Windsurfing has been a popular sport since its invention in 1968 by a sailor and a surfer. Combining two loves of the water resulted in a sport that took over Europe in the 1970s and has become popular in surfing communities ever since.
The techniques and tricks to windsurfing are numerous. Not only do you have to watch out for waves on the water but also where the wind is going so you can keep moving. Here are some basic things you can do when you first start out windsurfing that will help you stay afloat.
Know Your Board
Before and after you windsurf you will need to assemble your windsurf board. Vital parts include the fins underneath the board, the sail, and the universal joint that connects the sail and mast to the board. It is this universal joint that allows freedom of movement for the sailor in order to catch the wind in just the right way.
The wider the board the more stable your position will be on the water. If you want to move faster or get more tricks you will need a lighter and thinner board. In the end it will be up to you as to what you are more comfortable with when it comes to choosing a windsurfing board with which to work.
On the Water
If you live near the ocean you already know that there is a constant breeze blowing in some direction either coming from the water or coming from land and blowing onto the water. Knowing how to catch the wind in just the right way is the key to success in windsurfing.
Start with your board in shallow water and stand with your feet on the board. There should be a line you can pull up your rig with so you can reach your rig easily without bending over and falling off the board. Keep your back to the wind at first so you can get going.
Once you grab onto the sail then put your feet in the straps. Keep the sail slightly forward so the wind doesn’t stall your ride and go nowhere. The trick to basic windsurfing is to keep the sail at 90 degrees to the wind direction. That way the wind bounces off the sail for the best speeds possible (and thanks to Newton’s Laws of Physics) you won’t stop until you let your sail down.
Turning and changing direction is probably the trickiest thing to master. Instead of holding your rig as you normally do when going straight you generally need to rotate your sail around until you are going the direction you want and then go back to the original position of holding your sail.
Beginners should probably have a foot strap position closer to the mast for more stability. The better you get and more comfortable on the water, you can move the foot straps further away to learn more advanced tricks on the waves.