Windsurfing is a very underappreciated water sport many people are beginning to discover and get into for themselves. Like most activities on the water, however, there are some hazards you should consider so that you can prepare accordingly. Here are some windsurfing safety tips you need to know.
Naturally, you’ll need to get a few things before you can windsurf. If you’re just starting, you want to ensure your windsurf board is appropriately sized and designed for your needs. Beginners generally want a wider board with more volume because it displaces more water and is much easier to keep your balance on.
Other equipment you’ll need include a proper sail, mast, and boom to connect to your board – typically sold as a package deal in beginner sets – and a wetsuit. The wetsuit is extra important because it insulates your body and will help prevent hypothermia in cold-weather conditions. It is also recommended to wear a life jacket and helmet if you’re just beginning to learn.
The next windsurfing safety tip you need to know is always to assess the weather conditions before you get onto the water. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, you may quickly find yourself stranded as you lose control of your board. Always windsurf during the day, as your vision will be too limited at night, and being unaware of your surroundings is risky.
Also, never go windsurfing by yourself. You’ll want someone there to support you should you find yourself in trouble.
Water Traffic Rules
Lastly, there are a few rules you should be mindful of to minimize accidents. These include:
- Starboard tack (when the wind is coming over the right side of the watercraft) will always have the right of way over port tack (when the wind is coming over the left side of the watercraft), like when driving a car and reaching an intersection.
- When overtaking another windsurfer, keep a distance of at least one mast length and pass in a big arc. This will help prevent the two of you from colliding.
With these rules in mind, you’ll have a much easier time sharing the same space as other windsurfers and minimizing crashes. Despite how wide open the water may be, collisions can happen if you’re not careful.