Is Windsurfing Difficult To Learn

It’s really not as difficult as it looks from the beach.

Like anything, there is no one simple answer. We’re all different and for some it may take longer to pick up windsurfing, whilst others will jump on board and be great really quickly.

What is guaranteed is that expert tuition, good foundations and practice will help you to join the thousands of windsurfers around the world who enjoy this amazing watersport.

If it’s not that difficult, what’s involved

In its most basic form, you stand on a board, hold a sail up and catch the wind, so it blows you along, but we all know that’s just too crude an explanation and needs expanding.

Quick start guide to beginner windsurfing

If you start off with a basic understanding of wind from sailing or flying, then that’s a big help. It’s also a lot easier if you can already paddleboard as this takes away some of the balancing problems.

If you don’t have any experience then it’s nothing too worry about – it may just take a bit longer to get the hang of it.

As a professional windsurfing school, we have the right kit, including very stable boards and small sails, so you have an easier time to start with. As we said before, kit is useful , but practice is the ultimate winning ingredient.  If you can commit the time, you’ll find that you can quickly move forwards. This can be sped up even more with the right training and coaching on the water.

beginner windsurfing lessons chichester harbour with surfs sup watersports

Learning from a decent instructor is always better.

At Surfs SUP Watersports, windsurfing is our passion and the instruction we provide just oozes brilliance. It has been proved again and again, that a lesson with us will save you days if not weeks, of messing about, when you can simply sail with us and pick up the right movements to make that will enhance your sailing.

Combine this to having the very best kit and you have a winning combination.  A stable board and small sail is your first step, so you can focus on the movements, without being worried about balance.

Is it like kitesurfing

With windsurfing and kiteboarding, you and on the board and get powered by  a sail or kite, but that is where the similarities end.

Windsurfing is much easier to learn, but the most important thing is is that windsurfing is way safer. A lot can happen when kiting and many people get hurt kiteboarding. We’ve had many incidents over the years down here in Bracklesham Bay with kiteboarders, so if you’re not up for getting injured, definitely check out windsurfing or wing surfing and foiling.

Another option could be sup surfing, which is easy to pick up and  requires less kit.

What should you wear for windsurfing

If you’re sailing anywhere around the UK be it on a lake or on the sea, then you’re going to need a wetsuit. Depending on the time of year and where you are, the main difference in suits will be thickness. This may measure as:

2/3mm  3/4mm 4/5mm etc.

These measurements relate to the thickness of the different panels made from neoprene.

Some suits are full length, others are short leg, long arm and others are short leg and short arm, which offer different warmth and benefits for allround use and comfort.

If you’re windsurfing somewhere warm, then a thinner suit or shorter suit would be ok, but in general uk conditions, long suits work better along with a hood and maybe boots in the winter.

Just go for it and don’t worry about getting wet

This is a sport where you are going to get wet so just accept it and enjoy. Trying to stay dry  will make your learning curve that much harder and I know when we’re teaching, we need you to really push on and try hard to be dynamic in your actions as the kit works better.  Whatever happens, you’re only going to fall in.

If you do fall in, you’ll need to climb back on board and uphaul the sail, ready to try again. You may have to flip the sail around if it fell on the wrong side of the board, but this is all good practice.

If you’re a bit unsure, then wear a buoyancy aid, which will give you support when in the water.  We’ll give you advice on how to fall from the board and not get bashed by the rig, which is a useful skill to have as the conditions get windier.

Having a basic understanding of wind direction

A good start for anyone who doesn’t already sail is to go online and learn about the wind and how it works in relation to a sail and board or boat.

Being aware of wind direction and points of sail are important for anyone hitting the water for the first time.   Being ware of points of sail, will help you to understand where you can and cannot sail.  Try drawing this in the sand, to get a feel for it in real time.

You’ll hear the terms, upwind, downwind and crosswind meaning:

  • Upwind is where you sail towards the wind, except an area of 45 degrees either side of the actual wind direction, which is called the No Go Zone.
  • Downwind is where you can sail away from the wind direction.
  • Cross wind is where you sail back and forth across the wind and is the most used direction, but you need to be able to sail all points of sail and always be aware how to get to any point on the water.

When you arrive to the water, look for wind direction indicators, such as flags.  Clouds don’t give a true indication.

Knowing the key phrases

You’ll pick up the names of the parts of the kit and some of the on water terms easily as there’s not that much to learn and certainly not something to get hung up on.


Board – A school or learner board is big and stable, whilst you see more advanced boards getting smaller, maybe slalom board, wave boards and freeride boards.

Deck – this is the top of the board where you stand.

Fin – this is the fixed rudder in the bottom of the board. There’s a lot of technology and science to fins so definitely worth reading up more about the differences.

Mast track – on the top of the board is a slot into which you attached the sail via the UJ.

Deck grip – on the deck of the board, you will feel a slight gritty texture, which stops you sliding around when standing.

Footstraps – more advanced sailing requires you to put feet into the straps that hold the sailor to the board.

Rocker line – this is the curve of the board.  Boards designed to be more turny, such as wave boards have more rocker line.

UJ – is the rubber connector that joins the sail to the board.

Mast base and extension – the base and extension help to connect the mast and sail down to the board.

Boom – this is the handlebar which you hold when sailing.

Outhaul – is the rope at the outer end of the boom that you pull when rigging the sail.

Downhaul – is the rope used at the bottom of the sail to lock the sail down.


Offshore – winds blowing from the beach out to sea.

Onshore – winds blowing from the sea onto the beach.

Crossshore – winds blowing across the beach.


Gybe – is where you turn the board away from the wind whilst turning onto the other direction.

Tack – is where you turn the board into the wind before changing direction.

Sheet in – when you pull the back back in whilst holding the book , you increase power.

Self rescue – everyone should know how to swim a board with sail attached.


With the right instruction or coaching, windsurfing isn’t hard to learn. Most problems stem from poor foundations. It is these problem that carry on through into more advanced moves, which slows your progress down if you won’t resolve things early on.


We run regular beginner to improver wing sup surfing lessons.

With over 35 years experience, we are fully insured and certified with: