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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Technique |

10 Myths About Learning How To Windsurf

Any sport, particularly ‘extreme’ sports have a fair amount of supposed barriers to learning. People often watch such sports giving comments like ‘oh, I would love to do that but it looks too difficult for me’ or ‘I wouldn’t know where to start with learning’. This little post will blow away 10 myths about learning how to windsurf!

Over the years you hear a lot of supposed barriers to learning how to windsurf from people who are not sure if the sport is something for them, even though they would really love to give it a try. The following are 10 of the most commonly repeated myths, along with an explanation as to why they ever came to be & what the real deal is about them!

10 Myths About Learning How To Windsurf

1. Windsurfing is difficult to learn
This is probably the No 1 reason people get put off giving the sport a go & the myth came about because windsurfing did used to be difficult! The design of the kit just wasn’t up to scratch back in the 80’s/90’s, with domed, slippery decks on the boards & big heavy sails with no real shape.

The good news is that in the last 10 years there have been massive leaps forwards in the design of windsurfing kit, making learning really easy. The boards have much more stability, with a fatter/shorter shape to make balance easy & control a lot more straight forwards. The decks have all over EVA foam grip to both give much needed grip & to protect your shins from any scrapes when learning how to get on the board. The sails, mast & booms have all been made a lot lighter which helps beginners get to grips with the equipment.

Beginners Windsurfing Lessons 2. There is no need to take any lessons, just learn from a friend
No, no, no. The worst thing you can do is to ‘just give it a go’. Windsurfing is a technical sport with a lot going on all at once, balance on the board, control of the sail, reading the wind, etc. It’s not that it has to be difficult but you do really need a few basic pointers before even heading out on the water so that you know exactly what you are trying to do & have even been up on a dry land simulator where an instructor can coach you through getting into the basic positions that you will need to repeat out on the water.

A little help with a lesson at a windsurf school makes a massive difference to your learning curve & overall enjoyment of the sport from day one. So often, we see well meaning relatives/friends trying to give someone pointers out on the water and all it end in is big frustration for both the wannabe instructor & the poor learner!

3. Windsurfing is expensive
Well yes the kit does cost a fair bit, I’ll give you that but no more than when you look at something like mountain biking or golf! As a beginner cost really doesn’t have to come into the equation. You take beginners windsurfing lessons then just rent equipment for some time to practice what you have been shown & use this rental time to move down through the size boards & up in sail sizes. It makes much more sense to do your progression on windsurf rental kit rather than buy a beginners setup only to sell it 3 months later at a big loss, once you need to move onto slightly more intermediate kit.

One thing to be careful of when using rental kit is that you go with a windsurf school that has quality, up to date & light weight equipment. Windsurfing is a lot about learning technique but also the quality of the equipment you are using can make or break the speed at which you progress.

4. Windsurfing is not cool
Yes during the 80’s/90’s windsurfing may have taken a bit of a back seat in the coolness department, particularly to kite boarding. Now though, just like skiing verses snowboarding things are going full circle and with the development of the kit has come the invention of high speed windsurf freestyle, taking the sport to a whole new level of coolness!

The Four Dimensions – Showcasing How Windsurfing Is Back On Top!

5. Windsurfing is a sport for the older generation
This point kind of ties in with the ‘not cool’ label of the last myth. For the same reasons; massive technical development of the kit leading to the crazy high wind freestyle & wave sailing possibilities windsurfing is definitely not just for the more senior of us!

6. Windsurfing is just for the fit & young
With all the images & video clips of the latest & greatest freestyle/wave moves windsurfing can actually now sometimes be seen as just a young persons sport. The great thing about windsurfing is that it is not an all or nothing extreme sport. You can participate at whatever level you want. Also, there is always something new to learn no matter how good you think you are, so you will never get bored!

7. It is hard work to pull a sail from the water
This is a classic myth about windsurfing that just isn’t true provided you go about learning in the correct way, i.e. take a beginners windsurfing course & use modern lightweight equipment. The only reasons this myth came about is because of people learning from friends who have the wrong type of sail (too big/heavy), learning at a windsurf school with old/heavy equipment or not learning the correct technique for pulling the sail from the water!

A great free top tip for pulling a windsurf sail from the water is to lift using your leg muscles and not your back. You need to squat way down low on the board with a good, solid shoulder width stance then push slowly through your strong leg muscles & keep your back straight. Your hands stay still on the uphaul rope, not moving until you have the sail almost up & have let the water drain from it. This way the strain is taken by your strong leg muscles and not your weaker back muscles.

8. It hurts to fall off the board
At the beginner to intermediate stages of windsurfing you really are not going to get anything worse than a few knocks. The video clips you see of people catapulting over the front of the board & exploding into the water are at a much more advanced level & even then usually only happen because they have not been taught good technique, being self taught rather than taking advanced windsurf lessons to help them fine tune their skills. Even the high speed crashes usually don’t result in anything other than getting winded or bashed against the sail. Windsurf crashes always look worse than they are!

9. You need to be a strong swimmer
Well, that all depends on where you learn how to windsurf! If you try to learn on the open seas then its going to be tough, with waves and deep water to contend with. Lakes are better but still mean you will be putting in a lot of effort getting on the board after every fall, as you will be quickly out of your depth. Also lakes tend to have freezing cold (deep) water & very gusty winds due to surrounding trees/buildings.

The best place to learn is somewhere like Poole Harbour, which is a semi protected bay on 3 sides, with prevailing onshore winds pushing you back to safety & shallow water in which you can easily stand up. When you fall in, just take a breather then easily climb back on the board from a standing position – perfect windsurfing conditions, it really doesn’t get any better than this!

10. You need to learn with a friend
It is always nice to take up a new sport with someone you know but it really isn’t a necessity if your family/friends don’t want to give it a go. Taking beginner windsurfing lessons in a small group environment means you will be learning with other like minded people that are in exactly the same situation as you. Everyone helps encourage each other & its ok because you are not the only one falling in! After your beginners windsurfing course, you can join a windsurf club to continue your learning, its a great way to socialise and unwind after work.

So, there you have it 10 myths about learning how to windsurf. As you can see its nowhere near as bad as some would have you believe and once hooked you will have years of happy windsurfing ahead of you!

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

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