How Do I Start Windsurfing (and Is It Dangerous and Hard)?

If you are serious about pursuing the sport of windsurfing, the first step is to book a lesson with a highly trained and qualified instructor. They can guide you in learning the basics and getting the gear perfect for your skill level and physical attributes. Windsurfing can be both dangerous and challenging, but it all depends on how safely or recklessly you pursue it.
How Do I Start Windsurfing

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Windsurfing has gained a significant number of followers in the last decade. This is because the sport has become accessible to people due to a lot more windsurfing schools opening up to the public. Aside from that, windsurfing has proven to be an amazing sport with equally amazing physical and mental benefits.

Is Windsurfing Easy or Difficult to Learn?

Windsurfing is both easy and difficult to learn. Easy because if you are given proper instruction and are using the right gear, then you can catch on the basics pretty quickly. However, mastering the sport can be a whole other difficult matter completely.

Windsurfing is the combination of the fundamentals of other watersports like sailing and surfing, which means that learning the sport can be pretty difficult. While it is not a requirement that you know how to either sail or surf, being acquainted with the proper way to do both would be a huge advantage, especially if you want to get serious about the sport.

Like all physical sports, expect windsurfing to have a learning curve. It’s not something that you will learn with just an hour of lessons, and you have to be okay with that. What you need to do to keep learning is, of course, to keep practicing.

How Can I Learn Windsurfing?

While there are online instructions on how to windsurf, it is still better to take lessons from a qualified windsurfing instructor. With an instructor, you will be trained on how to stay upright on the board properly and learn the many moves that go with windsurfing.

Aside from that, they can guide you on the best gear that you need to purchase if you want to pursue the sport. With the help of a certified instructor, you will be able to learn windsurfing safely and correctly.

Where Can I Learn Windsurfing?

Lucky for us, we live in a world where there are many windsurfing meccas. If you are extremely lucky, you might even be living in one of these windsurfing hotspots. If that’s the case, then learning the sport would be a tad easier because you would be surrounded by highly qualified instructors and die-hard windsurfing enthusiasts alike.

Here are some of the best places on Earth to take windsurfing lessons:

  • Sal, Cape Verde: The Cape Verde island is known as one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. It is located on the west coast of Africa and boats of flat water and consistent winds. Make sure to head directly to the main windsurfing area in the town of Santa Maria. Once there, enjoy your lessons (often starting at 9 in the morning) surrounded by a white sand beach, amazing weather, and great waves.
  • Corralejo, Fuerteventura: Located in the Canary Islands, you can visit Corralejo to try out different windsurfing conditions. They often change with the season, so it is a location perfect for beginners and advanced riders alike. The windsurf center is located in Flag Beach. They cater to beginners and professionals looking to master their craft, and lessons are taught by highly qualified instructors.
  • Tarifa, Spain: This windsurfing location is situated in the southern tip of Spain. You have several options on where to go windsurfing, including Hurricane and Las Dunas. Both locations are great for beginners because they are very wide, and the windsurfing conditions are fantastic. However, the wind can get gusty in the afternoon, so beginner better start their lessons by 10 in the morning.
  • Alacati, Turkey: Known for its reliable wind and good value, Alacati boasts a sheltered bay stretching 500 meters or 1,640 feet in length and 400 meters or 1,312 feet in width in shallow sections. The area also offers flat water and consistent winds, which makes it a desirable place for beginners wanting to learn the sport. The wind can get strong towards the end of the day, so be sure to join lessons in the morning around 9 AM.
  • Kos, Greece: This is a popular location for windsurfing due to its long, sandy beaches and consistent winds. If you want the best conditions, then head on over to Kefalos Bay, located in the south-west tip of the island, where the wave is flat, and the wind is ideal for beginners. Make sure to sign up in morning lessons to avoid strong winds.
  • Sardinia, Italy: This is one of the most popular windsurfing locations in the Mediterranean. You will be greeted by white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, which are great for both beginners and advanced riders. Once you are in Sardinia, you can visit Porto Pollo, known as the prime windsurfing spot on the island. If you happen to travel to Sardinia during the off-peak season, you can easily hire a qualified instructor. However, if you want to join the flock of windsurfers during the high season, make sure to pre-book your lessons to make sure that you will be accommodated.
  • Bonaire, Dutch Antilles: Located in the Caribbean, Bonaire is often described as a virgin area because it is one of the islands in the Dutch Antilles that is least tourist-developed and visited. If your only intention is to windsurf, then go directly to the Lac Bay. It is an ideal spot for beginners due to its consistent winds, shallow, crystal clear water, and flat waves. The wind is high during the months of May through July, while it is lowest during October through November. The rest of the year offers consistent wind conditions that are ideal for beginners.
  • Essaouira, Morocco: This location offers diverse windsurfing conditions that are great for riders of all skill levels. Conditions that are best for beginners are located in the part of the main bay closer to town. This part also has flatter water that is ideal for morning beginner windsurfing lessons. The winds, however, pick up in the afternoon, so make sure that you book your lessons in the morning and pencil in your sight-seeing activities in the afternoon.
  • Margarita, Venezuela: This location is popular because it has consistent winds any day of the year! For the best windsurfing experience, head on over to El Yaque, whose sandy, shallow water often just reaches your chest or about 300 meters or 984 feet. The wind condition is also very ideal for windsurfing lessons scheduled in the morning when the wind is consistent and not too strong.
  • Soma Bay, Egypt: This location has two main bays that riders can choose from. Both offer views of the Red Sea and super flat conditions. While the wind is consistent throughout the year, the ideal windsurfing conditions can be found over the summer. There are a lot of qualified instructors in both main bays, so it wouldn’t be hard booking your windsurfing lessons.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Windsurfing?

