Are 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.
- 1 Is Windsurfing Dangerous?
- 2 What Can Go Wrong When Windsurfing?
- 3 Windsurfing is Safe Enough!
- 4 Check, Check, Double Check…
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.
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.