New Faces at US Windsurfing!
We’re stoked to announce that Daphne Lathouras and Stephane Fitch have joined the board of US Windsurfing today! Daphne will lead US Windsurfing’s initiatives in the Mid-Atlantic region and Stephane in the Desert/Mountains region of the country.
“I’ve known Daphne for many years, Stephane more recently, and I’ve been struck by their enthusiasm and positive energy,” says Jerome Samson, president of US Windsurfing. “They’re already very active in promoting our sport in their respective areas and I know they’ll be hitting the ground running. We have many projects in the works this coming year, and all of us at US Windsurfing are eager to work with them both to bring these exciting initiatives to life!”
Daphne is taking over from George Markopoulos and Stephane from Barry Ritchey. “George and Barry’s contributions to the sport have been invaluable. We’re truly lucky to have benefited from their expertise all these years and they’re as thrilled as the rest of us to see Daphne and Stephane come on board. I know we can count on them to stay engaged and support our efforts moving forward!”
Please join us in welcoming Daphne and Stephane to the US Windsurfing team!
MORE ABOUT DAPHNE LATHOURAS
If you’re a windsurfer in the DC/Baltimore area, you know Daphne already: she’s currently Vice-Chair of the Baltimore Area Boardsailing Association (BABA) board of directors, is a WIPA-certified instructor and has been involved in teaching a one-week summer camp for kids at the Baltimore County Sailing Center for the past six years. Long before she started serving on the BABA board, Daphne was producing the monthly newsletter for the club (in print!), eventually managing the club website, and she was also actively racing in local regattas.
“I took my first windsurfing lesson when my parents retired and moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida,” she says. “Little did I know that my two-day windsurfing lesson with Laurel in Sarasota would introduce me to a sport, tribe, and lifestyle that would take over my life – in a good way! When I started dating Steve (now my husband) he quickly accepted that if he wanted to hang out with me he’d have to take up windsurfing too. And so it went!”
“We traveled to windsurf (instead of traveling for leisure) and had out butts kicked in many international spots where conditions were beyond our skill level, although I was always at least two steps ahead of Steve, so my rescue stories are not nearly as humorous as his. Our prenuptual trip was to one of the first ABK camps in Bonaire in 1998!”
These days, Daphne races regularly in the Kona Class: “I first tried Kona Class racing at a Windsurfing Enthusiasts of Tidewater (WET) regatta and then was swept enthusiastically into the class and the camaraderie at the 2016 Worlds in Islamorada. I haven’t looked back!”
MORE ABOUT STEPHANE FITCH
Stephane is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Though he grew up in Maine, sailing catamarans on lakes there, and despite the fact that he’s a capable surfer and highly advanced skier and rock-climber, he readily admits that he’s still very much a student of the sport of windsurfing. He got hooked on windsurfing during a visit with his in-laws near Sherman Island, California in 2016, and quickly learned the ropes from Jason Voss in the Bay Area and from Greg Mejlaender in Seattle. Along the way, he has become a huge proponent of the sport.
“Stephane is a real boardhead!” says Greg with a laugh. Every June and July, Stephane, his wife Mandy and their 12 year-old daughter Coco hook their windsurfing trailer to the family Jeep and head to Quebec City to windsurf at that city’s beloved Baie de Beauport on the St. Lawrence River. He’s windsurfed in Toronto, Hatteras, Dauphin Island, Galveston Bay, Corpus Christi and is already mapping out where to visit next.
Back home, Stephane spreads the gospel of windsurfing through the AZ Windsurfers Facebook page, which he inherited about a year ago and is followed by more than 100 people, mostly in Phoenix.
“Yes, we live in the desert, but I keep reminding people that we have incredible access to top-quality windsurfing here. Lake Pleasant, just 40 minutes north of Phoenix, is the perfect spot for learning. And Lake Mohave, a bit further out, is as good as you can find anywhere. It has beautiful, intense, steady winds, and welcoming sandy shorelines as well. It’s just an hour from one of the world’s most vibrant cities: Las Vegas. And I think someday, with a little development, it could become the Hood River of the Southwest!”
“This is a sport that requires a remarkable mix of strength, balance, mental focus and courage. I crash all the time, but I’m having so much fun! I’m honored to join the team and I’m looking forward to learning and contributing.”