1948-1949 S. Newman Darby (then 20 years old) came up with the idea of using a hand held sail system mounted on a universal joint for a small catamaran. Hulls were built and tested on water. This experimental model had problems. Newman designed and built a rudderless sailboat that steered by shifting his weight to tilt sail fore and aft. Because of this experiment he could sail his first sailboard later on.
November 1964 Naomi and Newman got married.
After the wedding, they talked to relatives about manufacturing
these sailboards. December
1964 Newman's brother Ken had been watching with interest,
so he quit his job and began forming the
January 1965 Darby Industries made
their first metal universal joint for the mast foot. Spring 1965 Newman bought and used
his first wetsuit to test sailboards.
Spring 1965 Diane Albrecht impressed Popular Science's
photographer by out-running the motorboat he was shooting pictures
from. The motorboat could do about 14 mph. The fastest monohull
sailboat under 12' couId only do about 12mph at that time.
SPRING 1965 Newman met with his brother Ronald
(a scientist and advisor to the president of the U.S.A.) who
became a stock holder. They studied the use of other sail rig
designs that may be used. Newman then designed the sloop rig
for the sailboords. The main sail on this sloop rig became the
popular three sided shape.
June 1965 The personnel
of Darby Industries had a meeting to name the sport. They decided
to call it Sailboarding and the craft a sailboard.
July 1965 Darby Industries had their first seminar
on the water. It was basically to teach their reps., stock holders,
and employees more about handling a sailboard. Some of the sailors
started developing the technique of holding the bowed boom in
front of them. Some started wave hopping and body dips. Nearly
100 persons were watching. The wind was blowing at about 20 mph.
July 1965 Newman made and tested a skeg (fin)
on a sailboard. Charles Hawk (a stockholder and sailboard rep
from Virginia) wrote up the first patent application papers for
Darby Industries, Inc. Newman made two scale models of a 12'
long' surfboard - like sailboard for their new model. They were
displayed in their store. Naomi Darby took the first movies of
a Sailboard in action. Darby Industries sold 60 sailboards to
Lomma Industries. Mrs. Ralph Lomma taught her students to sail
holding the bowed boom in front of them.
August 1965 Popular Science Magazine published
a four page article on sailboarding. This magazine went to many
countries. Hundreds of letters came, one as far away as India.
August 1965 Darby Industries, inc. had a bad fire
in the foam cutting shop. Due to loses and poor sales the patent
was dropped and the new 12' surfboard-like hull was shelved.
September 1965 Plans for do-it-yourselfers to make
sailboards were sold through adds in Popular Science classified
section. Later Popular Mechanics, boating magazines, newspapers,
and tv started showing this new sport. A model
1966 An article by Newman Darby was published in the
A.Y.R. S. magazine in England. Soon businesses in Europe were
contacting them. Adds for other sailboard manufacturing companies
in America were now being seen.
Summer 1966 Ken Darby sailed a sailboard across
the Chesapeake Bay and back at Annapolis, MD. This was the longest
trip to this date
Autumn 1966 Ken Darby claimed that they mode about
160 sailboards and were losing money on them. They then switched
to making boats, bathtubs, and sinks. They kept selling plans.
They went back in the sailboard business during the early 1980's.
1967 It is heard that James Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer
had a sailboard called "The Door" of rectangle shape,
similar to the Darby Sail-board. Also that they built surfboard-like
shaped sailboards. Movies were taken of JamesDrake teaching himself
to sail a sailboard.
1968 James Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer applied for
a U.S. patent for a sailboard with a wishbone boom on it.
June 1997 American WindSurfer published an article
titled "Origins of Windsurfing Exclusive New Evidence Newman
& Naomi Darby".
August 1997 Newman and Ken Darby come to Portland for a wedding and were invited by Windance to visit the Gorge and tell their story. The lobby of the Convention Center was filled to over flowing with people who wanted to hear the REAL beginnings of Windsurfing. Newman received a standing ovation for his presentation.