Eduardo Rodrigues Joins the Board of US Windsurfing!
We’re stoked to introduce Eduardo Rodrigues as our new director at US Windsurfing for the Southeast region!
Eduardo was born in Brazil but now lives in Jacksonville, FL, and he’s been an active one-design racer on the national stage for years, on a Kona at first, and most recently on the IQ Foil. He’s taking up the baton from Ron Kern. Mighty big shoes to fill: Ron has been a pillar of US Windsurfing for decades, and we all look up to him for his achievements on the race course and his involvement with the community. We’ll miss Ron’s wisdom and coolness big time, but we’re totally confident that Eduardo is up to the task. We love his energy, he’s super positive, and we can’t wait to work with him to hash out exciting new plans for our association.
We asked Eduardo to write up a few words to introduce himself to you all. Here it goes! Parabéns, Eduardo, and welcome to the team!
My name is Eduardo Soares Rodrigues, and I was born in Brazil in 1976. I’ve been sailing recreationally since I was very young. I got a taste of competing early on, especially in the Snipes class, where I went as far as Japan in 1998 to represent Brazil at the hemispheric championships. But one day during practice – I think I was 19 years old – I saw someone on a Mistral literally zipping by our fleet. I was absolutely impressed by the whole thing. It was so fast, cool, and physical, but most amazingly, it looked so simple! My future was set. Little did I know that it was Bimba on that board that day (if you know Brazilian windsurfing, you know Bimba!), and that it would take me some time to even dream of going that fast!
Life gets busy. I got into medical school, went through anesthesia residency, then retrained in Rochester, MN at the Mayo Clinic before moving to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2011 to be part of this fantastic Mayo Clinic health care system. But you can’t spend time in the beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach area without feeling the urge to get back on a board, and reignite that competitive spirit too.
I did a bit of research, and I came across the Kona. It looked friendly, exciting, and wonderfully inclusive. In no time, I bought one, and that thing immediately took me back to my 18-yr old self. Every time I hopped on it, I felt like a kid. The kit was really pragmatic: you could use it to learn, cruise around, race, and freeride in the ocean. It worked just fine from 4 to 25 knots. I launched so many times from Jax Beach in the late afternoon seabreeze. Life was good! Eventually, I moved to the foil and became a dedicated foiler because I lacked the time to do both, fin and foil. But for sure, my passion for gliding across the water on a longboard is still there.
It wasn’t long before I started to compete again. Over the last few years, I have participated in all the competitive events that life has allowed me to, from regionals to nationals, world championships to Olympic class regattas. I’m also diving in as a race organizer, because when you love something, you want to share it with others. In the last few months, I’ve helped organize three events at my club in Jacksonville, all quite successful and very well received by the competitors. I’m particularly proud of the fact that the events we do are budget-conscious and support a good cause, like blood donations or lung transplants. It’s my schooling coming through, of course, but I love being able to marry my two passions.
Windsurfing is a wonderful, life-changing sport, in all its variety, and my personal goal is to help make it accessible for all ages. I’d love to create a program with local schools to foster young sailors, for instance, and expand my involvement as a race organizer to host more beginner-friendly, multi-class regattas in the southeast.
I’m really excited to join the team at US Windsurfing to promote the sport we all love!