What to expect from windsurfing lessons

Windsurfing: taking lessons is the best way to learn | Photo: Shutterstock

Have you decided to become a windsurfer today? Learn what to expect from your first windsurfing lessons.

Windsurfing is a fun and exhilarating watersport that can be enjoyed at all ages and marginal wind conditions. All you need is a small lake to get started.

The best way to learn to windsurf is by enrolling in an officially recognized windsurfing school, with a welcoming environment and an instructor/students ratio no greater than 1:6.

Windsurfing learning centers are often equipped with certified instructors, windsurfing simulators, beginner boards and sails, safety boats, life vests, and all the gear needed for the early exercises.

You'll learn the basic skills and abilities needed to harness the power of the wind on a windsurfer, as well as self-rescue techniques that can be extremely useful in case of an emergency.

The first introduction to windsurfing is always an exciting time. You don't need any prior experience to start sailing the board through the wind.


A windsurfing course usually kicks off out of the water. The instructor introduces the session, describes the skills to be learned, and then demonstrates them.

In the first couple of hours, students will learn the practical and theoretical aspects of the sport - the formation of the win, the points of sail, safe sailing, and the interaction between the wind and the rig.

The instructor will provide you with a brief introduction to the windsurfing kit they will be using, the rigging process, and fine-tuning techniques.

Windsurfing lessons: learning to sail is fun | Photo: Shutterstock


Then, it's time to get started with a few practical demonstrations: the secure position, the static turn, and the sailing position.

After making sure you've understood and successfully repeated the above exercises, you'll learn to steer the board and tack.

Last but not least, and still on solid ground, the beginner windsurfer will learn various methods of self-rescue, like the butterfly method, flagging, and the full de-rig self-rescue mode.

During the first session in the water, the student will start to sail across the wind within the limits of a restricted and safe sailing area.

Progressively, you'll be introduced to upwind sailing, the no-go zone, and fast tacking. In a matter of hours, you'll be incorporating all the essential windsurfing techniques and will be ready for the concepts of downwind sailing and jibing.

Time will quickly transform a beginner windsurfer into an intermediate sailor. He or she will learn the beach and water starts, riding with the harness and foot straps, and finally planing.

According to the Royal Yachting Association's (RYA) teaching guidelines, the overall goal of the early sessions is to get first-timers to master the fundamental skills of a windsurfer.

The beginner should assimilate and build five essential pillars: vision (maintain a sailing line), trim (keep the board flat), balance (counterbalance the rig's pull), power (to channel the rig's forces), and stance (how we position our body).

Windsurfing requires practice and learning from our mistakes. It is okay to fall into the water a lot; it is normal to struggle with balance issues.

After the conclusion of the windsurfing course, the beginner boardsailor should be able to sail to a given point on the water and return to where they started.

Explore the best tips for beginner windsurfers.