It's a long way from 1963 and the first sailboard to today's kite surfing.
S. Newman Darby, Inventor of the Sailboard, Dies at 88 - The New York Times
S. Newman Darby, a sign painter whose passion for boating led him to invent a sailboard that is widely acknowledged as the first windsurfing craft, died on Dec. 3 at his home in St. Johns, Fla. He was 88.
His daughter Wendy Darby Brown confirmed the death.
Mr. Darby created his sailboard in 1964 out of frustration because the waves on lakes, like the one near his home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were not big enough to surf on.
His solution was to attach a sail to a surfboard, and the combination worked. But it was flawed: It could not turn sharply or go well against the wind. So he created a universal joint using a nylon rope to link the sail to the board. This enhanced his control of steering and speed.
Mr. Darby’s enthusiasm spilled over into an article he wrote for Popular Science magazine in 1965 about his invention.