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windsurfing frequently asked questions

Windsurfing FAQs for Beginners

What is the difference between windsurfing and windsurf foiling, wing foiling, and kite surfing?

Windsurfing: The sail is attached to a board (that is like a paddle board or surfboard) and you use the power of the wind to cruise along the surface of the water. It can be a mellow sport in light wind or fast and exciting when it’s windy. 🌊
Windsurf Foiling: Much like windsurfing, but at the bottom of the board there is a hydrofoil attached. The foil allows you to fly above the water surface while on the board. 🌊
Wing Foiling: A wing is like a small kite that doesn’t have lines, just handles. You can use a wing to cruise around on a paddleboard, but the real magic happens when you are on a board with a foil. Then you are flying above the water with very little pull on your body. Many surfers think wing foiling is a great substitute when you don’t have waves. 🌊
Kitesurfing: You use a large power kite on 30m long lines and a small board (similar in size to a wakeboard). We don’t sell kite gear or teach kitesurfing here at North Beach.

How long does it take to learn to windsurf?

Our beginner windsurfing lessons are 3 hours long, and almost everyone is windsurfing on their own before the lesson is over. One lesson gets you a solid foundation in the basics. You may want more lessons as you progress to learn how to use a harness and sail in higher winds.

Where do the lessons take place?

Lessons take place in Boca Ciega Bay (see the directions tab), but you generally will meet your instructor at our shop - located at 4227 Gulf Blvd. on St Pete Beach and then follow us to the lesson location.

What should I wear and bring?

You will be in the water and be active - so dress for comfort. Bathing suits and board shorts are fine, you may want to wear a rash guard or t-shirt you don't mind getting wet for sun protection. In the winter months, the water may be chilly - we do have wetsuits to fit most people if they are necessary. You may want water shoes, but it is fine to go barefoot too. You will want to bring sunscreen and water.

What if I don't have a lot of upper body strength?

No problem! We emphasize technique and balance when learning to windsurf and we have specialty beginner gear that is lightweight and easy to handle.

Can kids and/or older folks learn to windsurf?

Of course! Windsurfing is a great sport for people of all ages. The only requirements are that you be comfortable in the water, able to get from a sitting or kneeling position to standing and that you want to learn to windsurf. Click here for more specific info about kids windsurfing.

Do I need to know how to swim?

Yes. You do not have to be a fantastic swimmer, but you do need to be able to swim a short distance and most importantly be comfortable in the water (i.e. you won't panic if you fall into deep water). Often, our windsurfing lessons take place in areas that are only 2 to 4 feet deep - but you may also be in water that is over your head. We provide life vests if you request them ahead of time.