Windbreaks for the beach
The beach windbreak or windbreaker was probably first introduced around the time of the deckchair, which dates back to the early 20th Century and the golden age of cruise liners and Victorian beach goers.
Whilst there is no historical evidence to support the fact, it is highly probable that the Isle of Wight had some of the first beach windbreaks made. Ventnor was very popular with Victorian travellers, especially the upper classes, who would have been first to catch on to the trends and fashions of the time.
There is some evidence to show that Vintage windbreaks were of floral pattern design and I suspect would have been made from canvas, cotton and any other material they had spare at the time. These would not have lasted long as the cotton and canvas would have rotted reasonably quickly.
Designer windbreaks such as our 3 panel windbreak came much later and making windbreaks from recycled sailcloth and sails has only been happening (on a larger scale) for a few years.
In the 1970s and 80s fabric design and textile technology improved, but the look of the windbreak became functional and the nasty nylon stripe windbreaks one still sees were popular. Cheap and supposedly functional these windbreak eras are associated with windbreaks falling down, deckchairs collapsing, kiss me quick hats and saucy postcards. All very English.
The windbreak has escaped notice in history and deserves more credit we feel. Indeed, on an English beach or any windy beach for that matter, it is an essential piece of beach furniture. One can have gorgeous sunshine, but with a stiff South Westerly wind (the prelevant wind on the Isle of Wight) even the hottest day can be uncomfortable without a wind-break and we all know that sand and cucumber sandwiches don’t mix!
Matters can be compounded when the beach is busy and you just want a little bit of privacy. This works well for campers and caravaners as well.
So which windbreak should one buy for the beach? Well, we would recommend windbreaks made on the Isle of Wight by wightsails but there are a number of factors to consider. Namely:
- how often will you use your windbreak on the beach
- do you want your windbreak to last
- do you want to look cool on the beach
- do you want a unique windbreak
- can you move the windbreak up and down the poles (stops sand and dogs come through the bottom)
- are the windbreak poles strong enough and will they last (can you replace them?)
- do you really want a nasty plastic stripey one
- is your windbreak made from recycled materials
- do you want that little piece of privacy
We have said it before, but there is something really comforting and satisfying when sat behind your recycled sailcloth windbreak, knowing that the sails once sailed the oceans and knowing that you have saved such sails from landfill. We coined the phrase ‘retirement for old sails’ !