With so many types of windsurf gear available, it’s no wonder that you might feel overwhelmed.
And feeling overwhelmed can quickly lead to feeling defeated, especially if you’ve just begun on your windsurfing journey. So in an attempt to alleviate the stressors that come along with the search, I’ve narrowed down the bare necessities you’ll need for smooth sailing when learning how to windsurf.
The Basics of Windsurf Gear
Having (and using) the right equipment in virtually any sport or activity is so important.
It minimizes your risk of injury, and also makes for easier practice while learning.
Having the ‘right’ equipment doesn’t necessarily translate to using or owning highly expensive equipment, it just means using gear that’s both suitable and effective for you.
So what kind of windsurf gear do you absolutely need?
- A windsurf board
- A rig system
- Apparel (optional)
1. Choosing a windsurf board
A staple to this sport is the vessel itself – the board.
Choosing the right board may very well make or break your experience.
And with so many versions existing in the marketplace, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re looking for in a board.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to eliminate anything rated for intermediate to advanced surfers, and you’ll want to stick to something relatively heavy.
Lighter boards are more difficult to maneuver, and therefore most commonly used by those who have more experience.
Choosing a board that’s specific to your body size and weight is also important, so you’ll want to make note of this formula for calculating an appropriate board volume:
Weight of Rig, Board and Clothing (around 30 kg) + Your Body Weight (in kg) x 2 = Volume of the Board (in liters)
If you’re looking to convert kilograms (kg) to pounds (lb), note that 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds.
Once you’ve got that down, you can begin your search!
Remember to consider several factors beyond the volume of the board, like the cost, material, and durability.
But at the end of the day, you’ll want to make a judgment based on what you think you’d be comfortable with.
Your intuition never lies!
2. Choosing A Windsurf Rig System
Rig systems are another integral part of your windsurf gear lineup. They contain the sail itself, as well as the mast, the boom, and everything else few and far between.
Much like boards, rig systems come in several varieties suited for different performance styles.
You’ll want to make sure you choose a system that feels comfortable in your hands, as this is the way in which you’ll be steering – too heavy and you’ll strain yourself trying not to drop the rig… too light and you’ll find yourself planing across the water.
Likewise, the larger your sail is, the more wind you’ll capture, and the faster you will go. The smaller your sail is, the slower you’ll go. So it’s worth considering how fast you’d like to go in this equation too!
I’d suggest testing both the board and the rig system at a shop near you, so that you can get a feel for them before you make a decision.
3. Choosing the Proper Windsurf Apparel
While apparel may not impact your performance as much as your other windsurf gear will, it can certainly affect your experience.
Most waters you’ll find yourself in, aren’t exactly what I’d call ‘comfortable’.
Wearing a wetsuit may help you stay warmer, and in turn, out on the water for longer. And beyond that, a good wetsuit can also help protect against any nicks or cuts you might get while you’re out there.
EVO offers some great wetsuits you can take a look at by clicking here.
My personal favorite is the Roxy 5/4/3 Synchro Back Zip GBS wetsuit, which features a smart thermal liner that reflects heat back to your body to keep you warm! It’s also made of thick, durable fabric that acts as a barrier against marks and scratches.
You might also want to consider a good pair of booties – like the ones linked in this package deal – to help you grip the deck of your board, and a whistle for any emergencies you may encounter.
Windsurfing is a great sport to get into, and investing the time and effort into researching the right windsurf gear will help you solve a fair share of the problems you might otherwise run into.
While this guide will help get you set in the right direction, you’ll want to make a decision that allows you to enjoy whatever it is you’re using.
Ultimately, you get to decide what optimizes your experience – so don’t be afraid to let your gut guide you!