Windsurfing is one of the most interesting and relaxing sports that are out there. Unlike many heavy contact sports, windsurfing provides an amazing balance in strength and tranquility. Many windsurfers attest to the sport being one of the most relaxing activities that they have ever done, helping to fuel their love for the water.
There are a ton of benefits from windsurfing. Although a relatively new sport, both in its beginnings and in trends in the sports society, it is an unorthodox experience that offers a terrific reason to go and get out on the water.
Here, I will list the top things you can get back as a windsurfer, and why it is well worth investing time into. You’d be surprised as the amount of return you can get only from a single sport.
1.) Gives You Something Unique to Talk About with Friends and Family
For one, windsurfing is relatively new and unique to the majority of people, especially in areas that have no local bodies of water nearby.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone has said, “Tell me something unique about you.” I know I have. Many times, I’m completely caught off guard by this question and at a loss for words. It can be difficult to find something interesting to say!
It can be the passion that separates you from the normal, run-of-the-mill person that just goes through the motions of daily life. Individuals are drawn to people that have original, rare experiences to share.
So many times people only connect with each other on the surface level, talking about work life or home life. By taking up windsurfing, you can divulge to others the unrivaled feeling of a heavy wind carrying you over the water at 20 knots. You can try to put into words how the board slices through the waves like a knife through bread.
People will feel the passion in your voice as you speak about windsurfing. This authenticity will empower you during conversation and grab the attention of anyone you’re talking to.
2.) Get to Travel to Windsurfing Hot Spots Around the World
Travel is a staple element of windsurfing. If you are participating in sports like recreational basketball and soccer, there isn’t really a good reason to go out of your way to travel the world. None of them have nature and the outdoors as their main destination points. Windsurfing, on the other hand, leans heavily on the environmental elements.
Because of this fact, there are hundreds of beautiful spots around the world where windsurfing has sprung up. These hot spots are where windsurfers journey to consistently for practice or for general fun. Once you reach a certain experience level, it is well worth it to venture out to these hot spots to embrace the windsurfing culture at its finest form.
Five of the most prominent windsurfing hubs around the world are outlined below. And who knows? Maybe this will give you the nudge you need to get a taste of the world you haven’t been exposed to before.
Bonaire, Caribbean is about 50 miles from Venezuela, with sunshine and steady winds all year round. It is a simply stunning place for windsurfing. Furthermore, there is a lot of nature on the bay that is great for calmer water, which is geared more toward beginners. Farther out, there are more unsteady waters to tread on.
Outer Banks, USA
Out of all the destinations, Outer Banks is the most family-friendly. If you are trying the sport with a bunch of friends, this is a place where everyone can get involved. For those who are less keen on venturing out on the water, they can just enjoy the fantastic waves and scenery.
The Red Sea has been one of the most popular windsurfing destinations for decades with hotels in the area offering tons of windsurfing lessons. There is a considerable selection of water sport rentals on the coast and, once you learn the basics, you should be fine on your own. As a bonus, there is a series of mountains that create a wind tunnel that give the ocean a powerful gust almost all year long.
Fuerteventura, Spain is the home of the windsurfing world champions. Sotavento Beach is widely renowned as the holy ground for windsurfing. All year round, other than July, the beach is open to all. It comes with varying wind conditions that offer a more challenging, yet rewarding, experience.
To top off the list, we have Maui, Hawaii. This is by far the windsurfing capital of the world and the top destination. It is well above 26 degrees most of the year and has ripe winds from early May to late October.
I can say with confidence that virtually every windsurfer has it on their bucket list to fly out to Maui so that they could enjoy the steady sea breeze on their sailboard. There is something inherently special about knowing that you’re out riding at the pinnacle of the windsurfing world.
3.) It’s a Hobby that Takes a Day to Learn, But a Lifetime to Master
Windsurfing is also one of those sports that only takes a day or two to learn the basics, but multiple years to become an expert at. In fact, one of the most common questions from beginners who want to learn the sport is “How hard is it to do?”
