Sailing for some can be quite an adventurous and enjoyable activity to do in the open arms of the sea. But for some sportsmen out there, they know a different kind of sailing. This sailors’ love for extreme adventure gave birth to an extreme water sport now popularly known as windsurfing.
Windsurfing is an extreme sailing sport because it is a combination of the knowledge and skills of a sailor and a surfer. Before, it was just a recreational activity for some of the surfers in California in the 60’s; but now, it is a competitive sport that can be found in almost any part of the world that has the waves and good amount of wind. It is now even included in the Olympics. Today, it can both be played outdoor and indoor.
Engineer Jim Drake’s idea of a single-person sailboard has now become one of the most exciting water sports coming out of the Californian waves. Different modifications of his idea have motivated other variations of the sports such as the wakeboarding and kite surfing. However, they all depend on two of nature’s helpers---the wave and the wind.
A wind surfer’s equipment is called a sailboard. It is a modified surfboard with an attached movable mast. The surfer will stand upright on the modified board and then control the sail in the boom in order to, basically maneuver with the wind and thus control the speed and direction of the sailboard.
The basic knowledge one has to know is the basics of sailing, the basic of surfing and importantly, swimming. Learning how to sail and work with the wind is important because it is what one needs in order to, skillfully maneuver his sailboard towards the direction he wants. Surfing techniques are also important so that the surfer can ride with the waves at the same time maneuver the sail. And swimming is the skill one must not forget so that if he ever finds himself in the water, he knows how to get back and retrieve his sailboard as well as put himself into safety.
Windsurfer’s sailboards also vary depending on the purpose and the skill of the surfer. The commonly used sailboards are the shortboards and longboards. However, modern design in the windsurfing technologies has produced different styles of boards, such as:
- Freeride board – for recreational cruising only that does not need a lot of turning; only straight sailing.
- Formula Class windsurfing – shortboards for formula windsurfing race.
- Waveboard – maneuverable boards used for breaking waves.
- Freestyle – similar to waveboards; only, modified for more acrobatic tricks.
- Slalom board – a board designed for speed rather the maneuver. This is a shortboard type.
- Beginners – this is also called as funboards. A wide board with a daggerboard on it for stability.
- Race Longboards – this is the type of board used for Olympic races.
There are basic techniques and equipments one has to know in order to start riding that wave and enjoy the great adventure windsurfing can provide:
- Wet suit
- Board bags
- Stance and balance – one has to know how to balance properly when on top of the board and sailing.
- Using the harness – one must know how to use the harness when sailing in the wave with a 10mph wind. This will help ease the arms from tensions and stress.
- Using the footstrap – a footstrap helps the windsurfer to control the speed of the board. Learning how to use this will ensure good maneuver at maximum speed.
- Beach start – it is a technique on how to get the board on the shallow part of the ocean-- basically knee-deep.
- Water start – it is the next level after the beach start-- learning to get your board in the deeper part of the water.
- Learning the jibe – is basically a technique for changing curve and direction by changing the position of the feet. This is ideal when one is ready for maneuvering at high wind speed.
There are a lot of video tutorials and tips available in the internet nowadays. Basically, one can learn windsurfing by just following those instructions. Once mastered, this extreme sport will definitely hype out adventure seekers who want to try new and exciting sports the world can offer.