Glossary of Windsurfing: the vocabulary of windsurfer is rich | Photo: NeilPryde

The world of windsurfing has a wide range of technical terms, concepts and definitions.

The windsurfing glossary helps all levels of windsurfers getting a standard language for the sport. Discover the vocabulary of windsurfing and learn new words:

Across Wind - at 90° to the wind direction
Apparent Wind - combination of true wind and induced wind
Back Loop - a windsurf trick in which the sailor launches the windsurf board off the wave lip and rotates backwards to land and sail away
Balance Point - the point where the sail is drawn across the board and feels light
Battens - stiff, flexible rods providing strength and shape to a sail
Beach Start - a technique for start sailing away in low water levels, close to the beach
Beam Reach - a direction approximately 90° away from the direction of the wind
Bear Away - to steer the board away from where the wind is coming from
Beaufort Scale - an international scale of wind speed described in numerical forces from 0 (calm) to 12 (a hurricane)
Blasting - moving quickly across the water
Boom - the "handlebars" of a windsurfer
Boom Head - the part of the boom where the mast is attached
Booties - shoes designed especially for water activities
Broad Reach - a direction approximately 135° away from the direction of the wind
Buoyancy Aid - foam-filled jacket providing positive buoyancy when immersed
Butterfly Rescue - a form of rescue where the sail is laid on the back of the board and the sailor paddles
Buys Ballot's Law - a way to determine positions of high and low pressure systems.
Catapulted - being propelled forwards off the board by the sail
Carve Gybe - high wind planing gybe
Centre of Effort - a central point on the sail from where the drive comes from
Centre of Lateral Resistance - a combination of the fin, dagger board and wetted area of the board that creates directional stability and resists sideways movement
Centreline - imaginary line going through the centre of the board from nose to tail
Cleat - a metal or plastic device with teeth located in the mast foot or boom end to prevent a line from slipping
Clew - rear (lower) corner of sail, which attaches to the end of the boom
Close Hauled - a direction approximately 45° away from the direction of the wind
Counter Balance - to oppose the weight of the rig with our body - rig goes one way, body the other
Cross-Shore - when the wind direction blows directly across the shore/land
Daggerboard - large flat retractable plate providing the board with sideways resistance
Deck Plate - fitting in board into which mastfoot is secured
Deck - top of the board
Downhaul - a rope used to attach the tack of the sail to the mastfoot
Downwind - in a position further away from the wind then you are
Duck Gybe - carve gybe achieved by "ducking" the sail
Eye of the Wind - the exact direction of the true wind, that is twelve o'clock
Fin - curved foil attached to underside and tail of board providing directional stability
Flagging - a downwind rescue, the sailor, board and rig drift with the wind
Gear Gazing - Looking at rig too much instead of where you are going
Goal Point - a point chosen to aim for when sailing
Groundswell - swell in sea which has travelled a long distance
Gust - a short and temporary blast of wind
Gybe - a turn that takes the nose of the board away from the wind
Harness Lines - lines linking harness to rig
Harness - equipment to attach the body to the rig
Head Up - to steer the board closer to where the wind is coming from
Hooking In - attaching harness to harness lines
Horizontal Tide - the parallel or sideways motion of the tide along the coastline
Hull - bottom of the board
IMCS - Indexed Mast Curve System - international standard for measuring stiffness of mast
Induced Wind - wind created by forward movement of board
Isobars - lines of equal atmospheric pressure on weather maps
Jury Rig - temporary repair to rig enabling self-rescue
Knots - nautical miles per hour
Laminar Flow - smooth airflow across sail providing lift
Laydown Gybe: gybing tightly by "laying" the rig lower on the water
Leech - trailing edge of sail
Leeward - a place or side of a board/craft that is away or sheltered from the wind
Lift - force acting on sail to power the board forward
Luff Tube - tube in leading edge of sail into which mast is fitted
Luffing - altering course towards wind
Mast Extension - an adjustable version of a mastfoot
Mast Track - a recess on the top of the board to attach the rig
Mast - long tapered pole used to hold the sail up
Mastfoot - an attachment joining the board and rig together
Miles Per Hour - a measurement of speed
Neap Tide - smaller tide range caused by phase of Moon
No-Go Zone - an area approximately 45° either side of the wind direction into which it is not possible to sail or windsurf
Nose Over Toes - stance keeping head above feet
Nose - front of the board
NPCG - non-planing carve gybe
Offshore - when the wind direction blows directly off the shore/land
Onshore - when the wind direction blows directly on to the shore/land
Outhaul Rope - used to attach clew of the sail to end of boom
Outhaul - a rope used to attach the clew of the sail to the end of the boom
Overfalls - inconsistencies and obstructions on seabed causing tidal flow to be uplifted
Overpowered - when the sail that is too large for the actual wind conditions
Planing - where board reaches sufficient speed to travel on the minimal of wetted area or surface of water
Port Tack - a nautical term used to describe the direction to which we are sailing - left side of our body is furthest forward on the board/craft
Port - a nautical term - the direction to the left of somebody facing the front of a board/craft
Rail - edge of board
Rash Vest - a T-shirt like garment worn either on its own or under a wetsuit to provide protection
Rig - sail, mast and boom assembly
Rig Rotator - specific movement of the rig in gybes
Rotational Sails - sails where battens provide aerofoil shape by being set (rotating) around mast
Rule of Twelves - rule relating to variation in water flow as tide rises/falls
Run - a direction approximately 180° away from the direction of the wind
Sail Quiver - set of different-sized sails
Sail - the 'engine' of the windsurfer - delivering power to the windsurfer
Sailing Position - the position we adopt to go windsurfing
Sea-Breeze - thermal wind generated by temperature difference between land and sea
Secure Position - a stationary positioning of the board where the sail has no power and the board is directly across the wind
Sheeting In - pulling the boom in, back and down
Shifting and Switching - specific footwork movement during a transition
Spinning Out - board slides sideways after loss of grip
Spring Tide - larger tide range caused by phase of Moon
Stance - body position while sailing
Starboard Tack - a nautical term used to describe the direction to which we are sailing - right side of the body is furthest forward on the board/craft
Starboard - a nautical term - the direction to the right of somebody facing the front of a board/craft
Steer - to turn upwind or downwind
Survival Gybe: gybe used in strong winds using an upwind approach
Tack - a turn that takes the nose of the board through the wind
Tail - back of the board
Tidal Range - vertical movement of water
Tidal Stream - movement of water parallel to coastline
Towing Eye - a small hole in the nose of the board used to attached a rope to enable towing
Trade Winds - prevailing winds in tropics close to equator
Transit - position judged by lining up two objects
Transitions - tacking and gybing
True Wind - prevailing wind when standing still
Tuning - adjustment of rig to find most efficient set-up
Turbulent Flow - disturbed airflow over sail
Turtle Rescue - a form of rescue where the sailor detaches the sail, lays it on the board, climbs inside it and paddles
Twin-Cam Sails - sails with larger luff tubes accommodating device to hold the batten against the mast
Universal Joint (UJ) - part of mastfoot, allowing flexible movement of the rig
Uphaul - combined rope and elastic attached to the boom enabling the rig to be pulled out of the water
Upwind - in a position closer to the wind than you
Vertical Tide - the effect of tidal rise or fall on the land
Windswell - wave formation and height caused by direction and strength of wind
Windward - a place or side of a board/craft that is closer to the win

The glossary of windsurfing is available in the books "RYA Start Windsurfing" and "RYA Intermediate Windsurfing" published by the Royal Yachting Association.

Have we missed a windsurfing term? Send us a suggestion and exact description to editor [at] surfertoday.com.