If you’ve ever thought about trying a new way to challenge your physical limits and feel a rush of excitement, you may want to give windsurfing a go. Windsurfing is a great sport to try regardless of how old you are or how exposed you are to extreme sports. Once you get started, you’ll quickly learn the ropes, and you’ll be windsurfing like a pro in no time. Here’s an excellent and in-depth guide to windsurfing for newbies –
What is Windsurfing?
Unlike surfing where you rely on the ocean waves in order to gain movement, windsurfing uses the power of the wind in order to move across the ocean. Windsurfers also have the added benefit of being able to travel longer distances from the shoreline, unlike regular surfing where you can really only move with the waves.
Windsurfing also isn’t as cumbersome as steering a yacht or a smaller boat with sails. You only need a few pieces of equipment in order to windsurf; the rest of the activity relies on the wind and your body to make it work.
Is windsurfing difficult to learn?
Just like any other sport, windsurfing takes a bit of time to learn. If you’ve tried kitesurfing or snowboarding before, you might pick up the sport faster since windsurfing is quite similar to those activities in that it relies on you being able to maintain your balance. You would also need to have a good understanding of the direction that the wind is blowing so that you can steer your board in the right direction.
Wrapping your head around the windsurfing basics might be a bit challenging and might take a while, but if you get help from experienced windsurf instructors, you’ll be on the right track. The important thing is to never give up while you’re starting out. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll get a sense of enjoyment that no other type of water sport can give.
There are two very important things that you will need to be able to windsurf. The first thing you’ll need is a windsurfing board. Depending on the wind conditions, your skill level, and other factors, the board that you will be using will vary.
If you’re just starting out, you are best suited to an entry level board. Most beginner level boards have a retractable daggerboard or center fin, and should have at least a width of 80 cm. You can buy a wider board if you want more stability.
The right board for you is also dependent on your weight. While beginners are generally advised to get a board with a floatation of 130 to 180 liters of volume, the general consensus is that your board should be 50 – 90 liters heavier than every kilogram you weigh.
The second most important thing you will need in order to windsurf is the sail. Without it, you won’t be able to harness the wind’s power and do windsurfing. You need to take into consideration three things when choosing a sail: your level of expertise, the sail size, and the strength of the wind where you will be windsurfing.
A good rule of thumb if you’re a beginner to windsurfing is that stronger winds will require smaller sails as they will be easier to manage. Most beginners however will usually shy away from very strong winds and will stick to conditions that a sail measuring 4.5 to 6 meters in length can manage, such as those available from sites like www.fareastsails.com
You also need to have a mast, mast base and boom, which are fairly simple pieces of equipment that any windsurfing shop can assist you with once you have the specs for your windsurfing board and sail.
Is Windsurfing Safe?
Like any other outdoor activity, windsurfing will only be dangerous if you are not careful. All extreme sports have a level of danger to them (which is what makes it thrilling) but every extreme sport enthusiast always makes sure they are practicing proper safety protocols when engaging in their respective sport.
In order to keep yourself safe while you’re learning the ropes, there are a few things you need to have on your person at all times. Being constantly splashed by water could make you susceptible to the biting cold, so having a wetsuit that fits you snugly is important. Neoprene wetsuits are a good choice for windsurfing, since the neoprene layer can help trap a thin layer of water which will help keep your body warm while windsurfing.
Another piece of safety gear you will need to have, especially when you’re starting out, would be a buoyancy aid. A personal floatation device will help keep you in an upright position when you do fall off your board, and it will also help conserve your energy–not having a buoyancy aid means you might have to work harder to stay afloat, which is something you want to avoid when you’re out in the open water.
Additionally, having a whistle attached to your buoyancy aid can help call the attention of other people near you when you are having trouble and need help.
How to get Started – Guide to Windsurfing
Seeing as you’re reading this article and might be trying out windsurfing for the first time, here are a few tips you may want to bear in mind before your first windsurfing session:
- Find a windsurfing school near you. If you live in the city, this might not be a block away, but you can plan your next vacation at a location that offers windsurfing lessons.
- If you’re nervous about trying out windsurfing on your own, try to find other people who want to try out windsurfing and go as a group.
- Always listen to the instructor, especially when it comes to safety. While uncommon, collisions with other windsurfers can happen.
So there you have it–everything you need to know about windsurfing. Hopefully, you found this guide to windsurfing helpful, and we hope you enjoy your first windsurfing experience!