Extreme Sports Cafe now offers Windsurfing courses or Hire in Asia, Europe and Africa... In Pattaya, Phuket, Vietnam, Boracay , Fiji, Australia, Spain, Lanzarote, Portugal and South Africa. Windsurfing courses range from 1-day wind surfing experiences to full learn to windsurf courses.
What is Windsurfing?
Windsurfing is a surface water sport using a windsurf board, also commonly called a sailboard, usually 2-5 meters long and powered by the wind pushing on a sail. Wind surfing disciplines includes speed sailing, slalom, course racing, wave sailing, superX, and freestyle as distinct disciplines. Windsurfing combines aspects of both sailing and surfing, along with certain athletic aspects shared with other board sports like skate boarding, snow boarding, waterskiing, and wake boarding. Although it might be considered a minimalistic version of a sailboat, a windsurfer offers experiences that are outside the scope of any other sailing craft design. A windsurfer holds the world speed record for sailing craft (see below) and windsurfers can perform jumps, inverted loops, spinning maneuvers, and other "freestyle" moves that cannot be matched by any sailboat.
- Though wind surfing is possible in winds from near 0 to 50 knots, the ideal planing conditions for most recreational sailors is 15-25 knots, with lighter winds resulting in displacement mode sailing.
- While windsurfing is possible under a wide range of wind conditions, most recreational windsurfers prefer to sail in conditions that allow for consistent planing with multi-purpose, not overly specialized, free-ride equipment. Larger (100 to 140 liters) free-ride boards are capable of planing at wind speeds as low as 12 knots if rigged with an adequate, well-tuned sail in the six to eight square meter range.
- The pursuit of planing in lower and lower winds has driven the development and spread of wider and shorter boards, with which planing is possible in wind speeds as low as 8 knots, if sails in the 10 to 12 square meter range are used.
The boom of the 1980s led wind surfing to be recognized as an Olympic sport in 1984. However, windsurfing's popularity saw a sharp decline in the mid-1990s, as equipment became more specialized, requiring more expertise to sail. Now the sport is experiencing a modest revival, as new beginner-friendly designs are becoming available.
Windsurfing Courses and Experiences from Extreme Sports Cafe
The beginning of wind surfing can be traced back to 1965, when two good friends, Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake wanted to combine surfing and sailing. They had seen that the major problem in surfing was that you had to wait for waves. They both came from southern California. Jim Drake was an aeronautical designer and Schweitzer a businessman. Drake came up with the idea of an articulated mast and so they developed the universal joint. By the end of 1968 they patented the first windsurf board, the "Windsurfer". So from a combination from surfing and sailing, they developed wind surfing.
Nearly immediately windsurfing knew a growing popularity. Unhappy with the old Fiberglas boards, Schweitzer searched to find a better material that was longer lasting and cheaper. The result of the search was polyethylene. Dupont, the supplier of polyethylene were so impressed by the new use of their material that they published an article that gave the Windsurfer world wide fame.
In 1973 Schweitzer acquired Drakes half of the patent. In 1973 Tencate took out a license to produce the Windsurfer in Holland and in the five years that followed European board sales began to overtake their American counterparts.
But there was one big problem; the one that the windsurf board was already invented before. Since the end of the fifties, S.Human Darby from Pennsylvania experimented with windsurfing boards. In 1965 he had an article on wind surfing published in the magazine "Popular Science". In that article he explained how to do make a windsurfing board by yourself, the different sail positions and how you can steer the board.
It may seem incredible but until the end of 1976, Hoyle Schweitzer and Darby had never heard from one another. They began an incredible fight for the patent of the windsurfing board, which costed millions in lawyer fees. Today they are no longer concurrents. Schweitzer is the director of Wind surfing International and Darby produces hand-made special sails.
Very soon the boards became shorter and lighter. The sinker boards were invented, the footstraps and the harness. The funboard was born. In the beginning it was only practised on Hawaii. But then it was all over the world. The windsurfers got better and better. They began sailing in big waves, the wave sailing was born. It was a new challenge. They also always got faster...
- In 1977 Derk Thijs sailed with 17,1 knots. The speed record evaluated all the time.
