foils are made in France, like Phantom.


That's not quite how I remember it.
There were three or four windsurf sail brands in the UK, and originally windsurf boards were also made in the UK using custom processes. But it became increasingly uneconomic for those brands* to survive when competing with world-wide brands that had huge production factories in the days when windsurf boards were made in vaste numbers.

As labour costs rose in Europe almost all sails and boards were later made in China, Sri Lanka - or famously in Thailand, at the Cobra factory.
Roger Tushingham went into mass-produced sails in the 1980s and these for a while were made at Chris Bowler's factory - and Chris had originally made Laser (dinghy) sails, under the one-design license.
When Roger wanted to do an Olympic campaign in the Flying Dutchman class he sold the Tushingham brand to Chris Bowler.
Chris was a engineering genius and truly believed in UK manufacturing, plus he ran his own village-based production line, situated about as far from the sea as you could get.
But eventually Chris wanted to retire (to follow his hobby of breeding pedigree sheep) , and Roger Tushingham bought the sail brand name back off him.

Roger then took some new windsurf sail designs (from Ken Black) to China, where they could be made in greater numbers, and much cheaper, and Ken was paid a royalty for each sail sold. The new pricing was very competitive, and Tushingham sails then became the biggest selling brand in the UK and also had significant sales in Holland.

But Tushingham as a company also branched out into other brands and they were the importers of Starboard designs, and later Severne, plus they started the SUP boom with Red Paddle designs, and quickly cornered that expanding market.
The company, by now called Tushingham Sales, was later sold on, and it was the accountants from the new owners who felt the original Tushingham sails brand was now uneconomic compared to what else the company was selling.
Basically, all the different sizes of windsurf sail were taking up a lot of storage space in the Tushingham warehouses - and the cost of storing stock is quite a thing in countries where land is expensive.

As you say, most brands we hear of now, be that boards or sails, or masts and booms etc, are not made in their native country.


*The original UK windsurfing brands are hard to remember now:

Lightwave boards were pretty big, and later we had MK customs and K-Bay boards.
With sails we had Tushingham, Bugler, Ken Black designs, and there were a couple of other sail lofts based in Cornwall, if I remember correctly.
Five Oceans sails originally started as Demon sails, specialising in the Div I and Div II racing classes.

Foil boards are now being made in the UK, so the custom market is not dead. The rising prices of imported good here, has meant it's now economic once again to make stuff in the UK, if in small numbers.

fpw9082
QLD, 166 posts
25 Oct 2023 5:58AM
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@Basher

www.windsurf.co.uk/tushingham-sail-production-end-december/

What is with boards uk forum, as I rember you had forum?

PhilUK
875 posts
25 Oct 2023 4:14AM
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Basher said..

PhilUK said..


mark62 said..
We only have Fhot fins left.

After all the trading complications with Europe that Brexit brought us, Mathew from Demon Sails moved his sail making company to France.

As far as I'm aware, that's it, pretty poor show from us Brits...




Tushingham was the last major brand, but they moved production to China so I didnt really consider them as a UK brand so much.
When Roger Tushingham retired he decided to end the brand as he didnt want to sell the name on to become a 'name' passed around for money, like so many brands are these days.
There arent many boards/sails built outside Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Not the brands who sell higher volumes anyway. AHD boards are made in Tunisia, although I got the impression they might be moving to France with the higher end kit. Their foils are made in France, like Phantom.



That's not quite how I remember it.


I'm well aware how Tushingham took over importing Starboard kit etc, as I've spoken to them. But Tushingham Sails are no more, like I said. He could have sold the name on like other brands have done, F2, Mistral, JP-Australia etc, and we would have had sails with Tushingham written on them.

ukwindsurfing.com/news/2016/tushingham-sail-production-end/
Roger Tushingham feels the time is right to call it a day:"The Bolt and XR Race are very strong designs; I don't want to sell the brand, I'd rather stop on a high and remember the fun we've had doing this over the past four decades"
All the staff at Tushingham would like to thank our customers past and present for their support and hope you've all had as much fun using them as we've had designing, testing, making and using them ourselves.
The Tushingham company is not leaving the windsurfing arena and continues to distribute Starboard, Severne, Aeron and Radz equipment in the UK. Production will stop at the end of the year so if a Tushingham sail is on your wish list, this is your last chance!

PhilUK
875 posts
25 Oct 2023 4:19AM
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Paducah said..

PhilUK said..
Equally strange that countries not noted for their sailing are making most of the kit - Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.



Not really. It's an economic/business decision, not a sporting one. Similar to that a lot of top end bikes are made in China and Taiwan but the number of top pro riders from either country pales in comparison compared to smaller countries like Belgium, Slovienia and even NZ.


Yes, it was an attempt at sarcasm. Most of the UK's shipbuilding died off in a similar fashion many years ago. I was in Denmark earlier this year, and they have some fantastic old shipyards updated for other uses as well.

