Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The spirit of the wind lives here. This is a place where individuals from all walks of life, and all parts of the world, join together to celebrate their passion for sailing on snow or ice. There are no restrictions or judgments - only enthusiasm and accommodation.
The history of this extraordinary sport flourishes in the hearts and minds of the many and varied individuals that make up the membership.
Since 1980 we have convened a once a year World Championships with the goal of finding the best racer in the world at that time.
In the beginning, we were a widely scattered group of windsurfers just learning about sailing on frozen surfaces. Over time, we have become the oldest and best established community of ice and snow sailors in the world.

On the race course we have three divisions:
1] OPEN CLASS: Any sled powered by a windsurfing rig- the only restriction is that the rider must stand while sailing
2] HAND HELD: Any sail or wing held by the sailor directly
3] KITES: All forms of tethered sails (sails on lines)

The World Ice and Snow Sailing Association (W.I.S.S.A.) was officially formed at Lake Worthsee in Germany, in 1987. At that time, the existing requirement of at least 5 different nations to make an official World Championships was formalized.
The WISSA organization was registered, rules and by laws were created and a degree of formality was established. Thankfully, it never got too far out of hand, and the informality that has been the hallmark of WISSA’s survival took over.
In 1991, Victor Hendriksson, acting on behalf of the Estonian Yachting Union organized a World Championships (in the then Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia) that would forever change the course of WISSA – that’s all of ice and snow sailing history.
The incredible mass of talent, ideas, and enthusiasm that had been bottled up behind the “Iron Curtain” was introduced to the western world. The chemistry was magic and the sport was eternally altered for the better.

The first kite turned up in Finland in 1990. The first wing in 1991. By 1993 both were welcomed as official racing classes.
Throughout all of it, racing on an Olympic Course has been the constant. Speed Trials and a Long Distance Marathon have been important as well, but the main emphasis has been upon course racing- always.

Venues shift from North America to Europe in alternating years so as to be fair to all. We have affiliates in Australia, Asia, and New Zealand, but the main body of participation is centered about the Atlantic so racing continues to go between Europe and North America.

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