The answer to this question really depends on what your personal aspiration is with the sport. If you want just want to go out for a weekend and enjoy a solid windsurfing outing for a couple of hours, that is perfectly doable. However, if you want to develop into a full fledged expert level windsurfer, it will take a considerable amount of years to attain this goal.
A lot of people opt to train on the weekend for back-to-back days of practice. Honing in on the windsurfing craft for consecutive days is a great idea since consistent experience really helps. If you reside in one of the windsurfing hot spots that were mentioned earlier, like Maui for example, sailing every day for three hours is within the realm of possibility. The lucky few windsurfers that live in these hot spots can enjoy a much more accelerated learning curve.
This is not the case for most of us. Due to a rigorous schedule or insufficient weather conditions, it is not always possible for us to get out on the water as much as we’d like. The length of our learning curve is prolonged considerably.
To learn more about the time commitment you should expect to take on with windsurfing, click over to my article How Long Does It Take to Learn to Windsurf?
So how is this a benefit you might ask? Well, I’m a glass half full kind of guy. The way I see it, the fact that there is always something to learn in windsurfing keeps the sport appealing. With a new possible skill to tackle every day, it’s hard for the sport to grow stale. It keeps windsurfers coming back for more day in and day out.
Take a sport like bowling for example. I go through phases of bowling, but I have to admit that it gets to be a bit mundane after a while. Once you learn how to roll the ball with precision and accuracy, there really aren’t many other challenges left to take on.
With windsurfing, it is the complete opposite. One day you can focus solely on linear speed. Another day you can concentrate on perfecting your gybes. The next day you can learn how to ride waves on your windsurf board. These are but a few examples, but the list can go on and on.
What I have found is that it is the journey, not the destination, that counts. Passionate windsurfers around the world treasure each and every challenge that they are presented with because it preserves the appeal of the sport. If windsurfers were able to learn all the skills associated with the sport by a year’s time, I truly believe that this water pursuit would have never taken off. People like to have their limits tested.
4.) Improves Your Strength and Stamina Simultaneously
In addition, windsurfing is a complete, strenuous workout. Windsurfing offers exclusive physical benefits that other sports simply cannot match.
Builds Up the Foundational Strength of the Core
For one, windsurfing strengthens the core remarkably. This core strengthening is not your humdrum, unexceptional, do-three-sets-of-crunches-and-then-you’re-done kind of workout. It targets the core in a vastly different way than anything out there because a windsurfer must keep constant tension on their midsection to counteract the power collected by the sail. This becomes more and more prevalent as a windsurfer takes on windier, harsher conditions.
Improves the Strength of Stabilizing Muscles
Although commonly overlooked, balance is one of the hardest things to obtain on a sailboard. Your entire body has to maneuver the sail rigging and steering as well, building up lactic acid in the arms, as well as in the back and legs. If you are dealing with heavy winds for an extended period of time out on the water, you can bet that you will feel it the next morning.
Extreme Cardiovascular Benefits
In addition, windsurfing is a tremendous way to up your cardio. Windsurfing generally burns a lot of calories per hour, almost as intensive as regular jump roping. In fact, doing it for one hour can burn 500 calories (source). If long distance running isn’t exactly your forte, windsurfing might be the ideal cardiovascular workout for you.
Mental Benefits Help to Promote a Better Fitness Experience
Another neglected fitness advantage of windsurfing is how the mental side of things helps to foster a better workout experience.
There is nothing really quite like being on the water beneath the sun. Studies show that working out outdoors versus an indoor gym holds a great many more benefits than you would think (source). If you are out on a sunny day, you can also soak up some Vitamin D, known to combat depression (source).