PhilUK
875 posts
25 Oct 2023 4:24AM
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fpw9082 said..
@Basher

www.windsurf.co.uk/tushingham-sail-production-end-december/

What is with boards uk forum, as I rember you had forum?


The Boards magazine was another company which got bought out, by Mpora(?), who decided a printed/online windsurf magazine wasn't worth investing in. So the forum was wiped off the earth as well.

PhilUK
875 posts
25 Oct 2023 4:38AM
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fpw9082 said..

Is sailing (boat) strong in UK?


Yes, many Olympic medals. In Poole there are a lot of sailing clubs.
A local windsurfer, Glen, has a company making plastic injection molded dingies which looked good. They were Laser sort of size, larger than a Topper iirc. He had a massive van he used to get a few in to deliver them in. That cut his sailing spots down around the harbour as his van was too long for parking. I havent seen him for a while. I guess a lot of sailing boats are built in the UK by smaller companies like his.

Basher
521 posts
25 Oct 2023 9:57AM
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fpw9082 said..
@Basher

www.windsurf.co.uk/tushingham-sail-production-end-december/

What is with boards uk forum, as I rember you had forum?




Well the world has moved on a lot since then, but basically the whole windsurf market collapsed - first with the growth of kiting and then because of competition from other watersports like SUP. So ALL the windsurf companies went through a lot of changes and diversification.
Several classic brands ended up under the joint ownership of Boards and More, with a common European distribution network.
The brand names themselves weren't then actually worth much, except perhaps as a label for clothing.
We still see Mistral SUP boards - but sold in supermarkets like Lidl.

Many of the original windsurf brands were sold on or else disappeared. The Naish brand changed hands relatively recently, and Fanatic designs are now rebranded as Duotone. (Sometimes a brand name is dropped simply to save money, because someone somewhere is still earning royalties because of their part ownership of some original brand name, or their original logo. )

As it happens, I know a lot about Tushingham because I ran their race team for a few years and did some design and promo work for the brand.
I was also test editor for Windsurf magazine for a while, and later a journalist with other publications, and we all saw how the internet brought the death of magazine publishing. I can't think when I last bought a printed magazine in a news agents.

Boards magazine tried to go online only but soon disappeared because it was no longer a passion project for anybody.
The Boards forum - which I had arguably built up and kept going by making sure every question asked was answered - had no way of making any money back in those days, and so that too was folded. It had also had its day. And of course we have various specialist or localised facebook groups which serve a similar function nowadays.

Tushingham are still a very good and successful company, and a great bunch of people, but they simply no longer produce their own sails - and that's a shame because you still see the old ones everywhere.

In the UK, we still have a lot of activity in watersports, and can claim medal winners in several of the Olympic sailing classes. But there is also a lot of diversification in wind sports nowadays, and all the current growth is in foiling and winging. Kiting appears to be in decline. SUPs sell well when we have good 'summer' beach weather but not otherwise.
The covid lock down years also had a huge affect on travel and chosen leisure time - and on what events could be held - and the sporting world is still recovering from that.
In the UK, we also have a recession, largely caused by the Brexit act of self harm and by many other failed government policies.

But most of us are still around. People tend to either jump into the latest sport, or else they stick doggedly to the one sport that originally gave them so much fun. The younger generation go for the latest ideas and developing technology, or the cheapest gear, and perhaps the easiest to learn - and that's not windsurfing.

The strongest market for windsurfing is probably in France right now, but I'm not sure why. The pricing and availability of watersports gear might have something to do with it.

Longlines
64 posts
25 Oct 2023 10:24AM
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Thanks Basher.

A great summation of where we are at.

For me I fall into the doggedly category. WS was always great and still delivers.

peterowensbabs
NSW, 434 posts
25 Oct 2023 9:27PM
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Basher said..

PhilUK said..


mark62 said..
We only have Fhot fins left.

After all the trading complications with Europe that Brexit brought us, Mathew from Demon Sails moved his sail making company to France.

As far as I'm aware, that's it, pretty poor show from us Brits...




Tushingham was the last major brand, but they moved production to China so I didnt really consider them as a UK brand so much.
When Roger Tushingham retired he decided to end the brand as he didnt want to sell the name on to become a 'name' passed around for money, like so many brands are these days.
There arent many boards/sails built outside Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Not the brands who sell higher volumes anyway. AHD boards are made in Tunisia, although I got the impression they might be moving to France with the higher end kit. Their foils are made in France, like Phantom.



That's not quite how I remember it.
There were three or four windsurf sail brands in the UK, and originally windsurf boards were also made in the UK using custom processes. But it became increasingly uneconomic for those brands* to survive when competing with world-wide brands that had huge production factories in the days when windsurf boards were made in vaste numbers.

