Windsurfing Equipment Needed? A Buyers Guide
A few weeks ago I wrote here on Top Windsurfing Tips & News an article about The Secrets to Choosing Beginners Windsurfing Equipment and promised to give you all my insider tips for hunting down those bargain buys & what exactly you should be looking to check when making a purchase.
Where to buy your Windsurfing Equipment from?
Basically there are 3 different routes to explore when it comes to scoping out those windsurfing equipment bargains:
1. Brand New Windsurfing Equipment, Retail Shop discount ‘package deals’ – as with any kind of purchase, buying in bulk from one supplier gives you the customer one great advantage, Buying Power. Windsurfing retail shops are always open to giving discounts to those who are buying a complete windsurf package, 10% off the total price, harness lines or even a boom thrown in for free, there is always something that can be negotiated when bulk buying.
Pro’s: Knowledgeable staff (hopefully!), may have a try before you buy option, possibility of returning faulty kit, buying brand new – everything fits together & just works!
Con’s: Brand new windsurfing equipment loosing its initial retail value quickly, outgrowing your brand new kit, over-priced compared to buying ‘nearly new’ equipment, being given the wrong advice/sold what needs to be sold (hopefully not, if you have gone with a reputable shop)
2. Nearly New Windsurfing Kit – this is where you can really strike gold when it comes to getting yourself a bargain in the world of windsurfing. The great thing about this way of buying is that you can read up on all the windsurfing reviews, find exactly what brand, model, size, year of board you want, then use the following techniques to hunt down a bargain.
There are lots of online & offline places to look for your chosen windsurfing equipment wish list, the best of which are probably, using your local ‘free ad’ type newspaper (such as the Ad Trader paper for the Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset area) where you can track down some really great genuine bargains that people just want to get rid of to make space in their garage! More recently, the best success I have had when searching for ‘nearly new’ windsurfing equipment has been On-Line, via the Boards Magazine Classifieds section. This is a great addition to their site that even lets you make a ‘wish list’ of all the kit you are after & will even send you an email notification just as soon as someone lists that exact piece of kit for sale so you are first in line for a bargain!
Pro’s: Newly new windsurfing equipment at way below retail prices, can spread your search & get instant updates as & when your desired kit is listed for sale.
Con’s: Need to make your own research as to what type of kit is suitable for you, travel time to go pickup your bargain purchases, must know what to look for when viewing potential kit, may have long waiting time until your desired windsurf board, sail, etc becomes available for sale.
3. Second Hand Windsurfing Equipment – this method of buying kit really is hit or miss! You could land the windsurfing bargain of the century or end up with a pile of useless retro windsurfing junk, see my previous post about The Secrets to Choosing Beginners Windsurfing Equipment for a background into what exactly you should be looking for & what you should avoid like the plague. There is a never ending source for second hand windsurfing equipment. Retail shops always have a few racks of second hand windsurf boards, windsurfing sails, mast & booms. Your local ‘Free Ads’ paper, Ebay & the more specialist online specialist classifieds sites such as the one on the Boards website mentioned earlier in this post and finally personal contacts – everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who is trying to sell windsurfing equipment!
Pro’s: Potential for windsurfing bargain of the century!
Con’s: A lot of background research to find your bargains, more than ever you must know what to look for when viewing potential kit, may have long waiting time until your desired windsurf board, sail, etc becomes available for sale.
What to look for when viewing windsurfing equipment?
If buying new equipment, things should be pretty straight forward because you will be getting helped out by your local windsurf retail shop. Just check that everything is going to fit together, as ‘plug & play’ as possible. I mean, check the boom will fit the sails you have/hope to have, all rope pulley systems are easy to operate, the board to sail connection is the right fit, the boom extension uses an easily adjustable system, the mast will fit the sail properly & you have the correct mast extension if necessary.
For second hand windsurfing equipment you really need to know a few little secrets to help check you end up with some quality kit & not a water logged plank! For the boards, check there are no soft spots on the deck, by pressing all over with your thumbs. If you find the outer skin of the board can be easily pressed inwards this is a good indication that water has seeped into the foam core at some point, making it contract & leaving a gap between it and the outer skin. This means 2 things, the board has had a knock at some point & it will now be irreversibly water logged & heavy.
Second hand windsurf sails should not have any major rips or repairs in the luff tube (where the mast is inserted), same goes for the mono-film panels which should also not be too opaque/milky in colour – a sign that they have seen too much sun & will be brittle/easily damaged.
Booms should still be easy to adjust & have good grip left. Check the UJ (Universal Joint) does not have any splits in the rubber and that the pulley system on mast extensions are still running smoothly.
Ok, so you now know the options available for buying your windsurfing equipment, where to look to sniff out the real bargain buys & what to check for before you hand over your cash! All the info in this post is great but what happens if the unthinkable happens…you damage your lovely new windsurfing kit!
In a future post I will run through how to fix holes in your board, rips in your sail and anything else that you can damage, so check back to the Top Windsurfing Tips & News blog to learn the essential DIY windsurfing repairs that you will undoubtedly need at some point.