Windsurfing 101 - Page 4 of 4 - Boards Windsurfing

Windsurfing Magazine



Windsurfing 101

An Easy Guide to Equipment 

There are lots of terms used for the different parts of equipment you will need to put together your windsurfer. Here is a run down of the most important ones, explaining what they are and what their job is, don’t be daunted by the list, it is here to help you not for you to memorise!

Board – the piece of equipment which you stand on and floats on the water.

Nose – the front of the board.

Tail – the back of the board, distinguished by having the fin attached to the bottom.

Rail – the sides of the board.

Deck – the top of the board which usually has a rough finish to give grip, which helps you balance.

Fin (also known as a skeg) – found on the underneath side near the tail of the board, it projects out to give stability and lift to project the board along the water.

Footstraps – found near the tail of the board, they are straps attached to the deck which are used in windier conditions to secure your feet to the board.

Mast track – roughly in the middle of the deck, where you screw your deck plate into.

Daggerboard – found on some, but not all boards, like a longer fin which is situated more in the center of the board and can be used when needed to help with stability and direction.

Deck Plate/UJ – attaches the board and sail together.


Minnis Bay Windsurfing Club – beginners Elaine and Lisa get ready

Rig – collective name for equipment which fits together to drive the board, a main component of which is the sail.

Sail – the piece of material extended over a mast which catches the wind and propels the board.

Clew – the back, pointed end of the sail.

Battens – long strips usually made of carbon, inserted inside the sail to give it shape and stability.

Mast – the tall upright post used to support the sail.

Luff tube – the section of the sail the mast goes into.

Mast base/extension – fits into the bottom of the mast to make it the exact measurement required for a sail, and then attaches to the deck plate/UJ.

Boom – extends from and around the mast, and is what we hold onto while windsurfing.

Uphaul – an elasticated piece of material used to pull the sail up with.

Outhaul – a piece of rope going between the clew of the sail and the back of the boom, pulled tight to set the sail.

Downhaul – a piece of rope running through the mast base/extension which is pulled tight to set the sail.

Harness Lines – lengths of rope covered in plastic which can be attached onto the boom and used in windier conditions to hook into (using a harness) to take the weight from your hands and help keep control of the sail.


The best way to learn exactly how to set up a board and sail is through a qualified instructor on a Start Windsurfing Course or similar.

You will probably start your windsurfing on a relatively big board (more volume and size means more floaty and stable!) and a small sail (light, easy to use with a little bit of power but not too much). Your instructor will know exactly what board and sail will be best to send you out on, taking into consideration your size, the location and the weather conditions.



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