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Original Issue

Bring out the spring boards

Boardsailing began as a warm-weather sport but today, even in early spring, boards with colorful sails can be spotted darting across lakes and along shorelines like waterborne butterflies. All-season sailing thrives because manufacturers have improved wet suits with new designs and hi-tech materials; for example, neoprene now comes in varying densities and is made more durable when sandwiched between nylon layers. At present there are 800,000 boardsailors around the world, one of whom, Drew Merklinghaus (above), hangs around on Seattle's Lake Union in a nylon and neoprene suit ($125) from Rip Curl.

At McKees Beach on Puget Sound, Wendy Bus (left) takes 10 in a Pacific Sailboards suit ($280) while Karen Anderson stretches out in an elastic racing suit ($145) by CB Sports that will be available in fall.

Drew wafts over the water at Seattle's Union Bay Sailboard Club in a pullover ($65) and pants ($30) from Breezin' Sportswear that are made of spinnaker cloth and coated with water-resistant urethane.

Daryl West almost flips he's having so much fun at Lake Union in a Rip Curl 2mm double-nylon and neoprene suit ($155). His 5mm neoprene booties ($45) with non-skid soles are from Pacific Sailboards.

Catching a spring breeze, Celeste Barnett takes off in lightweight stretch polyurethane that's lined with nylon-terry by Ronny ($280), while Drew and Celeste ride tandem in suits from Pacific Sailboards ($245). Bruce Anderson, getting down to a basic O'Neill suit ($175), slips off his sleeves with Velcro fasteners.