Windsurfing sails: working with the wind | Photo: NeilPryde

Windsurfing sails use the power of the wind to generate forces that push and/or pull your board forward. Let's dive into the wonderful world of wind science.

Wind generates power. We know that. All we need is to observe its behavior both on land and in the water.

And a scientific formula adds up an interesting issue: the wind pressure on the sail multiplies by the square of the increase in wind speed.

This means that if winds step up from five to ten knots, the pressure on the sail multiplies four times.

As a result, the lift is created, pulling your windsurf board forward and sideways.

There is always more pressure on the side closest to the wind (windward side) than on the side away from the wind (leeward).

The Bernoulli's Principle

According to Bernoulli's Principle (Daniel Bernoulli, 1738), this will result in a pulling action toward the leeward side.

But if you're simply blocking the wind with the entire sail, you'll feel your board moving forward, too.

This is basically the push effect in downwind mode.

So, with the wind pulling the board forward and sideways through the sail, how will we get lateral resistance to sail away properly?

Fins, centerboards, and drag will counteract the sideways pull of the sail, keeping the board tracking straight.

Simple and easy.

Are you new to sailing? "Start Windsurfing Right!" guided James Coutts, or learn how to windsurf quickly in only two hours.

Top Stories

Professional surfers Kai Lenny and Jamie O'Brien embarked on a thrilling adventure when they set sail aboard the high-performance USA SailGP F50 foiling catamaran.

Planing is one of the most exciting skills you can master while windsurfing. It usually separates beginners from intermediate and advanced sailors. But what is the minimum wind speed to get flying over water?

Imagine gliding across a frozen lake, your sail catching the wind, and skis slicing through the ice and snow. Meet the sport that blends the thrill of windsurfing with the crisp, cold beauty of winter landscapes.

The Portuguese island of Madeira is home to the world's first natural swimming pool windsurfing regatta.