Choosing the right windsurf board

A windsurf board is used with a sail, a mast and a wishbone in order to be propelled by the wind. Various appendages can be used to ensure the anti-drift plan of the float such as fins and a daggerboard. There are several types of windsurf boards to choose from.

In this guide we will only talk about the float part of the windsurf board. There are many models with different characteristics, depending on the type of windsurfing activity you want to practice.

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  • How to choose the best windsurf board?

    JP Australia windsurf board

    To choose the best windsurf board for your needs, there are a number of key criteria to consider, starting with the intended use. You should also base your decision on other elements such as your level of experience and weight. You will need to consider how the size of the sail will affect your activity too.

    Here are the main elements to consider:

    • What is the skill level of the user?
    • Which volume should you choose for the user’s size?
    • What is the intended activity (speed, wave, slalom, freestyle ….)?
    • Size of sail
  • How to choose a beginner windsurf board?

    Starboard windsurf board

    The novice practitioner needs to look for a windsurf board with dimensions designed to offer maximum buoyancy: generous volume and great width. It will generally be equipped with a lifting centerboard. The coating will also be designed not to irritate the skin because the beginner will spend a lot of time kneeling or lying on the board when they have to come out of the water after a fall.

    Here are the advantages:

    • Great stability, more forgiving of errors of position and easier for the user to balance.
    • Better buoyancy, which makes it possible to stand upright to raise the sail without having to resort to the “waterstart” technique (reserved for more experienced riders), even in light wind conditions.
    • The lifting daggerboard improves the anti-drift plan so it helps to go upwind. It also helps to improve stability.

    Here are the disadvantages:

    • Lower performance
    • The volume and the width strongly impact the general handling.
  • How to choose the best windsurf board for you?

    It is mainly the weight and level of the practitioner that determine the volume of the adequate float. The heavier a person is, the more they will need a bulky board to be able to float. Likewise, in low wind conditions, a windsurf board with good volume will float better. More seasoned riders or those practicing in higher wind will opt for windsurf boards of less volume, allowing them to obtain better performance and great maneuverability.

  • What are the different types of windsurf boards?

    RRD freestyle windsurf board

    The different types of windsurf boards really depend on the various activities the boards are used for such as freeride, speed, slalom, wave, freestyle, race and allround. Beginners often start windsurfing with heavier, wider boards until they’ve gained experience. Otherwise, wave and speed windsurfers tend to choose lighter boards made of carbon sandwich. Speed windsurfing requires short, lightweight windsurf boards which are more difficult to sail on.

    Here are some of the main activities windsurf boards are used for:

    • Freeride is not a competition category. It’s when riders sail back and forth for fun.
    • Freestyle is when riders perform jumping tricks on flat water.
    • Slalom is similar to any regatta, the windsurfers race around markers
    • Speed is when competitors pass through a channel individually, trying to reach the maximum speed which is recorded and compared with the others (the fastest wins).
    • Wave is a more complex type of windsurfing and is considered the most entertaining to watch.
    • Windfoiling is a new discipline made possible since the introduction of foils for windsurf boards.

     

  • Why choose a wave windsurf board?

    Simmer wave windsurf board

    Windsurfing in the waves requires a very maneuverable board in order to combine maneuvers and rapid changes of direction. A short board, not too wide and with little volume will be particularly suitable.

    Here are the advantages:

    • Responsiveness
    • Maneuverability

    Here are the disadvantages:

    • Requires good technique (mastering waterstart and fast jibe are essential)
    • Complicated or even impossible to use in light winds because of the low buoyancy
  • Why does the board have to be adapted to the sail surface?

    The sail gives propulsion to windsurfing, which is why it is important to consider the sail area recommended by the manufacturer for each board model. Beginner boards with their large volume allow for the use of a very wide range of sail surfaces. This makes it possible to adapt to the wind conditions: The more wind there is, the smaller a sail should be for propulsion.

    A float with less volume will require less sail area, especially when practicing in medium to strong winds. On the other hand, with this type of float using a large area sail in light winds could pose problems for handling and maintaining the course. But a surface sail that is too small will simply not allow sailing as the poor propulsion created will not be able to compensate for the lack of buoyancy.

  • What equipment is essential?

    There is a lot of equipment available on the market for windsurf boards, and some of it is essential. While a harness isn’t essential, it does provide evident comfort for the user as it distributes the force of the sail over the entire body of the user rather than on the arms alone. Whether you’re just starting out or are experienced, be sure to keep in mind these must-haves.

    A complete and usable board must be accompanied by:

    • A mast and a mast foot adapted to the float
    • A wishbone
    • A sail
    • A retractable daggerboard (for beginners) or one or more fins (for experienced riders)

     

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