Windsurfing is an exciting adventure sport and has become a rage among adventure lovers. To master the sport, a surfer must systematically move from the basic level to the more advanced levels. Only when you are through with the first level can you graduate to the next level of windsurfing.
Windsurfing Learning Curve.
Before beginning to surf, ensure that you have the right equipment and qualified or experienced windsurfing professional to guide you. Before beginning to surf, make sure that you have a top quality wetsuit, helmet, and life jacket. These are the bare essentials in windsurfing and venturing without them can cause serious trouble for you.
Then you proceed to learn the basic lessons of windsurfing.
Basic Level: This is the beginners’ level and you are taught basic techniques of windsurfing. These include balance, uphauling & powering the sail & steering the board. You are also taught tacks and gybes. Tacks refer to turning the board upwind while gybes refer to turning the board downwind. In this stage, you also learn to control the sail upwind & downwind. In the basic level, you would surf during light winds.
Transitional Level: In this level, you will learn the following skills:
Windsurfing in Strong Winds: Surfing during strong winds requires skill, strong technique and great control over the surfboard. For this, you must have a very good stance with the arms stretching out and feet positioned behind the mast. It also includes balancing your weight against that of the sail rig.
Fast Tacks & Flare Gybes: Once you learn to tack, the next step is to do those turns faster and more swiftly. For this, you must be precise with your footwork and have great control of the sail. Flare gybes refer to spinning the board swiftly in moderate wind conditions.
Surfing with Harness: Windsurfing with the help of harnesses is essential for learning more advanced surfing techniques. Only when you reach the semi-professional level of windsurfing can you start practicing surfing with harnesses.
Advanced Level: This is the final level of windsurfing and is mainly meant for professionals. In this level you can learn advanced windsurfing techniques like footstrap sailing, the carved gybe, deep water start, chop hopping and wave sailing.
Deep Waterstart: With the deep water start, you do not have to lift the sail from the water. Instead, it is the wind that lifts it. The key in carve gybe is maintaining high speed of the board till you make the turn. To become an expert in carve gybing; you must practice it consistently over a period of time and in difficult wind conditions.
Wave Sailing: Wave sailing refers to the high jumps on waves, which is possible only for windsurfing masters.
Exercises after Windsurfing.
A good windsurfing physical conditioning program includes several pre and posts windsurfing exercises that make your body perfectly toned for windsurfing. After a long surfing session, do not fall prey to the temptation of directly heading towards your armchair or for a drink. Remember to do a few stretching exercises as they help in relaxing the over-battered muscles.
Lower-back Exercises: Since windsurfing involves extensive use of your lower back, start with stretching exercises for your back and your spinal cord. Place your hands on your hips and bend backward. Remain in this position for a few seconds and then return to your normal position. Repeat this stretch for about 20 counts. This provides a good stretch, especially to your lower back.
The next stretch exercise involves doing push-ups while you lay on ground on your stomach. However, while doing these push-ups the arms should be stretched to touch the ground and don’t lift your hips.
Back Stretch: Often, windsurfers complain of severe backaches after an extended windsurfing session. To counter such back troubles practice the following exercise routine after every session:
A windsurfing enthusiast must follow these levels systematically in order to master the sport and its inherent techniques completely. One thing I have often noticed is that most beginners are afraid to fall backward into the water and at the same time pulling the rig down with them. It is very important to overcome this fear of falling backward because you will eventually learn to make the weight of your body to fight against the wind lifting action on the sail.