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Witchcrafts History

As a 13 year old boy, Bouke Becker fell in love with our fantastic sport. After he started together with his younger brother, he quickly felt the call of the wind, forgotten was home work or football training, when the trees started moving. He worked in his spare time to afford his first equipment, a Mistral Take Off and an old typical “bakbrommer” took him to the spots before owning a driver´s license. The first witchcraft boards were made 1985, on Boukes home island, the Dutch north sea island Terschelling. Together with his enthusiastic mate Gossen, who is still windsurfing “Witchies” on their home island, they started to shape and construct boards for themselves and their friends…

After studying engineering and working various years for a dutch company on infra-structural projects in Malaysia, England, Israel, France, Wales, Ireland and Argentina, he arrived 1993 on Fuerteventura, working as a windsurf instructor. But soon he saw the need to follow his passion, to develop his own ideas in construction and board shaping. Not much later, Bouke built the first boards for his local windsurf mates. He started with a little basement shop, for board- and sail repairs and high quality hardware. A nightly meeting point for windsurfers and tourists to talk about the day on the water, about constructions, shapes and sail designs. One of them was a German engineer, who told him about Dyneema fibres, twice as strong as Aramid (Kevlar) and used for the production for army helmets and other ballistic applications. To see if this super strong material could be a solution to increase the durability of the boards, Bouke started to experiment with Dyneema boards in 1994. It turned out, the Dyneema fibre has extremely useful properties, but you have to know how to work with it. But after a lot of research, we found out which type of Dyneema, treatments, resins, lay-up, laminating and finishing methods works best together. Such a research takes many years. Now Bouke knows all the ins and outs of the material and is even consulted for other composite purposes such as F1.

Development

Over the years Witchcraft has seen a continuously growing demand and we have continuously been developing our technologies in shapes and constructions. This has led to the invention of our progressive rail; “(r)evolution of the rail” in 2003. A clever shape of the rails and bottom, using the difference in water contact between planing and turning, to get the best combination. Still implemented today in the Wave V3, 4 and 5.
Since 1997 we´ve been working non stop on the trifin. Through the use of the 4wfs, underwater filming and Computer Fluid Dynamics, we could finally analyse exactly what happens to the water flow underneath the board, resulting in our low drag pretwisted side fins.

In 2007 we implemented our own advanced CAD/CAM system, developed with the help of 2 engineers from the TU Delft. The system not only shapes, but also cuts the PVC sandwich, reinforcements and inserts. With this system we could kick off a second production facility in Eastern Europe. Modern science and technologies helps to multiply the speed of the development process and it is way more accurate than good old trial and error.

The time came for our Flextails, an old idea re-invented and now made to work through a new anti torsion flex system and successfully brought to production in 2010. A flextail gives an automatically adapting rockerline and is like having 2 boards in one.

The need to improve also on the mast extension, ended up in 2012 in our XHD extensions, with its much higher strength without increasing weight. That became possible through analysing, which way extensions break and the use of finite elements calculations. Windsurfing is a complex interaction of the components and the forces of nature and not least of the respective windsurfers. It is therefore only logical that Bouke could not be only focused on boards and fins. Through the impact of the improved production techniques, he was able to continue step by step. Experimenting with sail design was a topic from the very beginning. But as always in life, everything has its right time. To go back to the roots means in Witchcrafts history, as well a big leap forward. Since 2014 we have taken on sail design again with Boukes unique sails concept, with a medium amount of pre-shape.

Today our custom boards, our hand crafted semi-custom boards and masts are produced in Europe, using selected material we buy in Europe but if needed also from all over the world. We have good and long term partners in China and an international team around the world, as in Europe and especially here on Fuerteventura, where all the invention and power comes from. Bouke invites excellent windsurfing students from prominent universities, to participate on development projects, which he writes out. He is offering the youth to participate on his knowledge’s and expertise by inviting one intern per year. After we came out with the Witchcraft sails, we realised once again how important it is for our clients, to try, to touch and to feel our products themselves, in variety conditions and moments. That new feeling needs space and the possibility to show the real potential in improvement of the riding style. Test centres or equipped team riders are in Baja, Chile, Canada and USA, South Africa, Morocco, Russia, Finland, Norwegian und Denmark, in France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, UK and Spain, on Gran Canaria, Tenerife and last but not least…on Fuerteventura.

