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Windsurf Buying Guide

 

By Steve Kopitz

 

 

Whether you’re racing or gliding across a lake, Windsurfing is a fun way to spend a sunny day on the water. You may think that Windsurfing is for athletes or mariners who are strong and skilled at navigation but the reality is that anyone can do it.

 

Within the last few years, the sport has changed to offer easy handling and rigging, so if you’re new to the sport, all you’ll need is some practice and wind and you’ll have a great day out on the water.

 

Windsurf Board Size:

 

For the most part, Windsurfers are measured in liters and not so much centimeters or feet. As a general rule, if you plan on sailing in light winds then you should match your weight as 1 pound = 1 liter.

 

If you weight 160lbs. then a 160 liter board is the best way for recreational windsurfing in light wind conditions.

 

 

Board Volume Experience
Less than 110 liters High
120-160 liters Intermediate
Over 170 liters Beginner

 

 

 

Types of Windsurf Boards

 

Beginner Boards are for those new to the sport. They are a wider board which will allow for greater stability. This helps to learn the feel of how the board is moving without the fear of falling in every time you think you’re getting the hang of it.

 

A Freestyle Board is used once you have progressed to a level in which you can perform acrobatic tricks like jumps, rotations, flips, etc. These boards are also wide but generally smaller (80-110 liters).

 

Wave Boards are small, light and very maneuverable. They are for the surf-minded individuals who have the ability to ride their wave boards like they do a surfboard.

 

 

Types of Windsurfer Boards

 

 

Windsurf Sails

 

Sails: Make sure that the sail you get is not over-sized for your skill level and size. You want to be able to control the sail and not vice versa. If you’re starting out then a light and easy sail that you can control in light winds is a great choice.

 

A large sail is typically 7.5-12 meters.

 

Niche sails are becoming increasingly popular as the sport grows. These include specialty sails for freestyle, wave, race, etc. These sails are flat when depowered.

 

Freeride sails are for the every-person and are meant for recreational windsurfing.

 

Sail size (m2) Wind (kts) Speed (km/ph)
12.5 8 14
10.4 9 17
7.8 13 23
5.8 17 31
4.8 20 37
3.6 27 49
3.0 32 60

 

Windsurf Extras:

 

Footstraps – Not all boards will have footstraps, some boards have a topside sheet that offers traction and a steady grip. Footstraps are intended for the more advanced user who is planning or really getting off of the water. If you’re not planing (at a certain speed on the water) before getting into the straps you won’t be able to stay in them. You will end up tipping the windsurf board or crashing.

 

Fins – Fins will help with speed, controllability and maneuverability.

 

A straight, narrow and upright fin is what racers use. They are great for speed however, when they are creating too much lift, you may have a hard time controlling or maneuvering. A curved and slanted fin is easier to control and turn.

 

If you’re starting off in the sport of windsurfing, remember that it will take some time to learn. Don’t expect to hop on a board and cruise across the ocean waves within a few minutes. Like anything else, you’ll need some practice but eventually you’ll be surfing with the best of them and enjoying every second.