Island Windsurfing was founded in 1974 on the island of Martha’s Vineyard by Platt Johnson, Dennis Dixon and Kiki Saltmarsh. Originally the company specialized in rigging racing sailboats and selling Windsurfers. Over time the company gradually moved away from the rigging business and more towards selling windsurfers. Dennis and Kiki left the company to pursue other careers. In 1979 the business moved to Newport Rhode Island and incorporated.
Island Windsurfing’s first mainland location was a 1,000 square foot former linen closet on Bannister’s Wharf in downtown Newport. In 1981 it moved to 375 Thames St. to a larger location. Through the next three years the company expanded and changed it’s name to Island Sport’s. The company moved into and then back out of sailboats carrying Hobie Cat, Laser, Sunfish and Howmar. In 1984, after the loss of the America’s Cup, Island Sports moved to a 7,000 square foot location near the ocean and has been there ever since. Originally we were one of four tenants in the building bit by expanding and growing the store we now are the sole tenant and own the building.
Island Sports became the country’s oldest Windsurfing specialty shop continuously running in the United States and covers all aspects of Windsurfing from beginner lessons and rentals to intermediate equipment to competition equipment.
Island Sports was also one of New England’s largest Surf shops carrying such well known brands as Channel Islands, Rusty, Lost, Robert August, Surfboards Hawaii, Bic Sport and Angulo.
Island Sports was one of the first snowboard dealers in the world and carries Burton, Ride, 5150 and others. We were also active in skateboards, bicycles, and BMX.
Island Sports did about 45% of its volume in active sports clothing featuring such brands as Quiksilver, Volcom, Billabong, Hurley, Patagonia, North Face, Etnies, Rusty, Roxy, Raisins, Reef, Point Conception, O’Neill and others.
Island Sports and its employees have been featured regularly in industry magazines and journals, including the Action Sports Retailer magazine, Time International and Sports Illustrated.
Island Sports moved onto the World Wide Web in 1998 and operated several associated web sites. Our principal website, www.islandsports.com, received over 800,000 hits in March of 2005. We have a full time information systems team and serve our own web pages via 5 Dell servers housed in a custom environment.
In 2007 Island Sports was sold to Symon Cousens of Middletown Rhode Island. He ran a surf shop across the street and always wanted to have our larger location on 86 Aquidneck Avenue. Symon continues to run the store today but specializes more in the surf and standup world. Hence the re-emergence of the original site www.islandwindsurfing.com