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Windsurfing Tips

Is Windsurfing Dangerous?

is windsurfing dangerousAre you having concerns about learning how to windsurf? There’s no need to. It’s easy to learn and once you know how to control your gear there’s nothing more addicting than steering your gear downwind and going for a speed record.

Knowing that windsurfers are the fastest people on the water one question arises more than any other question about windsurfing.

And this question is: Is windsurfing dangerous?

Today I’m going to tell you all about the safety matters about windsurfing, so if you are curious about how safe this sport is then read on and get all your questions answered.

Is Windsurfing Dangerous?

Windsurfing is an extreme sport and therefore it can be dangerous but only if you don’t know what you are doing, or if you can’t control your gear in the given conditions, or if you’re searching for extreme boundaries and are willing to cross them.

On the other hand, if you know what you are doing and take the right precautions than the risks can be kept under control.

Of course, there’s always a possibility that you get yourself in a dangerous situation, you don’t even have to create it yourself but the conditions or the other people on the water can create a hazardous situation.

As mentioned before with the right precautions the risks can be brought back to a minimum but there can always happen something unpredicted.

However, the risks don’t weight up to the adrenaline rush windsurfing can bring you.

What Can Go Wrong When Windsurfing?

Windsurfing in out of control conditions.

When you’re a beginner you normally are windsurfing in low wind conditions and if not I strongly suggest you learn how to master your gear in these light breeze conditions before challenging the elements in more demanding conditions like rougher waters or stronger, gustier wind speeds.

It’s much safer to learn how to windsurf in light wind conditions, this way you don’t drift downwind too much and you don’t get thrown over the board so hard as when you would be windsurfing in stronger conditions.

Learn how to master light wind completely before getting out in stronger winds.

Going out all alone without anyone knowing where you are.

Another issue a lot of windsurfers might experience regarding safety is that things can get ugly when you’re all alone on the water without anyone ashore knowing where you are.

It’s never a good idea to go out windsurfing on your own even just for an hour.

Always let someone know where you are and let them know regularly that you’re okay. For this, you can send a text message with your smartphone so now and then.

Using gear not right for the conditions.

Another common thing causing windsurfers to get into unsafe situations is going out on the water with anything but the right equipment.

A too-small board or sail can get you into trouble sooner as you might think.

On the other hand, too big equipment can also result in unsafe situations.

Then there’s wrong equipment that can get you into nasty situations. as a beginner who is used to beginner boards or big freeride boards it’s not wise to go out on a board so small you never surfed before.

Always use equipment you’re used to and if you might doubt about equipment choice always take a wider or more volume board.

Going out in too extreme conditions.

windsurfers in a storm

Are you used to 10 to 15 knots windspeeds and perfect flatwater conditions? Then stick to that until you have the skills to start challenging more demanding conditions.

Stronger winds are more difficult to control and result in more wind chop.

Stronger winds are mostly gustier too, making it harder to control your board and rig.

Not wearing the right safety equipment.

Another thing to mention is the protective gear you should wear.

In the middle of summer, it’s attempting to wear only boardshorts and a harness when windsurfing but windchill and sunburn are a big concern even in summer.

Always wear a wetsuit or at least a neoprene body over your boardshorts.

It protects you from sunburn and windchill but also functions as an extra layer between you and the water when you crash hard.

Water is soft but hitting it after jumping from a wave and landing on you back or belly makes you realize how hard water can be.

Also in shallow waters with rocks or shells on the bottom, a wetsuit and windsurfing shoes or booties are often a must.

It might not be cool looking and you might argue because of the lack of contact with your board and foot straps but once you’ve cut your feet open at coral or lava reef, have been standing in a sea urchin or hurt your toes at razor-sharp shells at the ocean bottom you wish you had your booties on.

Windsurfing is Safe Enough!

Now you might be worried about all the issues I just addressed but don’t let them keep you away from windsurfing.

As extreme sports windsurfing can be dangerous but when you take the right precautions, know your level and go out windsurfing in conditions and at locations that are safe for the level you have than windsurfing is a safe sport.

Simply said, enjoy windsurfing at spots and with conditions your gear is caple of handling and never go out if you think you’re not up to the challenge.

And if you are on the water always look out for others around you, swimmers, stand up paddle boarders, kiteboarders and other windsurfers just to name a few.

They might look like they are under control but always keep your distance from them so in case something does happen you are at a safe distance from them.

One last thing I like to mention is that for safe windsurfing it’s really important that you know the safety rules on the water.

Always help others in need of help or go ashore and let people at the beach know where the one in stress is and let them call for help or a lifeguard.

When you are all alone with broken gear you would be glad as well when another watersport fanatic provides you help.

Take these simples rules with you and you’ll be fine.

