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Posted by on Dec 13, 2009 in Equipment | 7 comments

The Secrets to Choosing Beginners Windsurfing Equipment

Rocking the Retro!

Rocking the Retro!

Having just read yet another forum post somewhere asking if what seems like the bargain of the century in terms of windsurfing kit is going to be OK for a beginners windsurfing equipment setup, I thought its about time I gave what I see as the definitive answer on the subject.

The event of Ebay & the like has opened the selling flood gates for everyone who has old windsurf kit from the 80’s knocking around. Its a great excuse to dig it out, dust it down & sell it! One of the most frequently asked questions I get from a student who has just finished their beginners windsurfing lessons & is looking for kit is along these lines ‘I’ve just seen the most amazing offer on Ebay – 1 board, 3 sails, 2 mast & all the fittings for only £50!’. Now don’t get me wrong if all you are looking for is a plank & some kind of wind catching cloth to splash around with on a couple of hot summers days then great, go for it! If on the other hand you are serious about wanting to learn & continue to progress (fast) with your windsurfing then steer well clear of such supposed bargains.

The reality is that you do unfortunately have to spend some money to get yourself a decent, modern setup of beginners windsurfing equipment. The good news is there are still ways to get everything you need without spending a fortune. There are great ways of getting bargain buys whether you are looking to go 2nd hand or buy brand new windsurfing equipment.

I will share my top tips for sniffing out a bargain in a future post, so keep checking back to learn the insider secrets of where & how to buy some great priced beginners windsurfing equipment!

For now I just want to focus on what is right & what is so definitely wrong when it comes to choosing the type of windsurf kit you go for. The problem with all this ‘retro’ old kit that is always flooding the market is just that – it’s ‘retro’! When you look at how fast windsurfing has progressed as a sport in the last few years & how quickly someone can go from beginners windsurfer to semi-pro windsurfer it is an amazing testament to the modern equipment!

I remember it taking me a whole summer to learn the vitally import beachstart technique. Admittedly, I didn’t have any lessons (not a good thing with such a technical sport) but I like to think I am a fast learner with some degree of natural talent for watersports! To put this into perspective, with a bit of tuition I can get usually have someone who has just finished their beginners windsurfing lessons beachstarting within a few hours!!

This is obviously down to the great tuition we provide here at Poole Windsurfing 😉 but also the quality of the modern windsurf kit we use. There is a very clear difference between old & new style kit, starting with…

The Windsurfing Boards

A classic retro windsurf board

A classic retro windsurf board

Old beginners windsurfing board:
Narrow, long, rounded deck, no grip, mastfoot far forward, straps to trip over = hard to balance on!

New beginners windsurfing board:
Shorter, wide, flat deck, all over (soft!) grip, mastfoot centered, clutter free deck = easy to balance on!

The windsurf sails

Nice colours but no cigar!

Nice colours but no cigar!

Old windsurfing sails:
wide, soft, no/few battens, wide luff (front) tube, camber inducers = heavy, difficult to control power!

New windsurfing sails:
narrower width, fully battened, narrower/shaped luff tube, no camber inducers = light, direct controllable power!

The rest of the kit

All the gear but no idea!

All the gear but no idea!

Old windsurfing equipment:
Loose boom, heavy epoxy mast, badly fitting extensions & accessories = inefficient & heavy kit!

New windsurfing equipment:
securely attached boom, light carbon mast, plug & play extensions & accessories = efficient & light weight kit!

It really is that different between the old style of windsurfing equipment and the new. Hopefully my insights into what is right & what is so clearly wrong when looking at what to buy will help everyone avoid getting stuck with equipment that they then have to stick on Ebay ready for the next bargain hunting windsurfer to come along!

Happy Shopping from all at Poole Windsurfing.

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

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  1. thanks glad i found your article before becoming a bargain purchasing windsurfer. i think it has helped

  2. When you say “old”, what year is “older” and what approx year is “new”?

  3. To get the modern short/wide profile windsurf boards you are looking at minimum of 10 years and newer. This should give you a board with the volume nicely under the area where you stand; helping keep you stable, get planing earlier & match the drive from new sails.

    For windsurf sails & other windsurfing equipment, I would suggest getting at least as new as your board so that you make the most of your nice new toy! Centre of effort in a modern sail is set much further forward and matches very well to the more setback mast track position of a new shape board. Old sail with new board or new board with old sail combo’s just don’t match up very well, giving you either the feeling of being pulled over the front of the board (old board/new sail) or grinding along with a lot of effort but no real forward drive (new board/old sail). As for the mast, there really is no excuse not to have at least a 35-40% carbon 2 piece mast & a nice new boom with good grip & a solid front clamp system to round off your decent windsurfing setup.

    For some helpful tips on what to look for when making your windsurfing purchases have a read through this article:

  4. I recently saw boards described in ltrs what is that about? And how cheap is too cheap?

  5. Nowadays, windsurf boards are always talked about in terms of litres of volume. It equates to how much a board will float in the water, which is a useful thing to know! 1 KG of weight is equal to 1 litre of volume, so given this information you can calculate how much volume a windsurf board must have to keep you afloat.

    There is a really good article all about choosing the right sized windsurf board & windsurfing sails:

    It includes a link to download a great tool for calculating what size windsurf board or windsurf sail is right for your weight.

    When you ask how cheap is too cheap?
    Good question – usually approximately £350-£600 is a good price for a quality/modern 2nd hand windsurf board. Any cheaper and you may well be getting into the realms of the ‘retro windsurf equipment’ which can be a real progress stopper!

  6. New to the sport. What kit do i need for pleasure sailing