What is Windsurfing?
Windsurfing is among the most interesting, rewarding, and unique sports especially for those who have an affinity for the open water and a reverence for the natural beauty of the ocean, and even more so when the competitive element of the sport is added in rather than just recreation. The feeling of controlling and maneuvering a board across the open waters by flowing with the wind is one of the most liberating and amazing things that a human being can experience.
Many people cite S. Newman Darby as the man who invented windsurfing with the invention of the sailboard in 1964 in Pennsylvania, USA. However, the origins of windsurfing go far back beyond that. The Polynesians actually used boards to sail across bodies of water in a similar fashion hundreds of years before it became mainstream in the US and the western hemisphere.
How to Participate
Windsurfing differs from surfing and other water-based sports in the sense that it uses the wind to propel forward rather than the force of the waves from the ocean. In addition, windsurfing is also an easily-accessible sport and is quite easy to jump right in to and begin practicing even without prior experience, which is something that cannot be said about many other sports. Considering that most sports can get highly competitive, this is very important and makes windsurfing more welcoming and outstanding.
Just like any other competitive sport, there are rules and regulations with windsurfing. For example, if two surfers are going to collide, the one with their left hand nearest to the mast is supposed to change their course to avoid a collision. In addition, the one with the right of way must obviously give clearance room to the other nearby surfers. In conclusion, windsurfing is truly a rewarding experience and is a perfect sport for really anybody to get in to or at least try once.
Where to Participate
Windsurfing can be done on any body of water where there is sufficient wind and access to launch your windsurfer. One factor that may restrict where you can windsurf is whether you own windsurfing equipment or not.
Certain locations such as the small island of Boracay in the Philippines, the windsurfing paradise of Portugal, the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, the Spanish southern tip of Tarifa, and Hawaii, are some amazing exotic vacations and places to go to if you want to try out windsurfing.
Alternatively, if you do not want to travel too far, you could always go to your nearest beach and you will definitely find other windsurfers and a place to practice and just have fun.
Windsurfing Equipment and Gear for Beginners
A perfect example of how windsurfing is easily accessible is the amount of equipment that you’ll need to get started with this. All you’ll need to start is a board and a rig, and probably a wetsuit. That’s all! Anything else that you might need or want will be provided to you at most centers or locations where windsurfing is a popular activity.
Modern windsurf boards are constructed from fiberglass, . Beginners should start with a wider and heavier surfboard that will be more sturdy and stable until they feel comfortable with the basics of maneuvering.
Beginners should also search for a board with a retractable dagger board.
A basic windsurf rig is comprised of a sail, mast, mast base, and a boom.
A wetsuit makes windsurfing safer and more comfortable, especially in locations where the water temperature is cooler or exposure to high wind.
For those interested, here are some great sources for more information on getting started with windsurfing, ranging from everything you need to know about additional rules to the best places you can go for the greatest experience.
United States Wind Surfing
International Wind Surfing
Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) World Tour