how to windsurf

How to Windsurf: Your Ultimate Guide

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Whether you are an experienced or starter windsurfer, the opportunity to get better is consistently immense. Simply put, learning is lifelong. 

In this guide on how to surf, you will get a more in-depth understanding of almost everything you need – say, steps, safety precautions, tips and tricks of improving your performance, and more.

Windsurfing: At a glance

It is among the world’s most favorite racing games that deliver the thrilling sensation, excitement, & fun, all simultaneously. The sport’s birthplace is in Pennsylvania, America, but numerous countries partake interestedly in this game.

You can trace this sport’s historical backdrop in 1948 when a young American Sidney Newman Darby Jr. made a floating board whose appearance was more similar to watercraft with two parallel hulls. Newman set up a sail on it. 

Sixteen years after that, he designed a universal joint for connecting the rig’s mast to the board, having a kite-ish sail, a tailfin, & a daggerboard. That genuinely started the chapter of windsurfing history. 

Its objective

In windsurfing, the surfer rides on a 2.5-to-3-meter board and sails to race with other riders. The winner will be the one with the board contacting the finishing line first. What is remarkable is, the game is open to men & women equally.

A jump in windsurf on the French Riviera
A jump in windsurf on the French Riviera. Photo by Renan Brun on Unsplash

Where to windsurf

1. Outdoor windsurfing

In the open-air version, this water sport comes about in sizable water bodies. They are sea, big nature-encompassed lakes, among others. 

The surfer is obligatory to use the safety equipment as there is more danger related to outdoor windsurfing. Because every one of the game’s elements is natural, you can expect more challenge in the version.

2. Indoor windsurfing

In the past, you had a hard time enjoying this game except if a big waterbody was accessible to you. 

The good news is, these days, windsurfing can likewise take place indoors. You have the choice to indulge it in a sizable swimming pool-like reservoir with fans set up close by to make wind. 

Windsurfing & Sailing: Useful terminology

Below are a few essential terms used in the windsurfing domain. They are also helpful for you to understand the guide best. 

It is worth noting that even if you skip this part because you are in a hurry, it is okay! We have tried to make the instructions as easy to follow as possible, even with those without knowledge of sailing concepts & terms,

Abandon: A race withdrawn by the race committee. It is void yet might get resailed. 

Apparent wind: The wind felt by the sailor. It combines the true wind & the one brought about while the boat is moving across the water. 

Beam: A boat’s widest part. The point somewhere between a sailboard’s rear (stern) & front (bow).

Beam reach: Sailing at 90° to the wind. Traveling on the water with the wind that comes straight over the board’s beam. 

Bear off: This term and ‘fall off’ are the same.

Beat: To sail to the direction that the wind is blowing (or windward). 

Broad Reach: Sailing with the wind rearward of the bear. 

Camber inducers, Camber induced sail: Plastic devices capable of keeping the sail away from the mast, allowing for a seamless airflow over the mast to the sail on the sail’s leeward & windward sides.

CE (or Center of effort): The point where the entirety of the wind’s force is assumed to concentrate.

Centerboard: When down, this retractable device holds the board back from going sideways. Entry-level ones come with centerboards. A beginner board will sail toward the wind direction if there is no centerboard (in the lowered position). Plus, the centerboard will make the board steady & make balance simpler. 

Clear Astern & Clear Ahead: A boat is another’s clear astern if its equipment & hull in the normal position as well as behind a line abeam from the farthest possible point (from a center) of the other boat’s equipment & hull in normal position.  

By the other boat, we mean clear ahead. They overlap if none of them is a clear astern. In case a boat between them overlaps the two, both likewise overlap. Those terms consistently apply to boats on the same tack. 

Close reach: Referred to as the point of sail between a beam reach & close-hauled one. 

CLR ( or Center of lateral resistance): The point where the entirety of the board’s sideways motion is assumed to concentrate. On the board with centerboards, the Center of lateral resistance is roughly at the centerboard. 

