How Hard is Windsurfing? Learning the Basics

Surfs up, wave riders! 🏄‍♀️ Ever watched those rad windsurfers slicing through the water with the wind in their sails and wondered, “how hard can that be?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we’re going to bring the thrill and excitement of windsurfing to life for you, our stoked surfers curious about embracing the wind. Chill out, wax up your curiosity, and let’s dive into

How Hard is Windsurfing? Learning the Basics

Windsurfing can be challenging for beginners, as it requires learning to balance on the board, handle the sail, and harness the wind’s power. However, with proper instruction, patience, and practice, mastering the basics of windsurfing can be an attainable goal. Key elements, such as choosing the right equipment, knowing the essential techniques, and being aware of safety measures, are crucial to making progress and promoting an enjoyable experience. Once you get the hang of it, windsurfing opens up a world of exhilarating fun on the water.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Finding the ideal gear is crucial when starting your windsurfing journey. To make the learning process smoother, focus on beginner-friendly options that offer stability, easier maneuverability, and solid performance.

The Board

As a rookie windsurfer, you’ll want to choose a wide, long, and buoyant board specially designed for beginners. These boards provide extra stability to help you keep your balance and make your initial windsurfing experience more enjoyable. In general, beginner boards have a minimum width of 70 cm and a volume of 150-250 liters. As you progress, you can gradually transition to more advanced boards with less volume to accommodate your newfound skills.

The Sail

While selecting the right sail, consider the available wind conditions of your practice spot and make a decision based on your body weight. Beginner sails range from 1.5 – 5.5 square meters (sq.m). As a rule of thumb, the following sail sizes are recommended by weight:

  • Below 100 lbs: 2-3 sq.m
  • 100-150 lbs: 3-3.5 sq.m
  • 150-200 lbs: 3.5-4.5 sq.m
  • Over 200 lbs: 4.5-5.5 sq.m

As you progress, you may upgrade your sail to catch more wind and ride faster, but it is essential to master the basics first with a beginner-friendly sail.

Mastering Essential Techniques

To gain confidence and get the most out of windsurfing, these fundamental techniques are crucial for beginners.


Before hitting the waves, it’s important to understand how to properly launch your windsurfing gear. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Select a safe and sandy spot on the beach, preferably free of rocks and obstacles.
  2. Extend your board perpendicular to the wind direction, with the sail resting on the lower side.
  3. As you enter the water, lift your sail gently, holding the uphaul rope – this will minimize resistance as you walk deeper.
  4. Once you’re knee-deep in water, position yourself at the center of the board and face the sail.
  5. Slowly pull the uphaul rope with both hands, gradually lifting the sail out of the water.
  6. Start sailing once the sail is fully out of the water, and you’re comfortably balanced on the board.

Basic Stance

Maintaining a proper stance on the board is a must for balanced sailing. Here are a few pointers for achieving the ideal posture:

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with the front foot pointing forward.
  • Bend your knees slightly and maintain a low center of gravity.
  • Hold the boom with a firm, wide grip, with your elbows down and slightly bent.
  • Keep your head up and look in the direction you want to go.

Steering and Turning

As you become comfortable with standing and balancing on the board, it’s time to learn how to steer and glide in different directions. Two common turning maneuvers to master are the upwind and downwind turn:

  • Upwind turn: To steer upwind, lean the sail back while applying pressure on the heels of both feet. Your board will gradually head toward the wind, and your body weight will help keep the sail steady.
  • Downwind turn: To change course in a downwind direction, lean forward into the sail and apply pressure on your toes. As you do this, the board will respond by shifting downwind, making it easier to navigate through the waves.

Quick Tips for Becoming a Rad Windsurfer

While you’re mastering windsurfing basics, here are some helpful reminders to ensure you learn efficiently and effectively.

Be Patient

Windsurfing can be challenging, but the key to success is to be patient and persistent. Give yourself time to learn and grow, without expecting to become an expert overnight. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Plan for Weather Conditions

Stay updated about the weather forecast, especially concerning wind strength and direction, before venturing out to windsurf. Beginners should aim for consistent light winds and avoid gusty conditions, which can be quite demanding when starting out.

Take a Lesson

Investing in professional windsurfing instruction can be hugely beneficial for mastering the basics and learning about safety measures. A certified instructor can guide you through various techniques while providing valuable tips and preventing the development of bad habits.

Connect with Others

Joining a local windsurfing community or making friends with fellow windsurfers can help improve your skillset and provide moral support. Sharing windsurfing experiences, tips, and tricks with others can help accelerate your learning progress, and you might also find sweet deals like used surfboards for sale.

Stay Safe on the Water

Understanding and addressing safety concerns is an essential part of windsurfing.

Wear Appropriate Gear

Protective gear such as a life jacket, wetsuit, helmet, and footwear are necessary for a safe and enjoyable windsurfing experience. Use life jackets specifically designed for windsurfing, which allow greater freedom of movement.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Keeping track of your environment is a crucial component of water safety. Look out for other water enthusiasts, swimmers, rocks, or obstacles to prevent any accidents. Moreover, always respect local regulations, swimming areas, and shipping lanes.

