Windsurfing equipment: protect your sail, board, and accessories from the elements | Photo: Carter/PWA

Looking after windsurfing equipment is not only a matter of saving money - it can also play a major role in water safety.

So, what do you need to know to keep your sail, board, mast, boom and other accessories like new? The answer is preventive maintenance. If you take care of it, it will last longer.

Windsurfing is an all year round sport. However, when the weather's cold, or when the wind is not blowing at your local break, we need to keep our gear safe from the elements.

The worst enemies of sails and boards are salt and sand. And, taking into consideration that windsurfing is not a cheap outdoor activity, we must find ways of protecting gear efficiently.

You should know how to store and preserve your equipment even if you're a freshwater windsurfer - hose it down and find a suitable area for your beloved gear.

We want our windsurfing kits to last longer, so it is always important to rinse your gear out after each session. Pay attention to the board's moving parts, such as the mast track, the centerboard, and the fin box.

The same applies to the universal joint, the boom, the harness, and the mast foot. If you've got time, remove the foot straps and leave them aside. When done, allow it to dry without the battens before storing it.

Windsurfing should not be stored outside. The garden is for the flowers and animals. Prolonged exposure to the sun will fade and ruin your gear, especially the foot straps and the sail's mono film.

The best way to store a windsurfing sail is by hanging it. If that's not possible, roll it loosely around the mast, or fold it properly. As for the windsurf board, once it's clean and dry, put it in the bag and then mount it on a wall rack.

Dismantle the mast and get it in the bag. The boom should be dismantled, and the ropes and harness lines separated, too.

Never store your windsurfing equipment in a very hot garage because high temperatures will slowly degrade the materials. The ideal space is a dry, mild, and relatively large storage area.