Aeronautical engineer Jim Drake had already solved the "puzzle" of pairing a surfboard with a sail when a young man who stopped to admire "the Baja Board" in the late 1960s suggested what he called "the perfect name": the Windsurfer.
In his Santa Monica garage, Drake had designed and built a prototype meant to be ridden in a novel way — standing up — and steered by an inventive hand-held sail assembly. He first tested the board in 1967 off Marina del Rey and the "wind-propelled apparatus" was patented three years later.
The craft caused the sport to take off in Europe, and by the early 1980s about 200,000 Windsurfers had been sold. When windsurfing debuted as an Olympic sport in 1984, Drake watched the first races off Long Beach. There was also an amorphous measure of the board's influence: "Windsurfing" essentially became the generic name for the sport.