One of the fastest-growing watersports, which is a combination of surfing and sailing, promises you the most enjoyable experience. Are you thinking of playing this fun sport? Then you have landed in the right place. Windsurfing can be done by people of any age, but it would require expert training.
It was initially invented with the idea of riding over the sea, but has gained popularity today. Its origin is dated back to the 1930s. It is a game of balance, which lets you experience the calmness of the water world.
Windsurfing is more like sailing. The rider stands on the board, holding the sail that is attached to it, and starts sailing by moving their feet. It is important to understand the wind direction for you to balance the board. This board has a mast attached to it, which induces the action of propelling it. So, once you master the art of balancing, you are halfway through the process of Windsurfing. Let's get started; learn about the guide, windsurfing for beginners. These are essential information for beginners who would like to explore the depth of the sport.
What is Windsurfing?
Windsurfing is the most unique water sport because it gives an amazing experience combining both sailing and surfing. The rider sails on the water on a board. The sport is all about nature because in windsurfing, you ride along with nature.. Windsurfing is not about physical strength but only about using the right technique. There are large and small boards; choose the one that suits you the best as per the wind condition. There are several methods of riding the board, and it includes course racing or riding the big wave. One must always keep their knees bent for better grip on steering. It is a combination of wind and water.
The length of the surfboard ranges between 2m and 5m. Generally, a sailboard is steered by a rudder, whereas the windsurfer uses the action of tilting and swivelling. Thereby controlling the board along with the wind direction. Windsurfing is an adventurous sport, and it requires minimum fitness and agility. Windsurfs tack faster than that of a sailboat, and they can also jump along with the waves for an exotic experience that is not possible on a sailboat.
History of Windsurfing
In 1964, Sidney Newman Dardy Jr. started by just connecting the sail to a plank. It is said that Darby had developed more than 200 sailboards to survive the storm. It was Darby who gave a name for his invention, sailboarding. The idea was then picked up by sailor Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitz. Later, in 1970, a US patent was granted for wind-propelled apparatus by Drake and Schweitz, and that was the beginning of this unique sport. Though the debate still exists upon whom the investigation should be credited, by then, the sport got its popularity like Wildfire.
But the last two decades got more attention among people around the world, especially in Europe. Earlier, the equipment caused occasional bruises and was complex to handle, but in recent years there has been a lot of technological advancement when it comes to design.
What are the Different Types of Windsurfing?
The thumb rule for windsurfing depends upon the windforce, whether lighter wind or strong wind, and hence the windsurfer uses a sail of 5- 8 sqm, based on the wind condition. It it is for speed records or a high jump in the air, then it must be light-powered. Generally, there are five types of windsurfing sail, and they are freeride sail, race sail, wave sail, freestyle sail, and beginner sail.
- Freeride sail: The range between 5.5m-7.5m. They are designed to perform in a variety of conditions and multiple goals like waves, speed, race, and freestyle and do not have camber inducers. They are easily movable. This does not include any crazy movements. It is for those who want a smooth ride over flat water.
- Slalom sail: They are made of lightweight materials and are designed to record speed. It is designed to get out of water in a much easier way. These kinds of racing sails come along with camber. They are complicated to rigging. They are most suitable for speed junkies. One can ride at top speed and drive straight.
- Wave sails: They are small yet heavy. They range from 3.3m - 6.2m, reinforced with ply panel material which adds strength. It also consists of battens for handling powerful waves. They are easy to control and also movable. Most suitable for surf foam, strong wind, and currents.
- Freestyle sail: They are lightweight and versatile rigs, suitable for medium-to-high conditions. They range from 3.8m- 6.5m. Freestyling is all about doing as many tricks on the water's surface as possible. It is the skill that needs to be handy for a freestyle sail and not the speed. It is a combination of waves and freestyle surfing.
- Beginner sail: These are smaller rigs ranging between 1.5m-3.5m for navigating the wind. They are less expensive, as they are made up of PVC or dacron. They have few battens and no camber inducers. It is easy to control.
How to get Started with Windsurfing?
Windsurfing is adventurous, adrenaline, and an exciting water sport. Imagine yourself on the windsurfing board, sailing along the waves, and it is going to be a marvellous experience. To start windsurfing, go through the guide:
- Pick a location: Location plays an important role here. Suppose you are a beginner-level rider, and the wind is blowing at 7-10 miles per hour, then this is not an ideal situation for you because the stronger wind makes it difficult for beginners. The ideal wind speed to practice for beginners is 3-5 miler per hour. The direction of the wind must be parallel to the seashore. If the wind is blowing offshore, then there are possibilities for the rider to get blown away while you are still learning. You can attach a tether line to the dock, or the shore, for safety purposes or even while practising. One should be familiar with the rig to be disassembled so that one can roll to the shore by paddling.
- Practising on land surface: Before you start windsurfing, ensure to feel the wind pull by just assembling the mast, boom, and try to sail on the land surface. Firstly place the mast on the sand, and try to haul up the sail. The direction of the board would be its pointing. Position yourself in the centerline of the board and let it be 12 inches- 18 inches apart and haul in the sail. You learn to balance the board from this. This practice shall boost your confidence to start windsurfing.
- Prepping the board: When properly conditioned, the deck skin of the board would give you good traction. While the polyethylene may be slippery, the best way to reduce this is by rubbing the board with the sea sand. The wet beach sand makes the board no longer slippery. If there is no beach sand, then you can scuff up with your feet. The deck should not be rough and not slippery as well. More usage of the board shall give it better traction. Do not wear suntan oil, as it may get slippery while you stand up.
- Steering: To turn the boat, you must simply lean the mast and turn away from the wind. The board heads off when the mast is forward, and the centre effort is in front of the daggerboard. If the centre of effort moves back, the board heads along with the wind. The centre of effort is the key to movement. You get to turn while running downwind by just leaning the mast toward the left or right. While it may sound complex, it is all about control.
- Body Positioning: Be it freestyle windsurfing or any other mode style, keep your front arm bent at the elbow level all time if you are still a beginner. Adjust the pull of the sail with your rear hand, keep your back straight, and do not bend your knees. Now keep the boom close to the chest and do not lean away from it. The rear leg should be bent slightly to get the balance. When you encounter stronger winds, move your feet closer toward the windward rail and increase the pull on the sail.
What Equipment is Required for Windsurfing?
Here is the list of windsurfing equipment required for Windsurfing:
- Windsurfing kit: It is divided into two categories, namely board and rig. These are two parts that are the most essential part of Windsurfing.
- Windsurfing board: Windsurfing board comes in all shapes depending upon the ability of the windsurfer. They are designed for beginners, speed, wave riding, jumping, racing, strong winds, and much more. Never use a board that is too small and narrow, as it becomes an issue for balancing. The ideal board must be 75 cm in width and 180 litres in volume.
- Fin: Fin is the most important part of maintaining the direction and grips the water. They are usually placed underneath the board attached to the screw.
- Sail: This is a large piece of material, usually dacron and mono film, which helps the forward momentum. For a beginner, the sail should measure 4.0 m2 - 5.5 m2. They are usually cut differently, and different materials are used based on their usage.
- Boom: Earlier, it was called a wishbone, and it has several functions to do. They are attached to the mast at one end, and the other end is attached to the sail. They must be adjustable between 140cm - 190cm.
- Mast: The mast is the pole used to keep the sail upright. The length may vary; normally, the length would be at 30 cm intervals. But the standard sizes are 370cm, 400cm, 430cm, and up to 490cm.
- Windsurfing rig: The rig works like an engine that gives power to the board to sail.
Advantages of Windsurfing
There are many advantages and benefits arising out of this water sport. The advantages of Windsurfing are followed by:
- Easy to ride: They just have simple mechanisms to learn. While you begin with, small sails will make you sail back and forth, but with further practice, you will be able to pick up.
- Works as a great exercise: Any kind of sport is good for being fit. Windsurfing makes you fit in no time. One must figure out the breathing technique to master it. They improve stamina.
- Not expensive: Windsurfing equipment includes sail, rigs, and board, which are relatively cheaper.
- Accessible for everyone: It is accessible for everyone regardless of age. But considering the strength to endure the wind blow, kids weighing below 30 kg are restricted from riding. Most importantly, people should know how to swim before they start windsurfing.
- It is a safe sport: Unless it is a swimming area with lots of people, it is a safe sport to play. It is very safe for beginners.
- Environment Friendly: They cause no damage to the environment. There is no fuel burning and no noise to cause any pollution. It is one of those sports that doesn't contaminate the earth.
Windsurfing is considered to be high-intensity endurance. The ultimate goal must be attainable. It is an accessible board sport which is gaining popularity in Egypt, France, Florida, California, New Zealand, etc. Experience this wonderful and exciting water sport this summer. Hope the guide for Windsurfing helped you learn about the water sport.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is windsurfing more difficult than surfing?
A significant level of strength is sufficient to paddle through the waves. They are pretty easy to get the hang of and do not require a lot of physical strength.
- What is the best time to go windsurfing?
The summer season is ideal for windsurfing, with a wind speed of 6-12 knots.
- How physically demanding is windsurfing?
There needs to be cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance. Injuries are likely to occur when there is fatigue. There has to be minimum fitness to balance the sport.