Windsurfing sails: there are five main types of rigs | Photo: Carter/PWA

Windsurfing offers multiple sailing opportunities. You can go free riding in a flat water lake or hit the ocean for a wave sailing session. As with everything in water sports, there's a specific rig for each kind of windsurfing discipline.

Sails are made of mylar, mono-film, or dacron and feature battens. If you're buying a new rig, make sure you get a sail that suits your needs.

Most often, windsurfers use sails between 5 and 8 square meters, depending on the wind conditions. Whether you're going for speed records or jumping high in the air, you should be lightly powered.

As a general rule of thumb, and in an ideal world, a windsurfer's quiver should include a sail for light winds and another model for strong winds.

There are five basic types of windsurfing sails: freeride sails, slalom/race sails, wave sails, freestyle sails, and beginner sails.

Freeride Sails

Freeride Windsurfing Sail

Freeride sails feature a bold, full profile, typically ranging from 5.5m to 7.5m plus.

They were designed to perform in various conditions and with multiple goals - waves, speed, race, freestyle - and don't have camber inducers.

They can be easily maneuverable.


Slalom Sails

Slalom/Race Windsurfing Sail

Slalom sails feature light materials and were designed for speed records.

They are also quite easy to get out of the water and make water starts seem incredibly easy.

Racing sails come with camber inducers and are more complicated to rig.


Wave Sails

Wave Windsurfing Sail

Wave sails are simple, small, and heavy. They traditionally range from 3.3m to 6.2m and come with reinforced x-ply panel materials for added strength.

Wave sails also feature strong battens for handling the power of the surf.

The booms used for this type of windsurfing sail are also shorter than in other models.

They are relatively easy to control and offer high maneuverability.


Freestyle Sails

Freestyle Windsurfing Sail

Freestyle sails are versatile, lightweight rigs for medium-to-high wind conditions.

They feature a low sail area below the boom and range from 3.8m to 6.5m.


Beginner Sails

Beginner Windsurfing Sail

Beginner sails are light and small rigs in the 1.5m-3.5 range for navigating in low winds.

They're inexpensive, made of PVC or dacron, feature few battens, and no camber inducers, so that they can be easy to control.

Modern, high-quality windsurfing sails are quite durable, but you must make them last longer by folding them nicely and storing them in the right place.

Do you need help determining which board and sail suit your weight, experience, and wind speed conditions? Check out our windsurf size chart.

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