Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut with your windsurfing?
Have you fallen into the routine of heading to the same spot, with the same people and taking out the same gear in the same conditions?
Are you still enjoying your windsurfing, and all that our sport brings, but have a feeling that your progression has plateaued?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it is definitely time to spice things up a little and re-energise your windsurfing. Highly skilled and experienced coach, Andy 'Bubble' Chambers shares his advice on doing just this.
This feature originally appeared in the 2013 Boards printed magazine, subscribe to receive the latest issue here.
For many people windsurfing is at the top of the list of leisure activities when you have any spare time, or even when you don’t. I understand that everyone has other commitments such as work and family, or other barriers to windsurfing including no transport, not enough money etc. This means that when you do make it to the beach or lake, your windsurfing time should be precious; you should make the most of it and NOT become a car park windsurfer.
Some people get into the habit of turning up at their local spot, standing for hours staring out to sea with their arms folded and giving it the good old beach chat about the tide not being right or the wind being too light/gusty/strong/wrong direction. This then moves onto discussing kit tuning, or what board someone has and how it should be set up, basically making excuses for not actually being on the water; you know who you are!
This is where spicing up your windsurfing can really make a difference. You should know when you get to the water you are getting out, no matter what the conditions are. You should be thrilled, ready and excited to hit the water as soon as you get there. However, we all understand that this enthusiasm can wane. Arriving at the beach on a grey, windless day may not immediately spark your enthusiasm and have you running for your wetsuit, but making the most of these days will mean you will reap the benefits on the perfect planing days. At the same time, when you do score your perfect conditions it’s definitely worth thinking about exactly what you’re aiming to do on the water.
Adding variety to your windsurfing will help you progress, as well as make you look at your windsurfing in a whole new way; as they say, variety is the spice of life, so why not spice up your windsurfing too?
Here's 9 ways to spice it up:
[part title="Light Winds"]
The first thing you can do is to get out on the water even when the wind is light. Dust the cobwebs off that old long board or buy a cheap one from somewhere, better yet buy a windSUP. Having a board that you can use in light winds will open up a whole new side to windsurfing; there’s a lot you can do when the wind is not there. For example:
Try your hand at light wind freestyle. It’s only been relatively recently that freestyle has moved into the planing side of our sport, before freestyle was all about non planing tricks. Go out with some friends, do some sail spinning or practice your tacks. This will not only be fun, but you will also learn so much more rig control, which will ultimately help you when the wind gets stronger.
Explore. Have a cruise around, maybe sail somewhere for a picnic with some friends, a partner or your kids. Many of us just blast back and forth in front of where we launch, but you can of course go a lot further! Plan a route according to the wind and tide, and aim to meet others either there or on the way!
[part title="Teach a friend."]
Teach a friend. We’ve all got friends that don’t understand windsurfing, or why we get quite so excited when the leaves begin to rustle and the forecast shows a low pressure heading our way. Passing on your knowledge and sharing your love of windsurfing is such a good feeling (trust me I know) when you see someone succeed and have big smile on their face, the feeling will be mutual! If you’re not an instructor or confident teaching someone yourself there are a great number of windsurfing schools that can teach your friend whilst you watch and giggle from a safe distance.
[part title="Get competitive."]
Get competitive. If you are a member of a club why not see if you can get a bit of fun, light wind racing going? I can remember at my old club in Cyprus we used to have team racing with at least five to six people in each team. The race included rigging a full beginner set up, then getting the whole team round a small course. as quickly as possible. First team to get everyone round the course won. Best part? There were rules!! Nothing to stop you sabotaging the other team, by for example hiding the mast foot!
[part title="Try a new move."]
Try a new move. Even if freestyle isn’t your thing, there is no reason why you can’t try something new. The beauty of freestyle is that it stretches through all levels of windsurfing. I’m not saying go out and try to learn the latest freestyle wizardry like a skopu or burner! Keep it within your level. Look at some carving moves like the 360 or duck gybe. Or take it a step further and try to get air born. Whatever you try, it will take you out of your comfort zone and move your windsurfing forward.
[part title="Try a new spot."]
Try a new spot. If you usually stick to inland sailing, why not have a go on the sea? Get a few of you together and head somewhere on a forecast. Find out from other locals when and where will make for a good session, Project Windsurf UK is a great way of doing this. This way you will make new friends as well –(Ooooh windsurf friend!) Or why not head abroad, there are hundreds of great places to go where you will be amongst other windsurfers and have a lovely old time, whilst learning more in a week or two than you may for the rest of the year!
[part title="Try some new gear."]
Try some new gear. There are plenty of demo weekends going on around the UK by the shops and brands, as well as many centres that have equipment for you to try. These all give you the opportunity to try something you might never have considered before; you might even like it too! Equipment changes don’t have to include a whole new board or sail, switch up the little things too. A new fin can radically change your sailing; when I switched to my new fin my gear instantly felt brand new and I was so excited to head onto the water every time.
[part title="Try your first competition. "]
Try your first competition. You don’t have to be a pro to compete. Many of the amateur fleets across the UKWA are bigger than the pro fleets! It’s a great way of meeting new people and improving your windsurfing because it takes you out of your normal routine and comfort zone because you have to do things in a certain place, at a certain time. You will be surprised at how well you do and how much fun you will have. Also, you’ll probably find that competitive streak that got lost somewhere after you finished school!
Ultimately, if you ever feel your motivation for windsurfing waning or that your progression has halted, changing things up will give you that hit of adrenaline you got when you first tried windsurfing or got planing for the first time. WARNING, this usually rubs off on others too and before you know it you could have inspired those around you to try something new with their windsurfing too.
Go on… SPICE IT UP!