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Posted by on Sep 12, 2019 in Equipment, Technique |

Learn how to windsurf! Why it’s now EASIER than EVER.

Back in the day, life was simpler, sails were brighter and boards were narrower and longer… much, much longer. Since the advent of windsurfing in the 1970, the kit design and technology has changed dramatically. On of the examples of an old-school board is the immortal Xantos produced by F2 – a board that I learned to windsurf on. In today’s article, we’ll have a look at how the design of the boards has changed over the years. And how those changes made it easier than ever to learn how to windsurf!

Old vs New equipment comparison.

Long and slim or wide and stubby?

Back in the day, boards size was measured by it’s length. There was little difference between particular models, as all of them took inspiration heavily from dingy sailing and yachts.

Long and heavy are the key two terms here. Before we delve into the nitty gritty of how it affects windsurfing itself, there’s an important element when trying to learn how to windsurf that many people overlook: transporting the kit. Biggest monsters would reach up to 4 meters and feature a heavy keel, than made lifting such a board at least a 2 person job.

Modern boards are specified by their volume rather than length and vary in shape greatly depending on the discipline. However, by and large, all modern boards are a lot shorter and wider than their predecessors. This, combined with the use of new materials, such as carbon fibre laminates, and advanced manufacturing allowed the boards to shave off a lot of weight! Thanks to that, it is not a problem to load the board on top of your car, drive it to the nearest spot and get it ready without tiring yourself out.

Sailing technique – learn how to windsurf

Now that we established that it’s easier to get on the water at all with modern kit, we can have a look at the differences in the sailing technique. One of the biggest differences in design between old and new boards is the distance between the mast foot and the fin. Because of that, the boards naturally had a bigger tendency to veer off downwind.

Old-school windsurfing board with a lady on the back.
Old windsurfing set. Notice how far forward the sail is mounted – leaving plenty of room for a stowaway!
|Average Joe Windsurfer|

Modern board has a much shorter distance between the centre of effort and the fin. Because of that is much more sensitive to the movement of the sail towards the back, steering into the wing a lot easier. When you learn how to windsurf, this allows you to be in a much more comfortable position.

All about that balance…

The second biggest advantage comes from the sheer width of deck to stand on! The wider board profile is a lot more stable in low wind conditions, allowing learners to stay on the board much more easily. Further, the shape of the board affects it’s response to stronger winds and higher speeds.

Designers of the old boards attempted to make the board cot through the water with its sleek hull, effectively chasing the highest non-planing speed. However, modern boards trade off some of that ‘static’ speed for a lot earlier planing.

Think of it as trying to make a stone go as far as possible on the water. A sleek, round one will make it further when it is thrown directly in the water, but is pretty rubbish at skipping. A wider, flat one will not go very far when thrown into the water, but skipped just right, it will happily skim on top of the surface for ages!

Other advantages of modern kit when you learn how to windsurf

When you learn how to windsurf, it’s important to not have your equipment slow you down. That’s why at Poole Windsurfing, we use the latest equipment from passion driven manufacturer Goya Windsurfing.

Goya Surf - A board you learn how to windsurf on at Poole Windsurfing. Top and bottom view.

Designed and manufactured with beginners in mind, the Surf is stable, forgiving and just plain fun to learn on! Paired with modern, light sails from the same manufacturer, the entire set is a pleasure to use. But the improvements in sail technology are a topic for another time…

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