5.) Grants You a Reason to Get in Touch with the Great Outdoors
Regardless of where you go, hot spot or otherwise, windsurfing is a wonderful reason to connect with your wild side. Too many times, we get bogged down with work and daily errands that we forget to let those things go every once in a while.
Windsurfing serves as a precious reminder that we should learn to appreciate the beauty of the water and the creation around all of us. This seems like a simple thing to do, but it’s a lot harder to actually put into action. Sometimes, we as humans need that extra push to get back to our roots and interact with nature. This sport can nudge you in that direction.
With indoor sports, this sort of interaction is not possible. You are confined to four walls and stagnant air. Windsurfing requires you to step out, breathe in the fresh sea atmosphere, and view the world through a clean, unfiltered lens. That is priceless in and of itself.
6.) Opportunity to Meet New People Who Share Common Interests
On your windsurfing journey, you are bound to meet some companions along the way.
There are plenty of people that participate in this sport from all walks of life. There are communities scattered throughout the world where windsurfers dominate the water with their sailboards. As you discover your own go to location for windsurfing, it is likely that other windsurfers will be there as well.
What starts out as a chummy conversation may turn into a long lasting friendship. Often times, people that share common interests develop the greatest chemistry. Windsurfing is no exception to this rule.
Venturing out on your own can be a fun endeavor, but it is also advantageous to take on your windsurfing goals with a friend. This way, you can keep each other accountable and have even more reason to get yourself on the waves.
In short, having the opportunity to be social is a phenomenal benefit that should be not overlooked.
7.) Get to Learn About the Rich History of the Sport
Moreover, windsurfing has a deep and storied history. In ancient times, it is believe that the Polynesians were the first to experiment with the idea of harnessing wind power to propel themselves along the water. Although this is a widely held belief, there is actually no tangible evidence that shows this to be true.
It was not until the late 1960s when windsurfing began to take on its full form thanks to the efforts of Hoyle and Diane Schweitzer. It was at this time when the windsurf board took the world by storm and eventually became formally recognized as a real water sport. As the sport garnered significant traction, it soon integrated itself into the Olympic Games in 1984.
I highly recommend you click over to my article The History & Origins of Windsurfing: The Complete Timeline to get a fascinating glimpse at the story behind how this sport came to be. There are some real intriguing anecdotes in there that I think you would really enjoy.
You probably weren’t looking to join windsurfing for a history lesson, but the rich past of this sport is a cornerstone element of how windsurfing took on a definitive culture.
Just look at any up and coming sport today. Often times, new sports lack a true identity. These sports do not have a solid direction in which they are heading. Pioneers in new sports have to go through the frustrating process of trial and error to see what works best in their respective activities.
Since windsurfing has proven itself an established sport, this solidified culture can be a real benefit to those looking to break into the sport. The sport has already trudged through the historical era of experimentation. These multiple years of trial and error have helped to polish up the equipment, refine the basic fundamentals, and make for a better experience for contemporary windsurfers.
This is good news for you because you can reap all the benefits of the previous years of windsurfing without having to waste any of your time trying to redefine the nature of the sport itself.
8.) Many Ways to Chase Down that Elusive Adrenaline Rush You’ve Been Seeking
If you aren’t aware already, windsurfing is an extraordinary way to get fresh adrenaline coursing through your veins.
Think about it like this. You are above a dark sea filled with unknown creatures, with only a board that is a couple of inches thick separating you from the depths below. Waves crash around you in a haphazard fashion and it really only takes one of these things to take you down. Everything rests squarely on your shoulders. In stark contrast to a team sport, your performance is completely dependent on you and your ability to handle the present surroundings.
When Sarah Bibby, a windsurfing extraordinaire, was asked why windsurfing was the best sport in the world, she summed up her thoughts by talking about the inexplicable feeling of adrenaline:
A large part of stimulating that adrenaline rush associated with windsurfing is pushing the very limits of what you think is possible. This idea goes hand in hand with pushing past your comfort zone and pursuing your goals in spite of fear.
