How long does it take to learn windsurfing?

Windsurfing: learning to windsurf is easy and fast | Photo: Shutterstock

Learning to windsurf is a relatively quick mission. Yes, you may start windsurfing on a single weekend depending on your dedication and weather conditions.

Ideally, you should book a few windsurfing lessons. Certified instructors will make sure you progress safely and steadily.

However, if you decide to learn how to windsurf by yourself, make sure you find a closed body of water or a calm beach to kick off your first experiences.

Conservatively, you'll need approximately 7 hours to become an accomplished beginner windsurfer, ready to move into intermediate sailing techniques.

As with everything in life, the more you practice, the faster you'll learn. Let's break the main lessons down:

1. Rigging and De-Rigging a Windsurfer | 90 Minutes

Rigging: learn how to set up your windsurfing equipment | Photo: Shutterstock

Windsurfing equipment can be complicated because there are a lot of items - sail, mast, boom, universal joint, board, and fin(s) - you need to set up before hitting the water.

For first-timers, rigging can be as tricky as de-rigging. It's all about memorizing the steps you need to take to get the windsurfing gear ready for action.

Rigging requires attention to detail, so you'll need at least 60 minutes to get it right. De-rigging could be quicker - around 30 minutes - but has its guidelines, too.


2. Finding Balance on a Windsurf Board | 60 minutes

Balancing: get used to the windsurf board's instability | Photo: Shutterstock

The first thing you need to train is the balance on a windsurf board. Sailing involves gliding across choppy waters, so you need to get used to the instability of open oceans or windy lakes.

Depending on the size of the windsurfing board, you may need 60 minutes to find a comfortable balance.

Losing balance is the most common problem found by beginner windsurfers. Falling on the water happens all the time.

Spend 60 minutes getting used to the water's instability before moving to the next stage.


3. Uphauling the Sail | 45 minutes

Uphauling: it can be exhausting | Photo: Shutterstock

Once you're relaxed and standing up on the board, it's time to get your sail out of the water. This is one of the hardest moments when learning to windsurf.

Grab the uphaul, and while keeping your knees slightly bent and your back in a vertical position, slowly pull the rope and the sail up.

Uphauling can be exhausting, and you won't master it in less than 45 minutes.


4. Staying in the Neutral Position | 60 Minutes

Neutral position: the safe position in which the sail flaps like a flag | Photo: Shutterstock

Now that you and your sail are in a vertical position, it's time to learn the neutral, safe or secure position in which the sail flaps like a flag.

In other words, in the neutral position, nothing happens, which can be a good thing, especially if you're starting to sail.

In the neutral position, the board faces directly across the wind, and the windsurfing sail is at the right angle with the board.

Train it for an hour until you master it and rarely fall into the water.


5. Sailing Upwind | 60 Minutes

Sailing upwind: the first real windsurfing feeling | Photo: Shutterstock

Now that you've mastered the neutral position, you're ready to sheet in and sail away. In other words, you've got the let the sail catch the wind so that you can start moving forward.

You'll notice that the equipment will force you to adopt a V stance in relation to the sail to counterbalance the wind's power.

Again, you'll fall a lot until you get it right. Sail upwind for an hour and then step into the last chapter.


6. Turning, Steering, and Tacking | 120 Minutes

Turning, steering and tacking: changing direction in windsurfing | Photo: Shutterstock

Turning, steering, and tacking are three windsurfing/sailing techniques that will allow you to change direction while staying up on the board.

They will also let you get back to shore effortlessly and without losing much speed.

Ideally, you'll need two hours to get it right in a controlled environment with flat waters and low winds.

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