Come about, tack: To adjust direction for the sail to get flown on the contrary side. This is feasible by turning through the direction the wind is blowing from (i.e., the eye of the wind).

Course: The course a boat sails to finish as quickly as possible without the other boats alluded to in the rule that uses the term. Please note that a boat has no appropriate course before its starting signal.

Downhaul: Line helpful in pulling down the mast. As you may know, on present-day sailboards, the right tension in the downhaul is the most crucial approach to adjust the sail.

Eye of the wind: The direction that the wind is blowing from

Fall off: The term does not imply jumping off the board. Instead, it means direction adjusting for pointing farther away from the wind.

Fetching: If a boat is in a position to pass to the mark’s windward & leave it on the necessary side without adjusting tack, it is fetching the mark. 

Finish: A boat finishes once any single part of its hull, equipment, or crew in normal position manages to cross the course’s finishing line. Please bear in mind: the boat has not finished in case after crossing that line, it

  • rectify an error committed at the line 
  • suffers a penalty
  • keeps on sailing the course

Head up: Adjust direction to direct nearer toward where the wind is coming from. 

Interested party: An individual with a near personal interest in the choice. 

Jibe: To adjust direction for the sail to get flown on the contrary side. This is feasible by getting some distance from the wind.

Keep clear: A boat will keep clear of a right-to-go-first boat in these conditions:

  • in case the right-to-go-first boat can sail its course with no compelling reason to take avoiding action.
  • when the boats become overlapped, if the right-to-go-first boat can adjust course in the two directions without making immediate contact.

Leeward: The side away from the wind. The leeward boat is known as the one farthest from the wind direction.

Mark-room: Room that a boat has to leave a mark on the side required. 

Obstruction: An object a boat did not have the option to pass without adjusting direction considerably, in case it was sailing straightforwardly towards that object & one of its hull lengths from it. Obstructions are likewise objects which can be securely passed on just one side & an area specified by the sailing instructions.

Outhaul: Line used for attaching the sail to the boom’s end.

Postpone: A race’s delayed status prior to its scheduled start, yet might be begun or abandoned later.

Uphaul: It has two meanings: (1) The line used by sailors to move the sail out of the water. (2) Move the sail out of the water.

Port tack: In the typical sailing stance, sailing the course by having the left hand in front. As you may realize, the wind will be moving in the direction from the board’s left (port) side. A port tack boat needs to avoid the way of the starboard tack boat.

Racing: By racing, we mean a boat moves from its preparatory signal until the race committee commands a recall, abandonment, or postponement or until it finishes, clears the finishing line, & marks or retires, or.

RAF (Rotating asymmetrical foil) sails: Full batten sails in the absence of camber inducers. As the batten tucks leave each other behind the mast, there is a seamless flow of air on the sail’s leeward side. Generally more affordable compared to camber induced sails. 

Rules of the road: Rules defining right-of-way (or right-to-go-first) when both boats meet (by ‘boats’, we also refer to windsurfers).

Running: Sailing with the direction same as the wind.

Sheet in: Use the back hand to pull the sail in. When it comes to the boat, the sheet is the rope (line) capable of controlling the sail. In other words, by pulling on the sheet, boat sailors can direct the sail. Windsurfers work to sheet the sail basically by using their back hand. 

Sheet out: Something contrary to sheet in. 

Skeg, fin: The appendage or fluke in the water at the board’s stern that makes the board keep going straight. Avoid sailing a board that does not have a skeg.

Starboard tack: In the typical sailing stance, sailing the course by having the right hand in front. As you may realize, the wind will be moving in the direction from the board’s starboard (right) side. In case two sailboards or sailboats meet, which on starboard tack will have the option to proceed. 

Windward: Heading toward the wind. For your information, the windward boat is regarded as the one nearest where the wind is coming from. 

