One of the most daunting aspects of beginning a new sport or hobby is looking rather silly as you make dumb mistakes and stumble around with stuff that experienced people make look easy. Luckily, windsurfing is a quick sport to learn, albeit not a quick one to perfect. Nevertheless, there are some basics that you can learn that will help you avoid making unnecessary mistakes, so here are a few tips for beginners. It is worth noting at this point, however, that it is best to learn windsurfing with an experienced professional, but it doesn’t hurt to arrive at the location with some knowledge under the belt already.
As you probably already know, there are two main components to a windsurfing setup – the boards and the sail. The sail is composed of three main parts. The main, load-bearing beam that runs from the bottom to the top of the sail is called the mast. The long handle that you hold on to while windsurfing and with which you control the sail is called the boom. Between where the boom is fixed to the mast and the masts’ bottom there is a strap called the uphaul. The uphaul is used to pull the sail up from the water. The main thing to remember in order to avoid embarrassment when handling the sail on shore, is to always hold it flat, with one hand on the boom and the other on the top portion of the mast, with the mast facing into the direction of the wind. In this way, with the mast being the heavier portion of the sail, you’ll maintain maximum control of it as you carry it. If you point the mast against the wind, even if you still hold it flat, the sail will be picked up by the wind and will smack you on the head.
Holding the sail appropriately will also help you stand it upright. This will be necessary to make sure that the boom is fixed to an appropriate height before you go into the water. If the boom is approximately at your shoulder level, then it is adjusted to your height correctly. Shoulder level is what it should be on when you’re on the board, so when adjusting it on land, make sure that you and the sail are standing on equal ground. The boom will have a special clamp that will easily allow for any adjustment within its range of travel.
When it comes to boards for beginners, bigger is usually better. Beginner’s boards are likely to have all the necessary characteristics to remain as stable as possible: thick, long and wide. That way you’ll have maximum buoyancy and small waves will not be likely to throw you off balance. Best balance is achieved by standing in the very center of the board. This sounds intuitive, but while reasons for not putting too much weight forwards or backwards are apparent, beginners tend to put their feet closer to the side edges of the board, thinking that way they might feel more stable. Don’t make this silly mistake, and trust the very center of the board to be the best point for both maximum stability and control.