If you want to start windsurfing then you need to know that it’s all about technique and balance. The best place to start is with the correct equipment.
The board you choose needs to be able to float when you stand up on it. First try the board out in a pool or river and if it sinks when you stand on it then it’s not the right one for windsurfing. Typically, the board has a fin at the back to enable it to steer. Some boards will have a dagger in the middle—also for the purpose of steering and stability.
The sail is a piece of reinforced monofilm that helps to move the board and comes in different sizes. Smaller sizes are more suitable for women.
The boom is the piece that you hang onto, to control the sail. It’s usually an oval shape and will have a saddle so that you can attach it to the mast – the long pole that runs up the sail.
The uphaul is a piece of rope that helps to pull the sail out of the water. The uphaul ties onto the boom and mast base.
The mast base attaches the mast and board. There is a flexible joint in the middle of the base so that the sail can be moved around easily.
How to Rig the Board
Next, you’ll need to put the board together.
Roll the sail out and move it around so the front is 90 degrees to the wind. The front of the sail has a sleeve so that the mast can slide up it. Once you slide the mast up, make sure that it’s secure at the top. Just slightly above the middle of the sail there is a cut-out area where you can attach the boom. Also attach the back of the sail to the boom allowing for a little tension. Attach the mast step to the bottom and loop the rope through the bottom of the sail. Pull tightly to secure. Attach the mast step to the mast track and then the uphaul to the boom.
Planning & Preparation
First, check the weather and water conditions, the ideal breeze will be around 12 knots and typically morning is the best time for lighter winds. Make sure that the wind is not offshore, in other words at your back if you’re facing the ocean. If you encounter problems on the water the offshore breeze will push you out to sea. Make sure that you have someone to help you move your gear around.
Connect the rig to the board and place the board into the water. Then stand both sides of the mast with your feet shoulder width apart and your back to the wind. The rig should be in front of you and in the water. Stand up onto the board and wobble it a bit with your feet to get used to the balance. When you feel confident with your balance and are able to stand up straight with the help of your ankles then you are ready to pull the sail out of the water via the uphaul. Try to keep the rig at 90 degrees to the board and when you get the back of the sail slightly above water make sure that you are still in the starting position. Play around with the rig a bit – moving it sideways towards the front of the rig and then towards the back will have different effects as to where the nose points.
Once you have mastered the steps you are ready to hit the waves! Use your front hand to hold the mast below the boom and turn the front foot to face the front of the board. Use your back hand to hold the boom and line up your nose with the thumb of your front hand. Don’t stray too far from shore at first and remember that you have to turn around to get back!
Tom Silsby is an keen blogger an enjoys windsurfing and watersports. He blogs for for Mustang Sailing and often takes to the water as both as an adventure yachtsman and amateur windsurfer. Thinking of windsurfing? Get one of these RYA approved sea survival courses before you set sail, to guarantee your safety.
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