How do I Learn to Wind Surf?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Wind surfing, also called sailboarding or wave sailing, is a fun and exhilarating sport for those who love the water and the waves. Using a modified surfboard with a sail attached, wind surfers angle themselves with the wind in order to zip along the ocean surface at incredible speeds. Learning to wind surf requires the mastery of a few basic principles and a willingness to get wet. Most experts recommend taking at least one lesson from an experienced professional wind surfer before trying it alone.

In order to learn to wind surf, a person must be able to swim and should be comfortable in open water. Life jackets are a good idea even for experienced swimmers as an extra precaution. Most experts recommend wearing sunglasses to help prevent confusion caused by glare. Additionally, one of the biggest dangers of wind surfing is sunburn. Wear sunscreen and reapply often to avoid a boiled lobster appearance. Experts recommend always working with a partner or buddy to ensure safety.


Unlike some water sports, wind surfing can be done on fresh or salt water. For those concerned about sharks or other hazards of the ocean, consider finding a fresh water lake popular for wind surfing. Check local listing to see if there are instructors available that offer basic courses. Learning to wind surf can be done in a one-on-one lesson or with a group, depending on the instructor. While some may enjoy the constant attention of the teacher in a single session, others may enjoy group camaraderie and the competitiveness of learning with others.

Before learning to wind surf, it is best to have a clear understanding of the four basic pieces of equipment. A modified surfboard is where a wind surfer stands and is the base for the sail. The mast is a tall pole or set of conjoining poles that holds the sail. The sail is fabric and comes in many different shapes and sizes. The boom adjusts the direction of the sail and attaches to the mast and around the sail.

An important factor in learning to wind surf is, not surprisingly, wind. Although there are videos of extreme wind surfers riding gigantic waves, this is not for the beginner. According to experts, the best conditions consist of a light, continuous breeze from one direction. Going out in too much wind or when wind patterns are swirling can be frustrating and is often dangerous.

When learning to wind surf, it is important to listen carefully to instructions and remain patient. It is not uncommon to capsize, spin in circles, or do other silly things for a while before mastering the basic techniques. Remember that an instructor is there to help, not to marvel at intuitive ability. Be certain to ask for clarification on any point or concept that is not perfectly explained.


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