Windsurfing is quite a popular sport especially in the summer. It can give you a different kind of thrill which you may not experience in other sports. And contrary to what many people may think, it is not very difficult to learn it as long as you know the basics:
As soon as you are ready with your gears, check the wind direction first before starting to sail. If you are a beginner, don’t ever sail with an off-shore wind because what you may think of as a gentle wind while on the shore will be twice when you are in the open sea or lake. If the wind is cross-shore, on-shore or somewhere in between, it is safer to attach the board and sail together. For beginners, the ideal wind strength is between forces 2 and 3 on the Beaufort scale. Additionally, check out the tides before setting off.
Your position while on the board is vital for speed and stability. Hold your head up while looking to the direction you are going. Your arms should be slightly bent shoulder width apart and parallel to the boom. Keep a straight back with bottom tucked in. Your legs should be shoulder width apart as you keep your front leg straight while the back leg slightly bent for control.
In windsurfing, being able to balance the forces is important and this is done by steering. When steering, it is important to take into consideration the center of lateral resistance (CLR) which is the imaginary vertical line from the daggerboard going straight up. When the force of the rig is balanced over CLR, you can expect to travel in a straight line. When you move the rig backwards, it means turning the front upwind. However, when you lean the rig forward, you will be turning the board into a different direction away from the wind.
Running is when you sail with the wind coming from behind you while the sail is positioned at a right angle to the board. This technique is very unstable and requires you to have a good sense of balance. The daggerboard can help you achieve stability but be cautious of the increasing wind as it can tip up your board. When that happens, you should retract your daggerboard.
Tacking means that you have to sail as close to the wind a possible and then make a sudden turn and go to the opposite direction while still staying close to the wind. To turn the front of your board through the wind and into the no-go zone, return first to the secure position while leaning the rig to the back of the board. Doing so will let you turn your board directly to the wind. Once you are through the wind, shuffle the mastfoot as you keep your feet closer to the center line. After doing that maneuver, you will now be positioned on the other side of the board. You could then transfer your hands to the boom and start sailing off. As you master this technique, you will be able to do tacking while keeping the board moving instead of going back to secure position.
Gybing is a technique involving changing course while sailing downwind. This can be done by leaning the rig forward into the front of the board while keeping the sail filled and steering your board in the opposite direction of the wind.
Practice is very important in order to master some of the most basic techniques in windsurfing. With regular practice, these techniques will become second nature. As a beginner, you can greatly learn by observing and talking with other windsurfers.