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Windsurfing legend Peter Hart writes a letter to his younger self!

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Take yourself back to 1999 and the iconic Baz Luhrmann, Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen) song, then you will have the soundtrack to accompany Peter Hart writes a letter to his younger self!

From one iconic soundtrack to another icon of our times, it is the one and only irrepressible Harty! One of the best known and most influential windsurfers on the planet! Former British Speed and Slalom Champion, Author, Journalist, he has written four books, made 20, yes 20 videos and DVDs and currently you'll find him jet setting around the world to the best windsurfing spots with his international coaching clinics, what a man, what a legend! Aged 17 in France Harty first stepped on a board and the rest as they say is history! What would Harty say to that 17 year old? What would you say to your 17 year old self? Well you are in for a treat, because we get to find out!

As you read Harty's letter to his younger self, enjoy this golden nugget and soak up the light-hearted, profound, emotional, thought provoking journey it takes you on and most of all be entertained and enjoy! Oh and if he could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it!

By Emma Nicholson.

Peter Hart windsurfing

Dear Hart junior, Let me ease your passage through this wind driven career by offering you seven pieces of advice. I know you won’t listen because you like to do things ‘your way,’ but believe me, these are things I wish the older me had told me about and which I’ve learned through brutal experience. Anyway – good luck with it. It’s going to be a blast …! 1. Believe. When you start competing, your biggest enemy will be yourself. To begin with, lining up alongside people you’ve only seen in videos, you will have terrible imposter syndrome; feel you have no right to be there because you’re not good enough. That’s what they want you to think. Quite soon you’ll hear a lot of guff from a new breed of sport’s scientists about ‘the power of positive thinking,’ ‘belief’ and ‘winning the mental game.’ It may sound like a load of psychobabble but pay it some heed. You can only win if you believe you can win. When you end up leading the pack, and that will happen, don’t look back and say: “I hope I can hang on…” but instead look forward and say: “I wonder how much I can win by…” 2. Be Loyal. In the early days as the sport is exploding, there’ll be sponsorship deals a plenty. You’ll see some top riders going for the highest bidder and then change brands as soon as they can get a better deal or another has a better, faster model. Do that and you’ll soon run out of friends. The key to surviving in the industry is to realise that sponsorship is symbiotic. It’s not just about what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. Stay loyal to a brand as long as you can and build relationships. OK there may be a year when they’re not the best but ultimately that loyalty will be rewarded. 3. Embrace your speciality. Windsurfing is so popular right now but other board sport inventions will come along and try to steal its thunder. “Windsurfing is dying” the naysayers will cry. But it never does. It’s too good for that. It’s great to widen your net, have a go at these new things and be a beginner again. However, keep windsurfing as your speciality and it will always keep rewarding you. 4. No excuses. In a sport where there are so many variables (wind, water, kit etc), when things go wrong, it’s so easy to blame bad luck. You know: “I got an unlucky wind shift/the wind dropped/my footstrap came out/my boom slipped down etc etc” But isn’t it funny how luck seems to follow the good guys? Remember the mantra of golfer Gary Player? ‘The more I practice, the luckier I seem to get!’ Did you study the wind and the course before the race and time the wind shifts? Did you really check over your gear before going out?’ With a little extra effort, most ‘unlucky’; situations can be avoided. You won’t believe how many more contests I would’ve won if I’ve been a bit ‘luckier!’ 5. Coaching empathy. When you start coaching, you will still be on the pro circuit and be training daily in all sorts of crazy conditions, which of course you get used. In which case it’s easy to be unsympathetic to someone who’s terrified of launching into a 2 foot shorebreak. Not everyone is as gung ho as you! Make sure you take time out to talk to everyone on your courses one on one, to discover their true ambitions (which may be nothing like yours) and what their fears are. Many are afraid of speaking out for fear of looking stupid. The best times people will have is when they feel safe and under no pressure to perform.

6. Don’t be cavalier with your cuts, wounds and general health. I’m not a doctor but …I know you feel right now that nothing can touch you, but believe me, you’re not invincible! When you get a cut, don’t just ignore it and assume it will heal when you finally give it a chance to dry out. Wash it and cover it. My shins are now 90% scar tissue thanks to not caring for cuts – so that if I so much as bump them now, the skin rolls back like a sardine can. And one cut I got led to me ending up in ICU for a week and off the water for 6 months – you’ve been warned. 7. Wear sunscreen! When I was your age, I would go to these wonderfully exotic tropical hot spots, strip off, go sailing board shorts – get a little burned, peel but then end up bronzed and blond and ready to appear on the cover of the next Beach Boys album. But you should see me now – face with more wrinkles than an old leather sofa. And there have been a couple of visits to the surgeon to have some sinister, sun-damaged bits removed. Don’t take the risk. Wear a hat, factor 50 and be pale and interesting! Oh yes … and keep bending the knees. Much love to you junior

Hart (senior)

Feeling inspired? Why not start your windsurfing journey with us at The Official Test Centre? Call the centre 07817 717904 or go online to find out more!

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