As labour costs rose in Europe almost all sails and boards were later made in China, Sri Lanka - or famously in Thailand, at the Cobra factory.
Roger Tushingham went into mass-produced sails in the 1980s and these for a while were made at Chris Bowler's factory - and Chris had originally made Laser (dinghy) sails, under the one-design license.
When Roger wanted to do an Olympic campaign in the Flying Dutchman class he sold the Tushingham brand to Chris Bowler.
Chris was a engineering genius and truly believed in UK manufacturing, plus he ran his own village-based production line, situated about as far from the sea as you could get.
But eventually Chris wanted to retire (to follow his hobby of breeding pedigree sheep) , and Roger Tushingham bought the sail brand name back off him.

Roger then took some new windsurf sail designs (from Ken Black) to China, where they could be made in greater numbers, and much cheaper, and Ken was paid a royalty for each sail sold. The new pricing was very competitive, and Tushingham sails then became the biggest selling brand in the UK and also had significant sales in Holland.

But Tushingham as a company also branched out into other brands and they were the importers of Starboard designs, and later Severne, plus they started the SUP boom with Red Paddle designs, and quickly cornered that expanding market.
The company, by now called Tushingham Sales, was later sold on, and it was the accountants from the new owners who felt the original Tushingham sails brand was now uneconomic compared to what else the company was selling.
Basically, all the different sizes of windsurf sail were taking up a lot of storage space in the Tushingham warehouses - and the cost of storing stock is quite a thing in countries where land is expensive.

As you say, most brands we hear of now, be that boards or sails, or masts and booms etc, are not made in their native country.


*The original UK windsurfing brands are hard to remember now:

Lightwave boards were pretty big, and later we had MK customs and K-Bay boards.
With sails we had Tushingham, Bugler, Ken Black designs, and there were a couple of other sail lofts based in Cornwall, if I remember correctly.
Five Oceans sails originally started as Demon sails, specialising in the Div I and Div II racing classes.

Foil boards are now being made in the UK, so the custom market is not dead. The rising prices of imported good here, has meant it's now economic once again to make stuff in the UK, if in small numbers.


Loday, Checkered pig, Bilbo,Tornado, Force four surf designs, Proteus, all UK/Irish brands from back in the day that I still have stickers from on my windsurfing trailer!

PhilUK
875 posts
25 Oct 2023 6:51PM
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I thought the thread was about current brands, but if we are naming older names then add sail lofts Dolphin (did sail-repair had something to do with them, checks, yes he did), Hy-line, Hot Wave (or was it New Wave or something else Wave). I had sails from all 3.

fpw9082
QLD, 166 posts
27 Oct 2023 12:10AM
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peterowensbabs said..

Loday, Checkered pig, Bilbo,Tornado, Force four surf designs, Proteus, all UK/Irish brands from back in the day that I still have stickers from on my windsurfing trailer!



These brands made surf not wsurf borads?

fpw9082
QLD, 166 posts
27 Oct 2023 12:11AM
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PhilUK said..
I thought the thread was about current brands, but if we are naming older names then add sail lofts Dolphin (did sail-repair had something to do with them, checks, yes he did), Hy-line, Hot Wave (or was it New Wave or something else Wave). I had sails from all 3.


Thread is for all UK wsurf equipment ,past -present-future

MrBlean
NSW, 10 posts
27 Oct 2023 6:44PM
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To add to the thread.....
Hot Wave made sails if I recall, at the budget end of the market. New Waves was a Braunton (North Devon) based manufacturer of pop-out surf and later windsurf boards. Vitamin Sea (more commonly known as Vit Sea) was a close rival to New Waves with their 292 (pregnant pig) and other boards. In Braunton there was also Second Skin wetsuits. Don't forget budget polyethylene board and sail manufacturer Vintna which I believe was based somewhere in the north east. Lodey Sails (owned by Paul Lodey and also based in the West Country) had a cult following for many years. The custom side of the industry thrived in the heydays of the 80's when production boards were **e. But once the big manufacturers started turning out decent boards, the incentive to pay a premium for a custom largely evaporated. You could buy a new board with rig for the same price as a custom alone and they performed well.

peterowensbabs
NSW, 434 posts
1 Nov 2023 4:32PM
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fpw9082 said..

peterowensbabs said..


Loday, Checkered pig, Bilbo,Tornado, Force four surf designs, Proteus, all UK/Irish brands from back in the day that I still have stickers from on my windsurfing trailer!




These brands made surf not wsurf borads?


No all of the above made windsurfing gear, I worked in the game briefly back then for force four.

patronus
315 posts
3 Nov 2023 4:55PM
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Not much of anything made in UK anymore.
MKwindsurfing is a UK brand of excellent value carbon booms and extensions, made in China



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"Any sail/board/fin company from UK?" started by fpw9082