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Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in Equipment |

How To Choose A Windsurf Board

Deciding how to choose a windsurf board or quiver of boards can seem a little overwhelming for those that are relatively new to the sport & even for those that have been windsurfing for some time. The good news is we can give you a basic understanding of the different types of windsurf boards and what style of windsurfing they are each suited to. Also, some guidelines for deciding what size windsurf boards to get in your quiver (if you are lucky enough to be able to afford a quiver of windsurf boards!).

Lets start with the various types of windsurf boards…
There are boards to suit every size, shape & style of windsurfer & the type of windsurfing they wish to do. When you are starting out a big, floaty, stable platform is essential to get you quickly through the learning stages of windsurfing and there is a pretty smart calculation (yes, calculation!) that you can do to figure out what size beginners windsurf board you should be on at the outset.

Beginners Windsurf Boards

Goya Surf Windsurf BoardWhen you first start out learning how to windsurf you will soon realise that it is all about stability. If you are stable on your windsurf board then you are spending more time learning and less time falling off! Getting a decent modern profile beginners board is very, very important to your initial progress and going to a windsurf school that uses bang up to date equipment is great for those learning on a beginners windsurf course.

Now a days, quite sensibly, windsurf boards are measured in terms of volume. So a beginners windsurf board could be 220 litres, 200 litres or say 180 litres of volume. By this we mean how much volume of water the board can displace before it starts to sink under the surface of the ocean! Here is the technical bit, 1 litre of volume will float 1 KG of weight. So doing the maths, if you have a 200lt beginners windsurf board it can effectively support 200KG of weight. Sounds like a lot right? but when you factor in your weight, the weight of the equipment (board, rig, wetsuit, etc) it soon eats into the reserve floatation of your board!

As an example:
Your weight = 80KG
Equipment weight = 20KG
Total = 100KG

In the above example 100KG will need a board with 100 litres of volume to just keep it you on top of the water! This is why there is a second part to the calculation, something very important called ‘reserve volume’. Basically you take the total weight you just figured out & double it!

Total weight = 100KG
Reserve Volume = 100KG
Board volume required = 200KG

This will give a beginner a nice amount of reserve buoyancy as they are dancing around on the board trying to keep their balance. Without this amount of reserve volume, trying to learn how to windsurf would be a very frustrating & slow process, with any slight error being punished with a dunking in the water! The more volume you have the more stable you will be and the better you will float.

For more great background info on how to select beginners windsurfing equipment checkout our post The Secrets to Choosing Beginners Windsurfing Equipment

Freeride Windsurf Boards

Goya Carrera Windsurf BoardOnce you have all the basics of windsurfing sorted you will probably start to feel like the big beginners boards are a bit slow & unresponsive (not to mention heavy to carry!). Don’t get me wrong, you can learn a great deal on a nice stable beginners board. Everything from the absolute basics of getting up & sailing along right through to beachstarts, harness and even planing/footstraps can be learned on beginners boards. The thing is there comes a time when you just want a bit more from your board, usually speed & maneuverability! This is the time to start thinking about your next windsurf board…

A freeride windsurf board is a great next step down, they are designed to perform well just blasting along but also are very forgiving in the turns (something that takes a fair bit of practice to master). A freeride board will feel much faster & more playful than the beginners windsurf boards due to the fact they have less volume & a more tuned shape or profile.

Depending on your weight & rate of progression your first freeride board could be anywhere from 135lt up to 180lt of volume. Usually a first time freeride board between 145-160lt will be a good compromise between fun & stability. Here at the Poole Windsurfing School we have some brand new RRD Evolution’s in 145lt & 155lt for use on improver windsurf lessons or just for you to try out during windsurf equipment hire.

Freestyle Wave Windsurf Boards

Goya One Windsurf BoardProbably the most sought after type of windsurf board, the freestyle wave boards are a great combination of two other categories: the freeride board & the wave board. By fusing characteristics of the two types of boards into a new profile you get the best of both worlds. A freestyle wave windsurf board can hold its own in small to moderate waves yet can still be lots of fun just blasting around on relatively flat water (unlike a dedicated wave board).

Sizes for this ‘do anything’ windsurf board start at around 85lt and range up to 120lt. Any smaller than 85lt and you are really in need of a dedicated wave board & any bigger than around 120lt then you should really be looking to get a freeride cruiser!

Race Windsurf Boards or Formula Windsurf Boards

Only for the dedicated hardcore racers! Basically, as per the freeride windsurf boards but on steroids! Race boards will have hard rails making them a pain to go round corners but will absolutely fly in a straight line. If you get into your racing then grab a formula windsurf board, if not then leave well alone!

Freestyle Windsurf Boards

Goya Air Windsurf BoardOne path you may choose to follow with your windsurfing is into the world of windsurf freestyle. Basically like skateboarding on the water, windsurf freestyle is all about the tricks. Vulcans, Spocks, Flakas, Grubbies & those are just the basic moves – windsurf freestyle has progressed so fast and the moves being pulled now are off the scale. Checkout some of our video blog posts showcasing the top pro windsurf freestylers and latest moves…

Latest Windsurf Freestyle From Team Slowride
Shifty 720 Crazy Freestyle Windsurf Move/
Latest Tow-in Windsurfing Freestyle Moves/
Ladies Windsurfing Freestyle/
Windsurfing Legends Jose Gollito Estredo/

Windsurf freestyle boards ‘can’ do other things but are designed with fast acceleration, jumping & spinning in mind. Often the tail of a windsurf freestyle board is curved up slightly with a special rail design that allows for easy backwards sliding. Short, stubby, with a wide nose and special tail, these boards are why windsurf freestyle has taken off in a big way over the last few years!

Wave Windsurf Boards

Goya Custom Windsurf BoardFor some windsurfers its all about the waves and quite simply for this you need a wave board! The profile of a wave board is designed to not catch the nose as you try to get out over the waves and not catch a rail (the edge of the board) as you ride the waves back in. Straight line speed is not what a windsurf wave board is about!

Generally wave boards are used when its windy, although lately board shapers have realised that there can be a lot of wave fun to be had even on light wind days. Now a days you can get a dedicated wave board anywhere in the range of 68lt-110lt. As always, what size you choose depends on your personal weight, ability & type of wave riding/wind strength you want to use the board in.

What Size Windsurf Board To Use – How To Choose?

So, you now have the low down on the various styles of windsurf boards available and can use that info to decide what type is most suitable for your style of riding but how do you decide what size windsurf board to buy?

If you are starting from scratch then its usually pretty simple in that you can only afford one board! As you progress and really get into the sport you will find yourself wanting at least two boards, probably one low’ish volume dedicated high wind wave board and another all round higher volume freestyle wave/freestyle/freeride board (depending on your preferred type of riding) for the light wind days.

You can use our interactive spreadsheet guide for a quick reference to help choose what size windsurf board to use depending if you are a beginner, looking to get your first short board or even want to know what the smallest board is you can use before you start to sink! All you do is enter your weight in KG and it displays a graph of recommended board sizes for any given rider weight – nice!

All this knowledge will really help those of you trying to choose what type and size windsurf board to get. With the right style and size windsurf board you will be progressing fast and having way more fun out there on the water!

Happy Windsurfing.

Poole Windsurfing - No 1 for Windsurfing Lessons & Equipment Hire in Poole Harbour

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