Check, Check, Double Check…

What I want to add to this is always check your gear before heading out.

Use the folling checklist…Always!!!!

  • Is everything in one piece?
  • Is everything safely connected together?
  • Is your sail rigged the right way?
  • Are your harness lines still allright?
  • Are your footstraps screwed good at the board?
  • Is your mastfoot showing no signs of tear and wear?
  • Do you have extra rope in your harness stash pocket or mounted at your boom?

Is everything okay? Then nothing stands in your way of going out at the water and enjoying the best sport in the world.

 

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Windsurfing Tips

Windsurfing Shoes: The Ultimate Buying Guide

windsurf shoesWindsurfing shoes safe your feet from cuts, give you more grip on a slippery board and on top of that extend your windsurfing season. Time to find out all about them and get adviced to make your choice easier.

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Windsurfing Tips

The Ultimate Windsurfing Harness Lines Guide

windsurfing harness linesAre you new to using windsurfing harness lines? Do you want to know what the best position is, what the best length is or how far apart they should be placed?

Than this article is exactly what you were waiting for!

Choosing the right harness lines makes your time on water more enjoyable and your session will last longer because of the lower amount of strength you need (when using the the right way).

So just run into a surf shop grab the first set of lines you can find and you’re fine, right? Well, not exactly.

The variety among the lines available is huge. So it’s easy to get lost when you don’t know whare to start. Of course it’s best to try them out before buying but when buying online this often is not possible.

What Length Windsurfing Harness Lines Are Best For You

Windsurfing harness lines are available in different sizes. Measured in inches, so which length should you buy?

A good tip would be to place your wrist in between the two Velcro straps on one of your boom arm and have the loop of the line touch and go around your elbow.

Most common windsurfing harness lines are available in the 20 to 30” range. Smaller and longer lines are available as well, so don’t worry if you like to experiment outside the 20-30” range.

The perfect harness line length for you depends on some important factors like:

Your Windsurfing Stance

When standing more on top of your board with a boom positioned at chest height you can do with shorter harness lines as when you have your boom at chin height and are pushing with your feet on the rail of your board.

Your body, Or More Specific, Your Arm Length

It should be obvious that shorter people have less arm length compared to taller people. This means that you can do with shorter harness lines as well.

The Type Of Windsurfing Gear You Use

Depending on what type of sail and/or board you should adjust the length of your harness lines. Although on wave equipment you could do with shorter lines as on a slalomboard, longer lines on wave equipment are more advisable as shorter ones are.

With longer lines it’s easier to unhook fast if you need to. This can be of benefit when a wave starts to break sooner as you thought.

On boards from freeriding to slalom or formula windsurfing longer lines have the advantage to keep the rig more upward on your board.

Do You Prefer Being Underpowered Or Overpowered

When sailing underpowered you might want short lines for standing more upright on your board when being hooked in to your harness lines. When overpowered you could choose shorter lines as well to have more control over your equipment.

What Windsurfing Harness Model Do You Have

First of all we need to know what kind of windsurfing harness you have or like to buy. There are two main options to choose from. A waist harness which you wear higher and brings you more flexibility when swimming or a seat harness which is the standard for flat water.

Depending on the model the hook is placed higher (waist harness) or lower (seat harness). With all other things equal, the lower hook height makes you need longer harness lines on your boom to keep the sail in an more upwards stance instead of being raked back.

What About Adjustable Windsurfing Harness Lines

Adjustable harness lines are the way to go if you’re not sure yet which harness line length you like best. This way you only need one set and can try 22 to 30” all at once.

The great thing about these lines is that they even can be adjusted when sailing hooked in and most have line length indications, this way you can easily remember what line length you like best.

Adjustable lines are a great option as well when you’re serious about racing. This way you can have different line lengths on different courses.

Because of the changing stance and body positioning when doing a cross the wind or upwind course, you benefit from different line lengths.

With an adjustable harness line set you can stay hooked in perfect on all courses.

Or Maybe Rather Go For Fixed harness Lines

The opposite for adjustable harness lines is having a set of fixed windsurfing harness lines. Most people use this option.

They can be a good option; it’s for a reason that people use this type of harness lines the most, right?

Well, they are a good option if you know exactly what length you need and if you could do without the option of changing positions of your harness lines.

However, if you plan on using the boom where your harness lines are mounted on for different size and types of sails, than you‘re better of with adjustable harness lines.

Because of the different CE (center of effort) of different sail types and sizes you need to relocate your lines, which you have to do with adjustable lines as well.

But as you also have to have different line lengths for efficient windsurfing with different sails, there’s no better way than to have adjustable harness lines.

At the end you decide on what you like. Windsurfing harness lines, no matter what system, together with a harness are the best and only way into high wind windsurfing and longer session.