Use a Board Leash

Unexpected falls can and will happen, so using a board leash keeps you connected to the board even if you wipe out. A board leash ensures you won’t lose your board and makes it easier to get back on and keep riding the waves.


Windsurfing is indeed a challenging yet immensely exciting watersport. Utilizing the right equipment, mastering the essential windsurfing techniques and key tips, and ensuring safety measures will significantly contribute to a successful and enjoyable learning experience. Remember to be patient, embrace the adrenaline, and make some great memories while you’re at it. So go on, gear up and catch those waves!

Maintaining and Caring for Your Gear

Now that you know how to choose the right equipment and master a few crucial techniques, it’s important to learn how to care for your windsurfing gear, ensuring miles of awesome watery adventures ahead.

Board Care

Keep your board shipshape by rinsing it thoroughly with fresh water after every session to remove salt residue and sand. Avoid leaving your board out in direct sunlight for extended periods, as this could cause it to overheat, experience discoloration, or even warp the material. Store your board in a cool, shady spot or use a protective board bag for extra care.

Sail and Mast Care

Rinse your sail and mast with fresh water after each use, allowing them to dry completely before rolling them up for storage. This will prevent salt from building up and damaging your gear. Keep your sail and mast stored in suitable bags to protect them from the elements and ensure their longevity.

Boom Care

Clean and rinse your boom with fresh water after each use, and be sure to dry it off properly before storing it away. Regularly inspect the boom for any cracks, rust, or signs of weakness. Replace any damaged or faulty parts, and keep your boom in top-notch condition for an effortless and enjoyable windsurfing experience.

Find Your Windsurfing Tribe

Finding a windsurfing buddy, joining a windsurfing group, or participating in windsurfing events can make the entire learning process even more enjoyable. Building a network of like-minded individuals enhances camaraderie, shared learning, and plenty of hilarious wipeout stories over post-session drinks. Besides, having friends who share your newfound passion makes it even more fun and exciting to invest time and effort into mastering the art of windsurfing.

Stay Motivated and Push Your Limits

Though windsurfing can be challenging, especially in the beginning, staying motivated and pushing your limits is key to your continued progress. Set achievable goals for yourself, and celebrate every milestone, big or small. As you become more comfortable and skilled, raise the bar and keep challenging yourself. By doing so, you’ll be amazed by how far you’ve come from those initial days of wobbly knees and wonky turns.


With the right approach, a healthy dose of patience, and a supportive community around you, windsurfing will quickly become an addiction you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Covering those essential basics will open doors to countless exciting adventures on the water, allowing you to explore new horizons and develop an entirely unique perspective of surfing. So embrace the wind, my fellow wave riders, and may you sail smoothly across the water while finding a whole new way to express your love for the ocean!

FAQ: Windsurfing Basics

In case you still have some pressing questions about windsurfing, here’s a handy FAQ addressing common queries related to this exhilarating watersport. Check out these questions and answers to clarify some of the essential aspects of windsurfing that might have caught your interest.

1. How long does it take to learn windsurfing?

The learning curve for windsurfing varies from person to person. On average, it may take around 10-20 hours of practice to grasp and confidently execute the basic techniques, such as launching, steering, and maintaining a proper stance. Practice, patience, and perseverance go a long way in developing your windsurfing skills.

2. Can children learn windsurfing?

Absolutely! Windsurfing can be an enjoyable and rewarding sport for children, though it’s generally recommended to introduce them to windsurfing starting from ages 7 or 8, when they have developed sufficient balance, strength, and coordination. Specially designed kids’ gear, such as smaller sails and boards, can make their learning experience more gratifying.

3. Is windsurfing suitable for people with disabilities?

Yes, windsurfing can be an inclusive sport for individuals with disabilities. With the right adaptive equipment, proper supervision, and suitable coaching, people with a wide range of disabilities can safely and successfully participate in windsurfing. Many windsurfing schools offer specially designed programs to cater to various needs.

4. Can I travel with my windsurfing gear?

Traveling with windsurfing gear is possible, but be prepared for the hassle of packing, additional luggage fees, and potential transport complications. When traveling with your gear, use protective bags and properly dismantle, pack, and secure your equipment. Alternatively, consider renting gear at your destination or investing in travel-specific, compact gear.

5. What is the ideal wind speed for beginner windsurfers?

When starting out in windsurfing, it’s essential to choose light wind conditions to build your foundation. Aim for windspeeds between 5 and 15 knots (9-28 km/h; 6-17 mph), as they offer a gentle, manageable environment for beginners.

6. What’s the difference between windsurfing and kitesurfing?

Windsurfing and kitesurfing are both wind-powered watersports, but they differ in equipment and techniques. Windsurfers use a sail attached to a mast on a surfboard, whereas kitesurfers use a kite and a bar to control it, typically paired with a smaller, specialized board. Each sport has its own unique set of skills, learning curve, and community, and trying both can be a great way to find your preferred wind-powered passion.

7. Is windsurfing a good workout?

Windsurfing is an excellent full-body workout as it engages your core, arms, legs, and back muscles to balance, steer, and control the sail. The sport boosts cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility while honing your balance and coordination. It’s not just about physical fitness – windsurfing sharp