Riding the Wind – Learning to Windsurf on Vacation
Invented in 1964 on a lake in Pennsylvania, windsurfing has since become a favorite among adventure sport enthusiasts. While surfing requires sizeable waves, a little wind is all that’s needed for windsurfing. The sport has receded somewhat in the public eye since its peak in the 1980s, when it was elevated to an Olympic sport, but there’s never been a better time to get started. Thanks to advances in windsurfing gear and an abundance of excellent schools and popular destinations, anyone can quickly become proficient.
The first step in learning how to windsurf is finding a great location, and while many beaches and resorts offer rentals, some destinations are better than others. Wellington, New Zealand, is a wonderful destination for those interested in both great windsurfing and a cosmopolitan city, while Cape Hatteras and Nags Head in North Carolina offer excellent windsurfing opportunities for experts and beginners, respectively. Windsurfing’s unofficial home is Maui, Hawaii, however, and it’s where you’ll find some of the most experienced windsurfers. Wherever you go, it pays to know when to schedule your trip, so do research to find a destination where the wind will be favorable during your vacation.
An experienced and dedicated windsurfer will likely want to buy his or her own gear, but for the rest of us, rentals will more than suffice. When renting your equipment, be sure to mention that you’re a beginner, as beginner gear is a must for helping newbies learn the ropes. Signing up for classes and lessons is also necessary for those of us without experienced friends, so spend some time researching the schools at your destination. Once you get out on the water, the best advice anyone can give is to keep your knees loose, your center of gravity low, and your eyes on where you want to go, instead of on the water immediately in front of you.