Universal: Referred to as the joint between the board and the mast. It manages to rotate every which way, thus universal.

How to windsurf: A step-by-step guide

how to windsurf
Photo by Costas Antwnakakis from Pexels

1. What to prepare

You cannot rock windsurfing without the equipment listed below:

  • Protective wear, including sunglasses, footwear, helmet, rescue coat, & wetsuit;
  • Rig (composed of a boom, mast, & sail). While the boom offers a place for holding onto when you go sailing, the mast gives the support-related benefits;
  • And of course, the surf riding board with an elongated surface delivering a surface you can stand on firmly while sailing.

2. Detailed instructions

This sport, by and large, requires a good balance. For example, you need to realize how to balance your weight & the board before starting to surf. That is why we specify some fundamental steps to follow; with them, you can have a better & more fantastic surfing experience. 

Step 1:

Get prepared. In other words, wear the helmet, rescue coat, footwear, & wetsuit. Do not forget to bring along a whistle for use in the event that you need any assistance when being in the waters. 

Also, make sure to take a flotation device near you. And guarantee the boat, rig, & other equipment you need to carry are in good shape.

Step 2:

Exert force to move your boat into deep water – to such an extent that the fin becomes clear of the bottom. Find out the wind direction and quickly choose how you prefer to move. 

Ensure the sail is at the board’s downwind, making a T position. Along these lines, you ought to set the board at a right angle to the wind. 

Step 3:

Walk or swim to the upwind side & stand up onto your board. While you remain in a kneeling position, hold the uphaul (& not pul up the sail simultaneously). From there on, raise the feet slowly, ensuring you are maintaining your excellent stability,

Step 4:

Follow with pulling the sail. To do so, you need to stand up straight, which enable you to be away from hurting your back. Likewise, we recommend turning the shoulders & using hands to move up the uphaul until the mast can be close enough to touch the next shoulder turn. 

Please bear in mind that you need to continue to pull the sail until it touches water. 

Step 5:

Start holding the mast & enable it to swing in a continuously manned position. Make certain that the sail now comes back instead of going away from you. 

Your feet should move towards the board’s back at the point when your mast gets positioned in the front hand. Doing so keeps you from moving your body backwards and falling in the water. 

Remember to use the backhand for taking hold of the boom when you are behind the mast. At this point, close the sail carefully and gently.

Step 6:

Stay in the above position to begin steering. Tilt your mast left as well as allow your body to move those imbalances to the board, making it turn in the analog clock’s direction. The other way around is valid. 

Do bear in mind that during windy conditions & further tilting, your board will turn more quickly when contrasted with times that wind blows gently. Moreover, the mast’s tilt to the front side helps keep the board from hitting the wind.

Step 7:

After noticing the bow’s side in relation to you, put the lower hand on the boom, which lets the mast lead your sail to the front since you begin moving. Please make certain that the sail cannot pull you down. Recline & make your hands stay straight; that way should allow the mast to be at an angle of 90° to the board. 

Use your back hand to exert specific force for making the mast speed up. Let it out in case you need to reduce how fast it is. One thing to note: Your feet need to stay behind the mast foot and simultaneously, the front foot’s toes face straight ahead.

What if you want to stop? Just get back to the safety position. Else, you can drop the boom & ensure it moves ahead of you so that you will take a safe break. Notwithstanding, because you need to continue picking it up, the latter option is tedious. 

Last but not least, you may want to watch this tutorial video for visual detail of knowledge.

Potential dangers & Safety precautions 

Potential dangers

On the one hand, windsurfing is an incredible game full of fun and pretty simple. On the other hand, it has its issues as well. We are talking about them directly here.

1. Injuries

You are likely to suffer common injuries when windsurfing. They are dislocated shoulder, fractures, sprains, muscle pain, blows to your body, sunburn, etc.

