First Day Windsurfing Tips

What should you be considering when you start windsurfing

You might have been planning to start windsurfing for some time now, so don’t make a pigs ear of it. Let’s give you some insight into what to expect and how to prepare if you’re coming for a first lesson or heading out on your own for the first time.

Having the right clothing and wetsuit

Getting into any watersport is going to need a wetsuit and possibly boots as well. Wetsuits are the preferred  item of clothing that we wear and they come in different styles and thicknesses.  

The most important thing to do with a wetsuit is to go and try them on.  It’s a simple case of buying online and thinking it will fit as they’re all cut differently and depending on how you’re built, will determine what fits and more importantly feels comfortable.

You’ll also find that not all neoprene (the material a wetsuit is made from) feels the same, with some suits feeling stiffer and other being way more flexible. 

Checking the weather and conditions

As a beginner, you really need to get the conditions right so you have a good day on the water, learning and improving.

Ideal Conditions:  You really need light winds around 8-14 knots and smooth water, not waves. These conditions will make life a lot easier for you to sail in and practice those key movements, tacks, gybes and control.

Wind Direction: This really depends on the location. For beaches it can be risky if you sail in offshore winds, where the wind is blowing out to sea. That said, if it is light then the risk is massively reduced.

As a beginner you really are best off starting with onshore or crossshore winds as you will generally head back to shore more easily.

Know the environment

Not every venue is the same and some have hidden dangers or things that may make your life on the water more difficult.

If you see other windsurfers on the water or on land, chat with them. Gleen the information about the spot you’re at and get well informed before you  head out.

If you’re at a beach look for rips, waves, rocks, headlands etc and try and understand how they’re going to affect your sailing It’s best to try and sail in the flattest spot possible when starting out.

With lakes and estuaries you may encounter moving water, sunken obstacles like trees or logs as well as moorings etc.  Stay well clear of obstacles and set yourself a sailing area.

I think the best thing I can add in general is don’t try to match other sailors and recognise that you’re starting out and won’t be very good right now.

Daymer Bay Windsurfing

Make sure you’ve had a lesson

Getting yourself some Windsurfing Lessons is so important as you will not only learn to sail, but you’ll get a much better insight into safety, self rescue, control movements and more.   You’re not going to pick these things up from experimenting unless you have a lot of time to spare and even then you probably won’t work it out.  That’s where our experience comes in.

Drill the fundamentals

Whatever you have learnt from us on your lessons, keep going. When we teach, we do drills and movements that are the key to many more advancing skills. So keep going with them and don’t get lazy.

Sailing on all points of sail is so important as it means you can always get back to your starting point. The best way to do this is to sail for short runs before turning round. Don’t go miles out in one direction and never lose sight of land or your start point.

Rigging your own kit

Make sure you’re happy with rigging and spend time tuning the kit if necessary. This includes making sure everything is in good condition and not corroded, such as ropes, boom extensions, uj, fins etc.

Choose the Right Equipment

This is a big subject and can get really complicated, but if you’re smart you’ll get kit that is easy to use and not fancy. The idea is  that you will speed up your learning curve first and foremost.   As you progress you can then upgrade later and already have a strong set of skills.

Beginner-Friendly Gear: Opt for a wide and stable board, as it provides better balance and is more forgiving. A smaller sail (around 2.5 to 4.5 square meters) is easier to handle for beginners and more suitable for lighter winds.

Practice Being Safe

Work our your self rescue technique as you never know when you’ll need it.  Kit can break and does break, so make sure you learn how to get yourself home. This would include carrying a bum bag with some spare rope and your phone.

Keep close to shore and as we mentioned before, learn about the area to try and avoid any risk. As an example look up Daymer Bay and see how dangerous that beautiful place can be.

And never forget to respect the water and know your limits. Keep hydrated, make sure you’re capable of swimming unaided and make sure you ‘ve had fuel and no booze.

Stay Positive

To learn to windsurf well takes years and even a lifetime of sailing will throw up all sorts of dramas. This means you have to stay patient and persevere. Keep using those core skills you’ve learnt on our windsurfing lessons as they will really help.

Enjoy those little wins and focus on improving them, which means analysing what you’re doing when it’s right and wrong.

Summary

The article “Your First Day Windsurfing Tips” by Ian at Surfs SUP Watersports  gives you a  logical outline of what to expect on day one.  It’s a big adventure and there will be highs and lows so get ready to enjoy the ride.

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