The time it takes for one to learn the sport of windsurfing varies from person to person. While some can learn the basics in a couple of hours, others can take longer. On average, a beginner lesson can take up to 12 to 14 hours.

You can take shorter if you are lucky enough to book lessons in a windsurfing spot with conditions conducive to learning, including flat water, little to no waves, and low wind. It also pays to get a qualified instructor that would guide you with the basics.

How Can I Improve and Get Better at Windsurfing?

To get better at windsurfing, you have to be consistent with the sport. Get out and ride your board as often as possible. There is no shortcut to greatness but to practice, practice, and practice!

Another piece of advice is to get an experienced and qualified instructor. There is nothing more important than to get someone who actually knows what they are doing to get you started on the sport. Aside from the lessons, qualified instructors can recommend the perfect gear for you that is consistent with your physical attributes and skill level.

How Long Does It Take to Get Good at Windsurfing?

It might only take you a few hours to complete a beginner lesson, but actually mastering the sport can take a few years, give or take. You would need to be consistent in windsurfing to know the sport fully. While it can other riders shorter, it takes about two years of regular windsurfing to get better at it and to increase your skill level.

Whether you started windsurfing as a spur-of-the-moment vacation activity or you have  wished to start the sport for the longest time, you would have to give ample amount of time to learn the sport after your beginner lesson with a qualified instructor.

Can You Teach Yourself to Windsurf?

It is possible to teach yourself how to windsurf, but it is NOT recommended. There are a lot of references online regarding kickstarting windsurfing lessons on your own. However, nothing beats learning the sport under the supervision of a highly experienced and qualified instructor.

Windsurfing is a highly physical sport that deals with more than standing upright on a board. You would need to learn how to control the board and the sail. Aside from that, you would also need to learn the proper body movement needed to windsurf.

While it is a lot less costly to teach yourself the sport, it is still way better to hire an instructor that can take note of your progress and oversee your safety. A proper windsurfing lesson can make or break your future as a windsurfer.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Windsurf?

While there is no minimum age for children to start windsurfing, between the ages of 6 and 7 is already a good start for children to dip their toes in windsurfing. Most windsurfing instructors, however, prefer teaching children between the ages of 8 to 10.

This is because children of these ages have already developed the motor skills, learning capability, and the necessary weight to learn the basics of the sport. They also have the attention span to learn the sport.