Expanding your comfort zone is a tremendous benefit in and of itself, which is why we will discuss this notion next.
9.) Expands Your Comfort Zone Beyond the Norm
Broadening your horizons in the realm of windsurfing can be extremely beneficial. By hovering on the line between what you perceive as possible versus impossible is where windsurfers typically have the most fun. For some of you, that may just mean getting up on the sailboard for the very first time. For others, that may mean trying to attack 30 knot winds head on.
Wherever your comfort zone is at, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. Just like in real life, what seems intimidating at first usually turns into some of the most memorable moments.
There is no shortage of ways to push your limits in windsurfing. But if you’re interested in specifics, I listed a couple explicit skills that will not only stimulate an adrenaline rush on the water, but help you push beyond the norm.
Planing is one of the first intimidating hurdles that a novice windsurfer must overcome to progress to the higher tiers of windsurfing.
From an outside perspective, it appears as if the rider is just hanging on to the sail and letting the wind do all the work to speed them along the water. Although veteran windsurfers do make this movement look easy, I can tell you that there is a lot more to it than just pulling on the sail. But once you finally achieve planing, all of the effort will be well worth it. It is renowned as the most addicting feeling in the sport, and for good reason.
Click over to my article What is Planing in Windsurfing? (Definition & Examples) to learn more about this gratifying windsurfing maneuver.
There are additional methods of pushing your limits of course, such as the duck gybe.
This particular maneuver looks like something out of a movie. It is a move where the rider flips the sail round the clew while moving forward. It is resemblant of a car that drifts and changes speeds along a wet, icy road. To see what I’m talking about, check out the video below!
It certainly provides a feeling of adrenaline as you use the water surface to make unbelievably sharp turns. This move is a fun way to improve your skills while still giving yourself that characteristic head rush that coincides with a scare!
Lastly, there is the body drag, one of the most exciting aspects of all. This involves you not going on the ocean but actually dragging your body across the water, being half dipped into the ocean! If you liked the duck gybe video, you’re definitely going to like this next clip. You get to see the body drag in action from a cast of two goofball windsurfers, Peter Hart and Brian Talma.
Out of all the moves, this is the one that involves the most risk, but is also the most amusing. Unlike all the other moves, this is the most interactive and flashy, having your entire body being draped through the water.
10.) Tinkering with Windsurfing Equipment Offers a Pleasant Pastime
Although windsurfing takes a lot of time and energy on the water, one therapeutic part of it can be done out of the water. Tinkering with windsurfing equipment can be a delightful pursuit in its own right.
Some windsurfers enjoy the prospect of putting together a board with second-hand equipment. Believe it or not, there is a great deal of perfectly functional windsurf gear collecting dust out in the world today. If you know anybody with any old windsurfing gear that is just taking up space in their attic, they’re usually more than happy to let you take it off their hands. In fact, they typically just let this gear go for free.
Even if you don’t know anybody personally who has old windsurfing gear lying around, there are plenty of other ways to discover bargains locally or online. Once you have the equipment itself, it is just a matter of figuring out how to make minor repairs and improvisations to optimize the gear to your liking.
It is a lot like taking an old vintage car and taking the summer to restore it to its former glory. Yeah, you can go out and buy a new car, but it just isn’t the same as building it up yourself. There is something inherently special about being an integral part of the restoration process.
With old windsurf boards, knowing that you were the one who personally revitalized the gear with your own hands is something extremely gratifying. It is a particularly rewarding experience when you finally take that puppy out on the water and get a feel for the wind propelling your newly functional sailboard.
Windsurfing has a great deal of benefits that cater to so many people out in the world today. In contrast to the the heavier and team-oriented contact sports, your results will strictly depend on your determination, will power, and skill set to persevere and become a great windsurfer.
Whether you just want to do it as a hobby or you have some serious aspirations with the sport, the benefits remain all the same.