What is Windsurfing?
Windsurfing has been around since the 60′s and by the late 70′s it was said that 1 in 3 homes in europe owned a ‘sailboard’ or windsurfer. After this initial boom, things did calm down slightly, but windsurfing continued to grow across the globe. By the 90′s, windsurfing had developed into a high octane, high speed extreme sport. Images of big jumps and fast wave riding filled magazines and later social media. All the development of the sport has resulted in a vast world wide following.
Windsurfing has been popular from the start
But how can you get into windsurfing? Do you need to be in Maui in order to be good at windsurfing? Is the UK even any good for it? The answer is no, you don’t need to live in Maui and yes, windsurfing in the UK is fantastic! From weekend warriors to competing professionals, the UK provides some of the best conditions for all types of windsurfing throughout the year. Living on a relatively small island that experiences plenty of rain throughout the year, is perfect for windsurfing enthusiasts. We can pick and choose between a massive array of coastal locations, as well as a huge amount of inland lakes. Diversity of conditions is perhaps the best part of windsurfing in the UK. Whether you want to learn on flat water in calm winds, or fly high in stormy seas, there is somewhere in the UK to suit everyone.
How do you start Windsurfing?
So what do you do if you want to learn to windsurf? The best way to start is to visit one of the many windsurfing centres around the UK. Windsurf Lessons from fully trained instructors, are the perfect way to ensure you learn the correct techniques in the fastest and safest way possible. A couple of prime locations for learning to windsurf are Portland Harbour and Sandbanks, Poole. Poole in particular offers sheltered conditions with shallow water and clean wind. The more conducive the location is to windsurfing the easier it is to learn, so choose the location carefully.
RYA Lessons are the best way to get started.
What to do once you can Windsurf!
Once you’ve learnt and mastered the basics of windsurfing, there are a few directions you could take to continue your progress. Free riding is the most common windsurfing discipline. Sailing at your leisure, in a place of your choice. Typical free riders use fast, easy to use boards and sails to match. They cruise around powered by nothing but the wind and loving every minute!
Freeriding is the essence of windsurfing, simply fun!
If you want to get into windsurfing more seriously however, then racing, freestyle or wave riding might tickle your fancy. Racing has a few disciplines in itself and offers speed sailing, slalom and course racing.
Course racing is what you see in the Olympics. Racing up, across and down wind, around large buoys, in order to be the first over the finish line. It means regular water time for the competitors and on a national level, a great social scene.
Course Racing features in the Olympics and Brits are regular medal winners!
Slalom racing is perhaps the most exciting windsurf racing discipline. Competitors storm through the start line at the sound of the buzzer, travelling at top speed! They then have to weave their way down wind, gybing round buoys and avoiding collisions, again in the hope they cross the finish first. This is an adrenaline pumping way to meet and compete with like minded windsurfers.
Slalom Racing is fast, ferocious and fun!
Speed Sailing is obvious in name and terrific in nature. Sailors use the most powerful sails on the fastest boards and zip across the water at the fastest speed they can manage. Competitors wear GPS units to measure and compare their speeds with others. The winner is quite obviously the fastest. This is a highly technical style of windsurfing and one that many experienced sailors excel in. If you have an addiction to going fast, then this is the style for you!
Speed sailing is for the elite, reaching speed of over 50 knots!
Away from the racing scene are the wave and freestyle disciplines. These disciplines require high winds and small equipment. Boards commonly known as ‘sinkers’ are fast and nimble and give the riders ultimate manoeuvrability. Freestyle windsurfing has really taken off in the last 10 years and the moves possible for those on the professional circuit, are awesome to watch and even more awesome to do! Generally, modern freestylers are looking for flat water and high winds to unleash their repertoire of spins, flips and tricks in front of an awed crowd. A demonstration of some of the insane moves being completed in freestyle windsurfing can be seen in the video below:
Wave riding is perhaps the headline discipline for serious windsurfers. Made popular by the endless cover shots of Maui’s Hookipa state park. Wave riding has become an obsession for all coastally rooted windsurfers. Again, a typically high wind discipline, riders use small, nimble equipment to jump high off the waves on the way out and surf the waves on the way in. Nowadays, a mixture of flowing wave riding and explosive freestyle, is what it takes to be the best on the water. The feeling, footage and pictures of windsurfers enjoying the waves is truly amazing and it’s easy to see why so many people enjoy this area of the sport.
Windsurfing on the waves is truly putting yourself into the elements!
What does Boylo’s think about Windsurfing?
As you can see, the variety of windsurfing styles, locations and conditions in the UK is massive. We think this is why the UK is the ideal place to be a windsurfer. If you choose to, you can free ride around the lake near home with your friends on one day and then chase the swell to the coast the next! With such good learning facilities on offer and hundreds of helpful shops to get you the gear you need, there has never been a better time to get into windsurfing.