Introduction To Windsurfing Equipment

Getting started in windsurfing requires that you have access to certain types of equipment. Some of the equipment is necessary while other pieces are merely useful. Many beginners make the mistake of waiting until they've amassed every piece of gear imaginable before gaining experience. Doing so is counterproductive. Most of what you'll learn about windsurfing comes from being exposed to the sport. So, once you have access to a dependable board and sail, we recommend that you get started as soon as possible. In this article, we'll describe some of the equipment you'll need in order to enjoy your windsurfing experience.

Windsurfing Boards

You'll obviously need a board to start windsurfing. Most of the boards that are commonly used today are short (less than 8 feet) and designed for "planing," or traveling across the top of the water's surface. There are a variety of different boards, each created for a specific purpose. They can include freeride, freestyle, wave and slalom boards. Most contemporary boards are constructed of a blend using kevlar, a polystyrene foam and carbon fiber (though fiberglass is occasionally used, too).

Windsurfing Sails

Your board's sail is critical to maneuverability on the water. They're usually made from a polyester and mylar blend. For added durability, kevlar is often used to strengthen the portions of the sail that are most susceptible to the wind. Some windsurfing sails use a camber design to employ an aerodynamic drag. Others use a rotational design. Rotational sails are more difficult to control when bearing straight, but easier to maneuver.

Windsurfing sails are more intricate than they initially appear. They're designed with several parts that help control wind resistance and maneuverability. The sails are built with 2 points of tension, a set of pulleys and grommets for reinforcement as well as other components.

Understanding The Boom

The boom supports the structural integrity of the sail. In the past, rope was used to attach the boom to the mast. Though reasonably effective, they weren't as structurally sound as the booms that are manufactured today. Modern booms are typically made from a lightweight aluminum. They include a tailpiece, grip and markings for a harness. In addition to providing support for the sail, experienced windsurfers can also use the boom for maneuvering their board.

Wetsuit Basics

First, a wetsuit is usually unnecessary when windsurfing in mild conditions. They're normally used to windsurf in cold climates or areas where the water is especially chilly. Wetsuits are also useful for protecting your skin from the sun's UV rays. They're made from a kevlar and neoprene blend that provides a high level of thermal insulation. While wearing a wetsuit, your body heat is contained within the suit, preserving warmth.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Reading about the equipment used for windsurfing is useful and can guide you when you're ready to invest in the right gear. But, you should begin getting experience as soon as possible. Sign up for a windsurfing class to learn the fundamentals of the sport. An experienced instructor can offer advice regarding the best boards and sails for a beginner to learn with. Once you've gained a bit of experienced and mastered the basics, you can upgrade to gear that's more suitable to an experienced windsurfer.

The key is to get started, even if you have to rent your equipment (a good board and sail can cost over $1,000). Over time, as you learn the functions and importance of each piece, you can choose to invest in the gear that is most important to you.