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Windsurfing Tips

3 Essential Winter Windsurfing Tips To Keep You Warm In Cold Water

Living in an area where the 4 seasons really ask for different attitudes and motivation when it comes to wind surfing, the coldest of the four asks some preparation from your side when you want to hit the water. And off course you do otherwise you wouldn’t have landed on this page.

So for all you die hard windsurfing fans for whom winter windsurfing is as logical as breathing air Im writing this article for you guys (and girls off course).

3 Essential Winter Windsurfing Tips for cold water warriors

preparing for winter windsurfingOnce you,re infected with the windsurfing virus there’s no turning back and you simply want to experience that adrenaline dose as ofgten as possible.

Off course with a sport like wind surfing you’re totally dependent of the weather gods. But once that predicted wind for your local area finally arrives, there’s no holding you ashore. Nothing in the world can keep you from packing your gear, taking the needed preparations and getting on the road to your local spot as soon as possible.

Though living in a place where winter really means winter might keep most people of the water, but not you, No, you simply want to get get that rush that only windsurfing can give you.

And to get that rush as often as possible, winter windsurfing sounds logical to you, but probably not to the non windsurfers around you.

And to be honest, if you are anything like me than you probably aren’t always jumping for you to hit the waters in those harsher months of year.

But with the right preparations there really is no excuse not to grab your gear and go for the beach in the winter months of year.

How best to prepare for a winter session?

I’ll provide you right now with my 3 best winter windsurfing tips!

Winter Windsurfing Tip #1: Tell others where you are going to windsurf

telephone call before windsurfingSafety is evertyhing! In winter even more so than in the warmer months of year. So, my first tip for you would be to always let someone know when and where you are going to windsurf.

Tell that person when you’ll be in touch with them.

Now that each and every person has a mobile phone, it’s easier than ever before to stay in touch with others. Especially in winter time when not that many other people will be around at the beach or on the water it’s wise to let others know where and waht you are doing.

It might even be e good idea to buy yourself a waterproof kind of bag where your mobile phone fits into. In cases of emergency, and you are alone, or no one is seeing that you are in danger, you can always call an emergency number.

In winter and when going out on your own, this extra money spend might one day safe your life!

Winter Windsurfing Tip #2: If in doubt don’t go out

safety firstWhen you arrive at your local beach (no matter if it’s at a lake or the sea/ocean) and you think the conditions are too extreme for you, than simply don’t go out.

This goes especially for you if you are the only windsurfer around. If conditions are to radical for your level (or the equipment you have) than be wise and stay ashore.

Maybe if you really need to go on the water try for a windsurfing spot where conditions are not that extreme. If this isn’t possible, don’t go on the water!

It’s better to miss a sessions than to be out of control on those cold waters and no one around to help or save you.

In cases like this it’s better to be safe than sorry (Actually this is always so, but especially in winter when things can get ugly much faster as they would in the warmer onths of year).

Winter Windsurfing Tip #3: Wear the right wetsuit.

preparing for windsurfing in winterIt’s obvious that you need a good wetsuit when windsurfing. With colder (air and especially water) temperatures it’s very important to wear the right wetsuit.

To give you an example, I have several wetsuits for different times in year. But if you don’t have (or want to buy) more than one wetsuit than be wise and pick the right one.

In Holland where I live water temperatures in summer can get close to 20 degrees Celsius and drop down to near 0 degrees in winter.

When you don’t want to windsurf in the coldest months of year, a 4 mm wetsuit would be best, but when you also want to be out on the water in december till february than you need a 5 mm wetsuit. Some would even wear a 6 mm drysuit but I never felt so cold in winter that I needed a drysuit.

In summer a 5 mm wetsuit is doable but could fast become too warm, so it’s inportant to decide in what conditions you want to windsurf and tahn decide what wetsuit to buy.

But for the winter windsurfers among us who need a one wetsuit for all year a (mostly single linided) 5 mm wetsuit would be best.

With colder temperatures I also wear a neoprene cap, neoprene gloves (mittens with open palms are best) sometimes a lycra or a 1 mm neprene body under my wetsuit and neoprene booties.

The booties (the lower windsurfing shoes are no option in winter) and gloves/mittens are available in different thicknesses. Thicker is warmer but also reduce flexibility and feeling with the board/booms fast.

So, it’s best to test them out in fall so you have the right ones with you when going for an artic session.

What are your top winter windsurfing tips?

Though I live by the just provided winter windsurfing tips, there must be other tips I didn’t mention but which are great tips to add to this article for other windsurfers al around the globe.

So, if you have any, please share them in the comment section below!

If you found this article usefull, sharing on Facebook is apreciated.