• Team OTC

We Salute The King of Windsurfing!

By Emma Nicholson


There are not many people that posses that super-human quality that catapults them into the higher realms of legendary status, Dave White is definitely one! He is a true hero, a remarkable force, known as Whitey, he truly is the epitome of grit and determination and an inspiration to all windsurfers. He is the living definition of tenacity and persistence. Persevering and resolute in the face of adversity. I feel incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to interview one of the greatest windsurfers the world will ever see.


Dave's family heritage is dripping in sporting gold and his career as a professional windsurfer is bursting at the seams with speed records and world titles, how did it all start for the stratospherically talented windsurfing legend from Essex? Dave said: "I was 13. My dad had just finished a tornado event and brought back the first windsurfer back to the UK and that was where I first had a go."

Was it your dad Reg White who got you hooked on windsurfing?

"I suppose it was, but it wasn’t until I was a bit older that I started to get really hooked as I restarted."


"I then broke the British record for a custom board on the Ray, around 46.30 knots which has just been beaten last year."

Can you talk me through your windsurfing journey, right from the beginning, right up to today?

"It really kicked off in 1991 where I broke the production speed record at 38 knot which was quite convenient as the speed association was not going to let me continue competing in speed. I then broke the record a few more times over that year. I was then first invited to go to Maui with F2 for the photoshoot. That was the first time I sailed with Bjorn and Karen Jaggi.

"After F2 I then changed to Severne when it was first launched. Then in 2004 I broke the record again at the Trench in France at 44 knots. I was only going expecting to go to the event to take pictures as I had an injury. But as the conditions were so good, I had to give a few runs a go.

"Then I changed to Gaastra and Tabou where I sailed in Namibia for the speed challenge.

"After this I set up and ran an event on the Ray in Southend called 'Driven By Wind' and it included all the best speed sailors from over the world.

"I then broke the British record for a custom board on the Ray, around 46.30 knots which has just been beaten last year.

"After sailing less on the world tour and speed championships, I surprisingly (for a dyslexic) became the Editor of Boards Magazine, which was a good experience as I had no bias linked to any brand and could sail any kit and try it all.

"I then got back into representing RRD and distributing in the UK.

"In 2017 I suffered a stroke windsurfing out back in Mauritius, which left me with no movement in my right side. Ultimately stopping me from windsurfing for a while.

"The rehab has been long and hard work, but I am now getting back on the water more and more every day."

What is one of your best windsurfing memories? Is it being the World Record Speed Holder?

"You would think that it would be one of the answers above, but it was when I was taking pictures of the BWA Wave events and then taking part in the Masters' class, until I won it.

"Then I went into slalom, where I was always finishing between 7th and 11th. I was bloody fast along the straights, but useless around the buoys. So, I would say my best memories were always the biggest challenges."


"The rehab has been long and hard work, but I am now getting back on the water more and more every day."

What is your biggest motivator?

"Mark Woods."

What is your favourite type of gear?

"Freestyle wave boards!"

What do you think the benefits are to people’s mental health by windsurfing?

"The thing is with windsurfing, it’s takes over your whole mind. I feel like once you step on a board and get out there, you just windsurf and think about nothing else."

What is your biggest achievement with your windsurfing?

"Breaking records!"


"The very first day in hospital where I looked at my situation, I knew mentally I would make myself windsurf again."

What is your favourite spot to windsurf?

"Maui."

Who inspires you?

"Skyboy. Peter Hart, Timo but for all different aspects of their sailing."

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt throughout your windsurfing?

"The only thing I thought when I was windsurfing, was I was going to win, no matter what discipline. But when I did freestyle, and I lost. I learnt that it was just the challenge that kept me striving to be the best."

When you suffered the stroke did you ever think you would be back on a windsurfing board?

"The very first day in hospital where I looked at my situation, I knew mentally I would make myself windsurf again. I had no doubts. Admittedly, it was longer than I was expecting, but it was never in doubt. I think that is what got me through it."

Can you talk me through your journey of recovery?

"I was in hospital for three weeks in Mauritius and three in England. Once I got back home, I still couldn’t walk or talk. Every day, I did therapy whether it was speech or physio. The aim was always how could I adapt my rebab to get me back to windsurfing.

"I attended every gym / physio class that I could get to. Had help from Pam to get me back to walking at home and once I was back on my feet, I had a mast and boom which I would always use and practice in the garden getting my strength back.

"It wasn’t until two years later that I was back in Vass and with the help of Max and Ollie, I got back on the board in the water and took my first proper steps. Ever since then it was all about practice and getting myself fitter and stronger.

"My family are incredible. Sally and Reece came out when I was in hospital with me. But when I got back, each of my family had their own view of what I’ve been through and how they wanted to help me. It didn’t matter if it was Sally, Reece, Samantha or Aaron but they all supported me so much, I wouldn’t of done it without them.

"When I couldn’t talk for my first year, Sally knew me telepathically, when I struggled to get any words out, she would just know what I wanted.

What drives you to be so determined?

"I think it’s being determined; I just want to get myself back fully fit and windsurfing again. Nothing else."

You are such an inspiration to so many, what would you say to somebody that is struggling?

"That’s a hard one. Because I never realised, I was influential. Try and live every day as if it’s going to be your last and always have a goal, no matter how big or small."


"Photography, It captures every moment and emotion that a windsurfer has. It captures what your wind thinks you’re doing, but you cannot see it."

On those days when it is tough, how do you get through the days when it is particularly tough? Your resilience is so profound?

"I don’t think of them as tough days, there is always someone out there that is worse than you and I’ve appreciated everything that I have done in my life. Since my stroke I’ve only cried once. I broke my hand in several pieces trying to snowboard and the doctor told me I wouldn’t windsurf. But After 10 minutes, I was over it. Back at thinking only about my goal."

What advice would you give young windsurfers today?

"Spend every moment you possibly can out on the water. Only ever look to come first but losing only makes you stronger."


"Try and live every day as if it’s going to be your last and always have a goal, no matter how big or small."

What do you love about photography?

"It captures every moment and emotion that a windsurfer has. It captures what your wind thinks you’re doing, but you cannot see it."

What are you passionate about the most?

"Windsurfing and photography."

What are your hopes for the future?

"Well somebody did give me the idea of winning a Paralympic medal… But really, it’s just to get back to the best I possibly can at windsurfing and enjoying the ride."

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