There’s a lot to think about. To help, we’ve put together this list of tips and guidance for purchasing a windsurf board.
What’s your experience level?
If you are new to windsurfing, don’t try to buy an advanced board. It’s better to improve your skills on a beginner board. Beginner boards are ‘high-volume’ boards, meaning they are bigger so help with stability while you are learning to handle the sail, but still sporty and fun. Look for a board that is at least 75cm wide and one that has a daggerboard or centerboard. Smaller boards are only suitable for higher winds and once you have mastered the required skills. It is generally a bad idea to buy a small board thinking that you will “grow into” it. It will just make the learning process unnecessarily frustrating.
Fun or Serious?
If windsurfing is a fun hobby that you like to do on weekend, remember that when looking for a board. One of the SUP boards that can also be windsurfed may be perfect for you and will allow to have tons of fun in lighter wind. On the other hand, if you take windsurfing seriously and want to build up skills, particularly in higher wind, you may want to choose a board that will help you do so.
What’s your size?
Your size matters, too. The bigger you are, the bigger the board you buy needs to be to support you. Conversely, if you are a small person you can use a smaller board that you can maneuver easily. If you are going to be sharing the board with different sized family members you will want to pick the board based on the size of the biggest person who will be using it. It is much easier for a small person to use a board that is bigger than it needs to be than for a big person to use a board that is too small!
How’s the water?
The conditions that you will be windsurfing in play a big part in the size and type of board that you will want. If the water is rough, a larger board will help with stability when you are learning. However, once you have intermediate or better skills, you will want a smaller board in rougher water and higher winds and a bigger board that will carry bigger sails when the winds are light. Your board will feel a bit bigger in saltwater than in fresh water, so you will want to take that into consideration as well.
What about the sail?
The sail needs to be compatible to your board, your size, and to the weather conditions. The most important thing to remember here is that there isn’t one size of sail that will work for you all the time. You will want a bigger sail in lighter wind and a smaller sail when the wind picks up. Bigger people will want bigger sails than smaller people. And as you improve, you will be able to use a larger sail in a given amount of wind.
Once you narrow in on a few types of boards, it’s a good idea to check them out in person. Better if you can find an expert to help! If you’re in the St. Pete or Tampa Bay area, come by our shop on St. Pete Beach and we’ll help you check out our collection and answer any questions you still have. You can also come out on a breezy day and try out a few different sizes of boards and sails to really figure out what will work best for you. We want to make sure you’re getting the right boards for your needs.