- In 1979, Clive Colenso had 19,2 knots.
- In 1980 Jaap van der rest demolished the record at special speed trials at Hawaii with 24,45 knots.
- In 1981 Jaap beat his own record with 25,2 knots on a new sinker.
- In 1982 Pascal Maka bumped the record up to 27,82 knots at Weymouth.
- In 1983 Fred Haywood sailed with 30,82 knots.
- In 1986 Pascal Maka breaks the record with 38,68 knots. The windsurfers become the fastest sail-driven persons on the water.
- In 1988 Erik Beale realises 40,30 knots.
- In 1993 Thierry Bielak FRA, Stes.Maries, FRA, 45,34 knots.
- In 1988 Erik Beale GBR, Stes.Maries, FRA, 40.48 kts.
- In 1990 Pascal Maka FRA, Stes.Maries, FRA, 43.06 kts.
- In 1991 Thierry Bielak FRA, Stes.Maries, FRA, 44.66 kts.
- In 2004 Finian Maynard BVI, Stes.Maries, FRA, 46.82 kts.
- In 2005 Finian Maynard BVI, Stes.Maries, FRA, 48.70 kts.
- In March 2008 -The current record is held by French windsurfer Antoine Albeau, ratified at 49.09 knots (90.91 km/h - 56.49 mph) on a 500 meter course on the Saintes Maries de la Mer Canal On record attempts controlled by the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC) competitors complete timed runs on a 500m or 1 nautical mile (1,852m) course.
In windsurfing competitions, there are the following disciplines: Olympic Windsurfing Class, Formula Windsurfing Class, Slalom, Super X, Speed Racing, Freestyle and Wavesailing.
Freestyle and Wave are judged competitions, the sailor with best technique and diversity wins. Olympic Boardsailing, Formula windsurfing, Slalom and SuperX are races where many sailors compete on a course, and Speed Racing is a race where sailors compete on a straight 500 m course in turns.
- Olympic class - In Olympic Windsurfing 'One Design' boards are used. All sailors use the same boards, daggerboards, fins and sails. The equipment is chosen to allow racing in a wide range of sailing conditions. This is important for the Olympic Games, as events have to take place regardless of whether there is enough wind for planing. The Neil Pryde RS:X is the current Olympic class which was used for the first time in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
- Formula class - Formula windsurfing has developed over the last 15 years in order to facilitate high performance competition in light and moderate winds. Formula is now a class of windsurfing boards controlled by the International Sailing Federation that have the principal characteristic of a maximum 1m width. They have a single fin, with a maximum length of 70cm and carry sails up to 12.5 m². Class rules allow sailors to choose boards of different designs produced by multiple manufacturers, as long as they are certified as Formula boards and registered with ISAF, and use fins and sails of different sizes.
- Slalom - Slalom is a high speed race in a course shaped like a figure of eight. Most of the course goes on a beam reach with floating marks that have to be jibed around. Slalom boards are small and narrow, and require high winds. Funboard class racing rules require the wind of 9-35 knots for the slalom event to take place!
- Speed sailing - Speed sailing takes several forms. The ISA (International Speedsurfing Association) organizes (under the umbrella of the ISAF) competitions in various locations around the world known for conditions suitable for good speeds. The events are made up of heats sailed on a 500m course. The average of each sailors best 2 speeds on the 500m course which is typically open for 2 hrs/heat is their speed for that heat.
- Freestyle - Freestyle is a timed event which is judged. The competitor who has the greatest repertoire, or manages to complete most stunts, wins. Freestyle is about show and competitors are judged on their creativity. Both the difficulty and the number of tricks make up the final score. For novice windsurfers, low wind freestyle tricks are an appropriate start; such as sailing backwards with the fin out of the water, or transitioning from a sailing stance to sitting on the board while continuing to sail.
- Wave - Wave jumping wipeout. While attempting a forward loop in storm conditions off the coast of Cantabria, Spain, a windsurfer gets catapulted into a high double flip. Similar to freestyle (though wave sailing preceded freestyle) except that the stunts are generally performed in surf and points are awarded for how well the waves are ridden.