2. Drowning

Incidentally, you might drown, particularly in case you do not have the foggiest idea of swimming. That is why it will be best if you bring safety materials with you. Plus, sailing with other people will be helpful when it is necessary.

For your information, drowning is probably because of highly windy conditions having a particular effect on the mast, consequently speeding up the board. It might likewise be the aftermath of the ocean or sea’s tidal surge.

3. Hypothermia

That alludes to a condition wherein your body loses heat more quickly than its ability to produce, resulting in decreased body temperatures.

Safety precautions 

You can embrace a couple of the following safety precautions to stay away from dangers while windsurfing:

1. Check out your kit 

Make certain that your board, boom, & mast are in good shape. Also, ensure that the mast rubber’s decent position. We mean it should not stretch beyond the maximum extent without permanent alteration of shape or size.

2. Consider the weather condition

Practice forecast to have peace of mind that the weather will be good enough to sail outdoors.

What is more? Try not to go surfing in the storm. Doing so will assist in avoiding the sail’s crash, hence preventing the likelihood that you will experience injury.

3. Have someone around you

Ensure that there is one person or more to watch you closely before you go on the water. Avoid attempting it single-handedly. 

4. Use safety gears

Make sure that you put on a helmet to stay away from head injuries should a mishap happens along the way. Personal protective equipment generally helps mitigate the consequences.

5. Know the rules

To avoid back injuries, you should know the applicable rules before trying. You ought to consistently be in the proper position. 

How to windsurf: Practical tips and tricks

As you may be aware, windsurfing is among the best approaches to mingle, have a great time, as well as get the best out of your leisure time. Along these lines, we do recommend you have a go at improving as a sailer. Below are a few tips and tricks that can assist you with accomplishing your goal of acing your windsurfing skills.

1. Know that windsurfing is not difficult

You should keep that thing in mind, to begin with. More often than not, whatever your mind conceive & believe, it works to achieve.

Windsurfing is not pretty much as challenging as you would probably assume. On the other hand, it does take a great deal of practice, patience, & plenty of time in the water. 

Furthermore, thanks to the windsurfing gear with impressive construction, learning will be simpler & more enjoyable. The boards’ stability is pretty high, so you can balance with more ease & decently control the forward moves.

That is not all; decks with the secure grip are accessible in the windsurfing kit. Hence, you will have the necessary grip to keep up the balance and avoid injuries when attempting to enter the board. 

Many individuals may not try and learn how to windsurf because they consider it challenging to do (owing to the kit’s heaviness). Yet, that is just the myth. The booms, masts, & sails’ construction have indeed become much better, being more lightweight.

2. Preparation

By and large, you cannot disregard how your body & mind are in any single sport you intend to try. It indeed decides if you can accomplish your objectives. Similarly, physical & mental assumes a significant part in enhancing your abilities in water sports. 

That is why ensure your mind & body’s state is fit as a fiddle before you take any step. For that, we suggest doing aerobics exercise, say – squats. 

What is more? Viewing recordings of someone windsurfing can be helpful. You may be able to pick up some new tricks as a result. Likewise, your muscle will be somehow programmed and ready for setting about the process – just by doing so.

3. Practice

For the most part, improving as an advanced windsurfer needs a great deal of practice.

By doing regular practice, you will upgrade your abilities to deal with times that winds are either calm or stronger. More precisely, rather than practicing in favorable conditions for the skills you have already honed, consistently practice in all circumstances. 

It is worth mentioning that the faults you make while practicing help you improve. The more, the better! It is essentially on the grounds that fixing the mistakes made again and again enables you to reflect more and thus make more impressive progress.

What is more? Picking up and applying new tricks is a fantastic approach to boost your windsurfing abilities. It will be terrific if you flexibly have a go at different tricks while sailing!

4. Go for extra lessons

You may want to take extra lessons in a reputed windsurfing school. It is always advisable to look at testimonials, reviews, and other necessary info related to the school. 

