From the early days of intense international windsurfing competition, through windsurfing’s peak popularity, to today’s modern evolutions, Cort Larned has been inspiring windsurfers worldwide as much as any American figure ever has.
Born in Grosse Point, Michigan, Cort started windsurfing in 1976 after he moved to the West Coast of Florida. He burst into international prominence with his unexpected win at the 1978 Windsurfing World Team Championships in Sardinia, Italy, with fellow Hall of Famers Rhonda Smith and Matt Schweitzer. A year later, Cort followed that with an individual Overall Windsurfing World Championship in Greece. By 1980, Cort was a prominent member of the first wave of American superstars dominating the sport, winning the Wrigley’s International Series in Australia, receiving international press coverage in magazines worldwide, and even showing up in national tv commercials for Sunkist soft drink and Pan Am Airlines, which helped launch the sport’s popularity in America. Cort became a top American racer on the newly-formed World Cup circuit from 1983 until 1987 as the leader of the prominent Fanatic brand team until he was forced to retire due to a series of injuries. With competitions behind him, Cort turned himself into the most recognized teaching authority in the sport. With an award-winning video series, and a national clinic tour crisscrossing the country, visiting locations where windsurfing superstars were rarely seen Cort was accessible to all. His permanent instruction locations in Hood River, Maui, and San Francisco, along with his role as Instructional Editor for Windsurfing magazine, gave him unmatched reach in helping thousands of windsurfers hone their techniques. With first-hand knowledge of the equipment challenges facing the average sailor, Cort launched the brand Finworks, and became the worlds largest producer of windsurfing masts when he was CEO of Quality Composites, bringing the benefits of world-class equipment r+d to equipment for the masses. Since 2011, Cort has been helping current windsurfers and those evolving into new offshoots of the sport get their fix though his owning of the premier watersports store in the San Francisco Bay Area, 101 Surf Sports. Few windsurfers have touched more people than Cort Larned.
Tom James, former editor Windsurfing Magazine
Cort in the waves, a fearless competitor, winning the Wrigley's International Series, Australia. Photo Darrell Wong.
Cort's quiver. Photo Darrell Wong
Fanatic Cort at Hookipa, Photo Jonathan Weston
Who are these rascals?
The Fab Five. Mike Waltze, Matt Schweitzer, Rhonda Smith Sanchez, Cort Larned, Ken Winner.