A Thrilling Ride

Discover the purity, speed and thrill of windsurfing.

By: Sylvia Slezak

Spring has sprung, and summer is around the corner. The days are longer and getting hotter. While there are numerous ways to cool off on a hot day, we have one thrilling way to blend the waves of the water and the winds of the air for a thrilling ride. It’s challenging, pure and exciting. It’s windsurfing.

What makes windsurfing so exciting?
Unlike other water sports, windsurfing is a lot like sailing across the open seas on a smaller craft with the ability to dive in any time you want. It is a great feeling to glide across the water, especially for hours on end. It’s just you, your board, the water and the wind in your face. Simply put, windsurfing is one of the few sports that is both fun and reasonably safe.

Fun facts about windsurfing:

• Also known as sailboarding, windsurfing is an extremely pure form of sailing – all you need is wind and water.

• It’s a water sport using a board powered by the force of the wind on a sail.

• A rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and comprises a mast, wishbone boom and sail.

• It can be practiced wherever there is a body of water and wind, such as lakes, river gorges, estuaries and heavy surf.

• The board and gear are easily transported on almost any vehicle (no trailer or large SUV required).

• It offers a full-body workout (core, flexibility and balance).

• It’s a great family sport that all can do together for a lifetime, like skiing.

• Windsurfing originally appeared in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

The principles of the sport remain the same, but the technology, variety and fun factor have evolved to amazing heights.

What does the windsurfer do?

• Gets close and personal with the water

• Uses their body as a conduit for the natural force of the wind, which propels the board

• Is flooded with sensations the second they step onto the board

• Experiences the invisible tug of the wind against the body

• Feels freedom on the water and has a close encounter with nature: sea breeze blowing in the face, water splashing around the feet, sight of creatures in the water or overhead

Why is windsurfing awesome?

• Easy to learn: Most windsurfing students with a good instructor will be able to windsurf on their own by the first or second session on the water.

• Great exercise and workout for people of all fitness levels with a focus on cardiovascular performance, strength, endurance and bursts of energy.

• Never boring: It’s a never-ending journey learning new tricks all the time, spending hundreds of attempts perfecting that one move or choosing from a wide range of disciplines in windsurfing, which should keep you learning and engaged for a lifetime.

• Environmentally friendly: There is no fuel, no noise and no damage to the environment.

• Slow and leisurely, like a boat sailing in light winds on a large board.

• Fast, wet and wild, like surfing: The most radical windsurfing takes place in heavy surf, rough chop or high winds on flat water where sailors routinely reach speeds near 40 miles per hour.

• Relatively inexpensive compared to most water sports. Your fuel is clean and completely renewable because it’s the wind.

• Reasonably safe for an extreme sport, given that any sport can be dangerous.

Windsurfing tips and advice:

• Although strenuous, it does not pose many injury threats to athletes.

• Beginners should watch out for muscle fatigues, pulls and sprains.

• When you’re always out in the sun, you can be susceptible to sunburn and other minor and major skin ailments.

• Ocean elements can pose some minor problems like jellyfish stings, coral cuts around the foot and the like.

• Occasional bad falls can give you some minor bumps and bruises.

• Be very, very, very patient. Work on your fitness (strength and endurance), skills and techniques.

• Always use the best gear you can afford to help you enjoy the sport more and have fun.

• Try the sport at the right place, at the right time and with real windsurfers.

• Instructors or windsurfing shops can evaluate body type to help in choosing the right sail size.

• With proper technique and practice, you will find that you gracefully dance with the wind rather than wrestle with it.

• If you keep to some essential safety principles, you will not get into dangerous situations.

I’ve had fun discovering the thrill of windsurfing, and I hope you have, too. Thanks for joining me on this wet and wild adventure. I hope you’ll join me again next time. Meanwhile, stay safe, have fun and discover new adventures.

Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at CityOf.com. For more information on where to relax, have fun and discover new adventures, visit us online at www.cityof.com to find local premier businesses, restaurants, events and attractions.