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What Kind of Windsurfing Board Should You Use?

Knowing the right windsurfing board size and style can make all the difference. A size too big or small will give you balance and control issues. One style of board may not be best suited to the kind of windsurfing you want to do. We’ve laid out a few tips, and our favorite recommendations, to make sure you get the best board for you.

What size windsurfing board should I get?

The size of board that you want will depend on your size, your skill level, the conditions you are using it in, and what type of windsurfing you want to do.  In general, bigger people want bigger boards and smaller people want smaller boards. However, everyone wants a larger board in light wind, and as your skills improve you will want a smaller board for most kinds of windsurfing.

For most adult size people who are first learning, you will want a board that has at least 180 liters of volume and a daggerboard.  The volume of the board (measured in liters) can give you a rough idea of how stable a board will be when you are standing on it. More liters of volume indicate a larger board that will be easier to balance on.  However, the width of the board (usually measured in cm) is also a factor.

A board that is 200 liters in volume seems like it would be super stable but if it is only 70cm wide it will be less stable than a board that is the same liters but is 90cm wide. Because there are so many variables involved, it is best to chat with us about your specific situation so we can give you more exact advice.

How do I properly maintain my windsurfing board?

There isn’t much you need to do to your board to keep it up.  You will want to store it out of direct sunlight since the finish is prone to breaking down with extended UV exposure. A bag is helpful if your board will be on the top of your car most of the time, or stored outside. If your board gets damaged, it is best to fix any cracks or dings before it goes in the water again. Although it isn’t fatal it is best to keep the inside of the board dry.  If your board has an adjustable mast track an occasional rinse with fresh water will keep it from getting jammed up with sand and/or salt.

How do I know when I need a new windsurfing board?

There are several reasons why you would need a new board:  If your board is damaged beyond repair (or if the cost of the repair is greater than the value of the board), is a much older design, or if the board you have isn’t the right kind of board for the windsurfing you want to do.  If your board is more than 10 years old, and has any major repairs needed you will be better off replacing it.  If your board was built in the 1970s, 80s, or 90s you will find that a new board performs significantly better and easier to learn and progress on.

If you have a large beginner board, and are now trying to windsurf on higher wind days and learn to use a harness and the footstraps, it may be time for a smaller board.  Or if you are looking to work on skills in a specific discipline of windsurfing (freestyle, foiling, or wave sailing for example) you will want a board that is specific to those skills.

Important things to do/know before buying a windsurfing board

If you have the opportunity, take a lesson before you purchase your first windsurfing board.  This will give you the chance to learn the basics of windsurfing on a board that is larger and a sail that is smaller than what you will want to own. It is important to buy a board that is suitable for your size, your ability, and the conditions that you will be using it in. Don’t try to buy a board that you will “grow into”, most often this just leads to frustration and makes learning to windsurf more difficult. Trying boards before you buy can be helpful, but it is important to remember that it is difficult to compare different boards if you try them in different conditions, or in conditions that are not the same as you will be using it in at home. Ask questions and let your windsurfing shop give you advice.  We really want people to have the board that will be best for them, and we have a lot of experience helping people get the right board.

Schedule a lesson, rent a board, or just come on down to our shop and let us help you find the perfect board.

Types of windsurfing boards

Longboards are longer boards that have enough buoyancy to stand on while not moving and have a centerboard (or daggerboard) that adds performance in light wind. Beginner windsurfing boards fall into this category, but so do some varieties of high-performance race boards for light wind.  A longboard that is fairly wide (over 75cm wide) will be better for a beginner, while a narrower longboard is often aimed at more advanced windsurfers who are wanting to optimize performance in light wind.

Our recommendation:
Windsurfer LT for all around light wind sailing and novice windsurfers. If you're in the market for a can-do-everything board look no further, the Windsurfer LT is the board to have no matter the conditions on the water.  

Or for more advanced windsurfers who want to maximize light wind performance we recommend the super lightweight, carbon-constructed, Kona CarbOne.

Shortboards are used in higher wind. They are not as buoyant as longboards and require you to be moving to ride them.  The main thing that differentiates a shortboard from a longboard is that short boards do not have a daggerboard. There are several categories of boards that fall under the “Short Board” heading.

Wave Boards are often quite small boards that are used while surfing and jumping waves. The board shape is optimized for turning, carving on a wave, and control when jumping.  True wave boards are not at all optimized for speed, so if you are looking for a board that will be good for all around windsurfing in rough water, you probably want a “bump and jump” style of board - not a waveboard.

Our recommendation:
The Severne Nano. Inspired by new-school surfboards, the Nano is a fresh wavesailing sensation.

Bump and Jump Board:
A high-wind short board that is designed to work well in rough water, is good at jumping (and landing), is faster than a wave board, but still has a performance emphasis on control and turning.

Slalom Board:
A board made to go fast!  A true slalom board is blisteringly fast in a straight line, but requires considerable skill and technique to turn around.  A true slalom board will work best with race sails. If you want to be the fastest guy on the water but you aren’t a pro windsurfer and want to keep using your freeride sails you will want a fast freeride board like the Fanatic Jag

Our recommendation:
For pro-windsurfer level performance we recommend the 
Starboard Isonic. Proven race winners, the Isonic is perfect for blasting across the start line of a PWA slalom race, or just being the fastest board on the water at your home sailing spot.

But if you are a normal person with a different job, your best bet for a board that is super-fast is the Fanatic Jag. The Jag is turning heads with the exhilarating speed of a race winning slalom board in a design that is less technical to sail.

Freestyle boards are short boards that are used in flat water to perform tricks.

Our recommendation:
The Fanatic Skate. Crazy acceleration, top speeds and explosive pop happen in seconds, so every gust counts for you to pick the right spot and unleash your rotations

Freeride Board:
Shortboards that are not for any specific discipline (such as wave, slalom, or freestyle), they are pretty fast on flat water, reasonable to turn, decent in rough water….it’s like the SUV of windsurfing boards.

Our recommendation:
The Starboard Carve IQ. The CarveIQ is definitely your go-to windsurf board if you want a quick to plane, easy to control, playful freeride board.

Foil Board:
Foil Boards are made specifically for use with a hydrofoil. Because the board is lifted completely above the surface of the water when you are foiling, foil boards have quite a different shape and performance characteristics.

Our recommendation:
The Slingshot Wizard. The evolutionary Wizard can withstand high torque, forces of foiling and has low front-end swing weight, so you can get those cool tricks you’ve been dying to stick.