If you find numerous positive feedbacks, the high possibility is, that school is the most awesome for you to spend time studying in. 

5. Keep away from distractions

It is generally enjoyable to engage in leisure activities with loved ones. Regardless of this, we suggest keeping away from such gatherings, particularly if you want to spare time in concentrating & improving as a windsurfer. 

Much of the time, these people are in the same league as you, which may imply that you wind up not learning a lot. It is vice versa if your buddy or family member is very good at windsurfing. You can bring them after your class or as the instructor is not available.

6. Count on the appropriate windsurfing kit

Be sure you use the proper kind of equipment. That has to do with elements like your age, weight & the place you windsurf. 

Additionally, a carefully selected area to take a stab at windsurfing should facilitate your process of becoming a pro in this domain. For example, you may want to pick a center with more up-to-date sails & boards,

We also do not advise you to try using the windsurfing kit of other persons – say, your buddy, which may be problematic to you. In case you do not know, it likely contains an overly heavy sail or super long board, making learning is hard for you.

7. Adjust your board’s size

For the most part, a more sizable board is suitable when you ride in a place with light winds. It helps take you back to the seashore if you are left in midair in the sea.

Notwithstanding, this does not apply during cold days because of the temperature change. Besides, big boards may cause you to lose control, being incapable of turning as needed. We suggest counting on a less sizable board in case of strong winds.

Above all, figuring out how to windsurf in bigger & smaller boards equally in every single condition will improve your abilities in the long run.

8. Find an instructor

By opting for the right instructor, you will be more likely to learn more quickly and effectively. Wonder why?

Fundamentally, as a beginner, you will have a hard time giving it a try all alone. There are indeed numerous activities (without a moment’s delay) involved in windsurfing, including taking reasonable control of your sail, trying to balance on the board, considering the wind’s direction & speed. 

So, it would help if you genuinely had some lessons. They are for comprehending what precisely you will be doing on the water. Significantly, several classes prior to experimenting will make you know your sailing more quickly and make it more exciting. 

9. Pick a proper place to sail

Choosing your sailing place is necessary, mainly if you are a starter. That includes areas with abundant water – for instance, oceans and seas.

Please remember that the decision of where to sail partly determines if learning is simple or challenging. So, you ought to carefully think about elements like the flat water level, waves, and winds’ consistency.

10. Do not rush yourself

As windsurfing consumes plenty of strength and energy, it is necessitated that you take as much time as is needed to learn. Here and there, it is essential that when you become tired, take some breaks for necessary rest. 

At the end of the day, windsurfing progression asks for the diligence with heaps of persistence and much time for training. 

11. Have realistic goals

Most of the time, it is helpful that you have goals going about as guidelines. This allows you to impeccably exert your efforts to attain your objectives and make you step up to a higher level over time. After all, goals should be something that encourages you to aim higher & gain more outstanding achievements.

Some of the best windsurfing champions

It is always preferable to have some good examples to follow. These windsurfers are respected to have delivered an unprecedented performance. Let’s discover who they are!

1. Robert Staunton Naish

Robert Naish is among the 1st windsurfing champions to become internationally known. This amazing man has been the best of the best in the early years of competition (the seventies & eighties). Brought into the world in the year 1963, the living legend is as yet going far and beyond in the windsurfing realm by giving new moves a try, for example, ‘Table Top Push Loop.’ 

2. Mark and Elena Angulo

The couple’s eternal love for windsurfing is not doubtful. 

Mark became enamored with this sport since he moved from Hawaii and Maui at seventeen years old. He runs a board building business. 

This couple invests significant time and energy of the day sailing across the water. Elena is not just a great windsurfer but a competent swimwear designer, business person, & maintainer of thousands of palm trees. 

They are famous as Hookipa (America)’s King & Queen.

Final words

The guide on how to windsurf includes practically all you should know to rock the windsurfing basics. Make sure you read through it to start better, become better, or even advance further in your sailing pursuit.