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Windsurfing fresh looks – alternative wind powered ways.
Windsurfing isn’t the one trick pony you think you know. There’s more than one way to skin a cat – so the old saying goes. And that’s especially true with windsurfing. Sure, you have standard windsurf disciplines – wave sailing, slalom, course racing (race board), formula, freestyle and freeride – but these days there’s so much more available and ways to get your fix.
Time and again we hear how people have left the sport, finding equipment too cumbersome or planing conditions never lining up as often as liked. Yet, with the advent of foils, windSUP, inflatable performance boards and compact rigs there’s never been easier ways to access windsurfing and all its benefits – wherever you’re based. As Arnaud de Rosnay once said (Google him if you’re not familiar): ‘all you need is water and a little wind’.
For some windsurfing always be high winds and waves that really get the juices flowing. But most of us appreciate this type of scenario is usually fewer and farther between during summer in the UK. And in many cases, travelling will be required. Sometimes, as much as you yearn for something, the harder it is to come by.
In days gone by frustration would creep in due to the lack of full power wind. Most sailors’ backyards/locals can be as fun as anywhere when the stars align. But we do get extended periods of breeze drought in the UK.
Finding other interests – such as foiling (just one example) –will help alleviate the strain between 20+ knot sessions. Trips to warm and breezy climes also help. The biggest thing, however, is to embrace the lighter blow side of the sport and these new concepts we have available that make this possible. Getting out on lower wind days really does help you improve your overall technique – the gurus swear by this as we all know.
Learning to foil can also help. We know from chatting that some riders now see certain conditions in a different way and increase their time afloat. Performance blow up windy boards have added another dimension and are available if you seek them out.
Floating around ala windSUP style, just enjoying being out on the water, is mellow and meditative if you broaden your mind to let it in. Long/race board coastal cruising is nothing new and we as riders should do more of this. The whole ‘destination windsurfing’ thing is real and super fulfilling. Pockets of riders exist around the UK but they often get eclipsed by the more familiar rip, shred and tear brigade.
The benefits of light wind sailing have been promoted until the cows come home and we get it’s a hard sell for those who just want a blasting fix. Maybe it’s an age thing but you can’t make it windy, so therefore some of the older windsurfers are better at taking what’s on offer. But take it from us when we say the biggest surprise for anyone summer windsurfing maybe how much they enjoy sub-10 knot sessions.
Also try the new breed of windy kit – foils and inflatables. Plenty of brands selling their wares are keen to get riders on board (literally). Hit up one of the many demo days around the UK and have a go for yourself. Even if these offshoots aren’t for you there’ll be other kit to dabble with – some of which may provide the solution you’ve been looking for. The biggest tip for high season summer wind riding is don’t close your mind to the possibilities…