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Get to Know More than Sail Size - Steve Bodner

Apr 4, 2012

Author: Will Splashtack (Michigan Windsurfing)

For the second installment our Get to Know More Than Sail Size series, Michigan Windsurfing’s Will Splashtack sneaked into the city by the bay to interview Steve Bodner, USA 4.  Steve is another Michigan/Ohio-made windsurfer who has definitely made his ‘mark’.  If you followed the recent Lord of the Wind Showdown or the La Ventana Classic, then you’ll already be aware of some of Steve’s most recent accomplishments.  If not, then meet Steve!

Will Splashtack (WS):  Steve, thanks so much for taking the time to talk again.  Michigan Windsurfing did a very brief story on you almost two years ago, but you’ve been involved in so many things lately that we thought it was time to get to know more about your story.  Let’s start with where you grew up and how and where you first learned to windsurf.

Steve Bodner:  I grew up down the road in Toledo Ohio, starting out junior sailing at the Jolly Roger Yacht Club - a very blue collar sailing club on the Ottawa River. We sailed Lasers, FJ's and Thistles, competing every summer at the Junior Bay Week in Put-in-Bay and going onto to the National Junior Championships for a few years in a row.  We had a really good group of friends and this made sailing and racing exciting.  I continued with dinghy racing crewing for a lot of people at the club and learning the ropes racing Interlakes & Thistles around the Great Lakes and smaller lakes in Ohio and Michigan.  These were really formative years in that I gained a strong sailing and racing background within the camaraderie of our small sailing community.

I tried windsurfing, for the first time, at Camp Store Summer Camp in Brooklyn, Michigan and was hooked!  A few years later, I made a bet with my parents, at the age of 12, to give up TV for a year in exchange for my first windsurfing board - an Ypsi Wayler, from Rod Clevenger at Sailboard Alley in Toledo.  I can remember driving home with my parents and sailing on a local pond a mile or two from our house.  My dad had to drive me back from the other side of the pond quite a few times as I only knew how to sail one way.  Rod Clevenger and a few other racers really helped me along while I was a young pup taking me to regattas and making sure I was on the right track.  As I began to get better at local regattas in early 90's, I ventured further and started competing regionally at the MOWIND regattas in Wisconsin, Michigan and the east coast.  I think it was in 1991 that we had the US Windsurfing championship in Lorain, Ohio.  Everyone raced IMCO’s back then, and there was a big fleet of light, medium and heavyweights.  I remember getting 2nd Place in the Nationals that year and it really pushed me to keep going.  In 1993, the IMCO World Championships were in Canada - only a 30 hour+ drive to Gimli, Manitoba.  I was stoked on the racing scene as we had a lot of juniors from around North America.  I was never the top guy but kept going and never gave up.  Every winter I would take a week or two off from school and go down to train at the Banana River Windsurfing Resort, where there would be top Olympians from around the world training.  This was probably the first time I received any training and I got better right away.  Right after graduating high school in 1994, I headed down to Savanna, GA to compete at the US Olympic Sailing Trials, finishing mid-fleet, but that was just the first of many trials to come.

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