I don't think the world is getting mad about health and safety.
Every rider, novice to expert, should know the hazards that are associated with water sport activities, be it windsurfing or whatever else.
A good example about windsurfing hazards and safety : http://www.dbw.ca.gov/Pubs/Windsurf/index.htm
The difference between life and death situation in windsurfing is the capacity of your own body to fight hypothermia.
"Hypothermia is the life-threatening lowering of the body temperature which can result from accidental immersion in cold water. Even brief exposure to cold water can cause numbness and confusion which could result in helplessness and drowning". See the following link for more info about that : http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_...es/hypothermia
The main point about hypothermia is your survival time when your body is immersed in water. In medical physiology, water is 23 time more energy-loss and heat-conductive than air. When immersed in water, you will loose energy if the temperature is below 37°C. The colder the water, the quicker your energy loss, the shorter your survival time. As simple as that.
To increase your chance of survival in case things go wrong and to help your body fight heat loss for an unexpected long time, it is strongly advised to always wear a wetsuit and a PFD/life jacket. These 2 safety measures will greatly increase your chance of survival against cold in water. A third measure is to adopt the HELP foetal posture when your body is in water while waiting for search & rescue help. HELP = Heat Escape Lessening Posture to reduce heat loss and energy loss of your body. It is way easier to keep this foetal HELP posture when wearing a PFD/life jacket without having to swim to keep your head out of water in order to breathe normally.
No health and safety madness going on here, but just to know the hard facts about true hazards and the 3 protective safety measures anybody can take to fight hypothermia when shit happens. And shit will always happens at least once during your lifetime just because the zero risk does not exist, especially with mechanical sports. Unfortunately, one very bad mishappening is enough to get you drowned. Choice to bet on this unlikelyhood is your own responsability. Would you bet on this if the "PFD could save one person a year from drowning" is indeed yourself ? For me, this bet is worth the trouble to wear a PFD and still be alive and well after windsurfing for 32 years...
Cheers and ride on !