But more than the basics of windsurfing, children of all ages should have developed the love for water to be able to fully learn windsurfing. Kids need to be comfortable in the ocean first before mounting their first windsurfer.

How Hard Is It to Learn to Windsurf?

It can be quite difficult to learn windsurfing, especially if a) you have zero grasps on either surfing or sailing, b) you are not comfortable in the water to begin with, c) if you don’t have a proper instructor, and d) if you don’t use the appropriate gear.

While the ease of learning the sport varies from person to person, it helps a lot if you are being supervised by a highly trained individual. Windsurfing has a learning curve, as with all sports, and it is easier to overcome the hardships of starting a water sport if you are being given proper instructors paired with the appropriate gear.

Is Windsurfing Safe or Dangerous?

Windsurfing can be both safe and dangerous depending on how you pursue it. If you are a beginner who recklessly does the sport, it can be potentially dangerous not only for you but also for the immediate people around you.

Like all sports, windsurfing is going to be as safe as you make it to be. So always make sure that you use only the best equipment for your skill level and always bring a friend along to monitor your safety and progress.

How Dangerous Is Windsurfing?

Windsurfing is dangerous enough that you can actually sustain injuries from doing the sport. While the risk of injury is relatively low for a well-trained rider, beginners who pursue the sport recklessly may experience different injuries.

Here are some common injuries that you can get from windsurfing:

  • Hypothermia
  • Drowning
  • Dislocation of shoulder
  • Fractures and sprains
  • Back injuries
  • Muscle pain and muscle strain
  • Disc injury
  • Lower back injuries
  • Direct impact injuries (including a blow to the head or the body)
  • Injuries due to collision
  • Scrapes and scratches
  • Skin damage (including sunburn, jellyfish sting, etc.)

While there is a risk of these injuries, your safety all boils down to how you handle yourself on the water.

Why Is Windsurfing Dangerous?

Windsurfing is dangerous because of many different things. One of which is that windsurfing deals with elements that we do not have control over. These include wind speed, weather conditions, and water elements, among many others.

Aside from that, the sport can be dangerous due to substandard and faulty gears like windsurfing with an out-of-shape sail. Another thing that makes the sport dangerous is the reckless practice of the sport.

Continuing to windsurf even when the wind is too strong, and way beyond your skill level is dangerous not because of an element you can control or a faulty gear. It is a reckless decision to put yourself in harm’s way.

Is It Hard to Windsurf?

Windsurfing is a physically demanding sport, and it can be pretty hard, especially if you go at it without being in proper shape. The sport works with every bone in your bone, and it would take a hard toll on you if you are not fit or healthy enough to do it.

While you don’t need to be highly muscular to do the sport, it pays to have ample upper body and core strength to keep you upright and riding the waves.

Is Windsurfing a Good Workout?

Windsurfing is a full-body activity that makes it an amazing workout. It works with literally every bone and muscle in your body. Not only is it great for your body, but windsurfing also offers amazing mental benefits.

Some of the health benefits that you can get while windsurfing include strengthening your core, increasing your cardiovascular endurance, tightening your leg muscles, and burning lots and lots of calories!

Does Windsurfing Build Muscle?

Windsurfing does build muscles, some more so than the others. Here is a list of major muscles that are being used and strengthened in windsurfing:

  • Upper leg and hip muscles, including the quadriceps, gluteals, and hamstrings
  • Lower leg muscles, including the anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius, and soleus
  • Muscles of the shoulder girdle, including the deltoids, latissimus dorsi, and teres major
  • Core muscles including obliques, rectus abdominus, and spinal erectors

How Many Calories Do You Burn Windsurfing?

The number of calories you burn while windsurfing often varies depending on your skill level. On average, a recreational windsurfer with an average heart rate between 110 to 170 beats per minute (bpm) can burn around 500 calories if they ride for 1 hour.

Advanced windsurfers lose even more! On average, windsurfers who take on stronger winds or waves can burn 1,000 calories within an hour of windsurfing.

Happy windsurfing!

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