Who says Windsurfing isn’t extreme?

Bill Prinzmetal

The following video from GoPro shows you just how good an all over exercise machine the sport of windsurfing is – its not just a matter of standing on a board, capturing the wind and having a nice little spin across the water – you do actually have to work the sail and the board!

The Best Windsurfing Video Ever. GoPro. from GoPro on Vimeo.

What would we do without the GoPro camera?!

Here’s a wonderful simile comparing windsurfing to kitesurfing:

Learning to windsurf can be compared to chess in that there are many pieces moving in different directions which you have to keep track of. After a few goes most finally catch on. Whereas learning to kite board is more like learning checkers.

Would anyone like to contradict that?

The sport of windsurfing is not something you can learn quickly although the new ‘wide-style’ beginner boards has speeded this up a tad. However, there are many different components to the sport which must be mastered before you can emulate the wave jumpers. The beginner has to develop their balance and core stability, acquire a basic understanding of sailing theory, and learn a few techniques before they can progress from plain board sailing to the art of windsurfing.

With coaching and favourable conditions, these basic skills  (balance, sailing, steering, and turning) can be learned within a few lessons. However, competence in the sport and mastery of more advanced maneuvers such as planing, carve gybing (turning downwind at speed), water starting, jumping, and more advanced moves requires more time, patience and practice.

Once mastered, windsurfing is a sport which can be enjoyed, even at an advanced level, well into retirement and then at a more sedate level for considerably longer still.

A windsurfer, although more similar to a sailboat than anything else – minimalistic of course but nevertheless a sailboat – offers far more scope than a boat. Windsurfers can perform jumps, inverted loops, spinning maneuvers, and other “freestyle” moves that cannot be matched by a boat and did you know that it was windsurfers who were the first to ride the world’s biggest waves?

You don’t believe me? then take a look at this (Direct2Dreams):

It’s not all plain sailing – it can be dangerous. Optimum winds for most recreational sailors are 15-25 knots, however anything between very light wind to 50 knots is possible. Less than 10 knots generally means that the windsurfer is doing something called displacement sailing – which means that the hull moves through the water using a centreboard and fin, or skeg, for stability and lateral resistance. Directional control is achieved via the rig and weighting one or other side the board, or sinking the tail.

However, over 10 knots and you can plane – this is the sensation of skimming on top of the water and much higher speeds can be reached. A smaller board is better here and the centreboard is unnecessary as sufficient lift and lateral resistance are provided by the fin (or combination of fins). To jibe the windsurfer shifts the rig and engages one of the rails (edges) of the board. This is known as carving.

Windsurf boards can also tack like a sail boat.

Just feast your eyes on this last video from overedge76 – thrill, spills and supreme elegance.

In Maui, Hawaii there is a growing band of young wave sailors, led by Kai Lenny, who are beginning to gain access into the most extreme wave sailing spots, including the legendary Jaws on the Island’s North Shore. More established riders believe that this new generation is set to push windsurfing to levels never seen before.


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