Business Philosophy

Over the years since we started on Fuerteventura in 1993, we were asked from time to time, to build boards for other well known brands. Being proud to be asked, Bouke always decided not to do so. Witchcraft should stay an authentic brand. Clients know the real philosophy of Boukes products. They arise through every single customer, every repair and the possibility to test first all developments directly in our “back yard” and later with our team, on spots all over the world. Producing for other brands would interrupt and distract our own development process and the production. Too often would face the question of which customer should be given priority, if you want to keep production times as short as possible. The other brands or the own ones…? Since the windsurf market is very volatile and not really expansive, we should act very responsible with jobs and resources. The pressure to increase business fast, is always tempting and maybe it is the rhythm of the new world. We have decided on our own path. Talking about growth, we mean a wider pallet of own products with higher standards, own and honest development for an acceptable and competitive price “old school”, we know.

Our 12 weeks waiting list for customs and for our semi customs we take as a reference. There are a lot of windsurfers out there, understanding that only an ordered board is a needed board. They save us to waste resources, they decide for high end technologies, quality and real personal support only a small brand can offer. Gratefully we can say, our customers make it possible for us to follow successfully our way.
To give something back, we feel as well the responsibility to support the windsurf sport, to keep windsurfing alive and to promote our fantastic Island. Fuerteventura, a great windsurfing destination, with beautiful spots for all levels and wind directions. Furthermore we support from time to time local contests in different countries with some prizes or sponsoring. We equipped various pro riders in their early years, before they became known and moved on. We help to create contents for magazines and online magazines, or when requested, we are happy to provide material for testing. You can follow our latest news and stories on Facebook and Instagram and interesting articles on our blog.

We all are responsible for our own ecological footprint. For us allready since the start of Witchcraft, an issue in our life, work and spare time. On our island Fuerteventura, we have such a fragile and barren nature. Water is a rare good and to save that biosphere with the ocean and their rare endemic flora and fauna is a must. Asked in interviews about our efforts to produce sustainable, we could answer that we are experimenting since the beginning, to work with new components like resins, board fillings and other ideas. Unfortunately most so called “eco friendly” materials are less strong and durable and not that eco friendly as they pretend to be either, still being non recyclable. But we have to accept that reducing our ecological footprint to a minimum, means for our production a responsible handling of used material, reducing off cuts, through recycling of residual material (for bean bags, pillows or bags) and the most important reason is anchored in our philosophy, the long durability of our Witchcraft products. To close the circle, our designs are created to perform repairs with minimal effort, minimal footprint.

Why Witchcraft?

• Ongoing development. We breathe windsurfing.

• Time on the water is extremely valuable; we want to reduce missed sessions due to equipment failure as much as possible.

• Leading technologies in design and construction.

• Leading experts in working with Dyneema based composites since 1994. (Dyneema; twice as strong as Aramid (Kevlar), twelve times as impact resistant as carbon)

• Focused on the essential; reduced marketing, timeless designs, repair friendly concepts.

• Real improvement is the only reason for changes and they can be implanted immediately.

• Unmatched durability/weight ratios. Not even if you would want to pay double, would this be possible to improve with the current commercially available materials.

• Reliable quality; windsurfers and very skilled craftsmen who are with us for many years.

• Worldwide delivery. The semi customs and sails already include shipping costs to most destinations within the EU. Check with us for the costs to other destinations.

• Adapted to your needs, through personal advice and after sales support.

• Bigger ranges of use. Our team riders usually just have 1 or 2 boards for all their conditions.

• Customisation. Our custom boards can be adapted even more to your needs. Volumes can be chosen to the litre, weights to 200gr, sizes to the mm. Foot strap positions, heel cushions, custom graphics, reinforcements, etc. can all be adapted to you and your sailing. You tell us all about your sailing and expectations and we’ll decide the shape with a guarantee!

• Due to the durability and board production in Europe, the least damaging windsurf products for the environment.

• Resale value. A 3 year old Witchcraft usually still outperforms and lasts longer than any regular brand new board.

• Best guarantee conditions on the market.

• Repairing of boards and sails from all other brands; this allows us to check them inside and out and get feedback from their users.

• Our R&D centre on Fuerteventura, where you will find a very wide variety of conditions, within a short distance from our R&D centre and a high frequency of conditions all through the year. You can be sailing +220 days in a year.

• Testing international; test centres and equipped test riders we have in Baja, Chile, Canada and USA, South Africa, Morocco, Russia, Finland, Norwegian und Denmark, in France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, UK and Spain, on Gran Canaria, Tenerife and last but not least…Fuerteventura. See here or contact us and tell us what you want to test and where you are based.

Our biggest reward and best promotion is to see our customers with a big smile on the water.
We take having fun very seriously… See you on the water 😊