- 21 September 2016 | Windsurfing
The first thing that newcomers to windsurfing should know is what equipment they will be using. The three main components of windsurfer are the board, the sail, the boom. There’s more, but without them, you won’t sail away.
It is also important to learn how the points of sail affect your journey across the water. If you don’t know where does the wind blow from, you might want to discover a few methods for checking its direction.
You’re almost ready to go, but don’t forget to rig your windsurfer properly. Remember: windsurfing can be hard to learn (in the first couple of hours), but you’ll get it.
1. Buy or rent a large windsurf board: bigger boards, i.e. high volume boards, offer flotation and stability, and that is all you need to keep standing up on a windsurfer;
2. Get a small sail: the smaller the sail area, the easier it will be to control it when the wind hits the monofilm;
3. Start windsurfing with light onshore winds: very light winds may be incapable of generating thrust, and offshore winds will blow you into the open ocean. So, try to have your first windsurfing lessons when the wind blows from the ocean towards the shore. In case anything goes wrong, it will take you back to shore.
4. Use the daggerboard: if your board has an extra skeg, it will add stability to your first upwind experiences.
5. Get your boom low: adjust it so that it levels your chest. If it is too high, it will become harder to control;
6. Get used and comfortable in the neutral position: when the wind is too light or too strong, the neutral position will keep you in a secure state. It is also a good position to restart the sailing stance after falling off the board.
7. Falling is learning: when you fall off the board – and it happens to everyone in the sport – try to understand what went wrong. Was it a wind gust? Was your body too much over the sail? Have you sailed into the wind?
8. Use your body weight when uphauling: one of the most common mistakes is to use the arms to lift the sail from the water. Uphauling should not be an exhausting technique.
9. Extend your arms: when you extend your arms, you force a desirable “V” balance between the body and the sail and reduce the strength needed to navigate.
10. Keep your knees bent: when you twist your hips in the direction you’re going and simultaneously bend your knees, you don’t spend energy, and your muscles will be spared;
11. Keep you back straight: when you need to pull the sail up, all you need to do is use your legs.
12. Spread your feet apart: it will help you find the right balance, and it increases the overall stability of the rig;
13. Relax your muscles: in the first sessions, your body tends to accumulate tension in the muscles. When that happens, get to neutral position and relax.
14. Move your hands forward on the boom: it will reduce the sail power you will have to control during your first rides;
15. Always look up when sailing: don’t look at your feet. If you look upwind, you will easily sail upwind.
Learn how to start windsurfing in less than two hours.