Additional Equipment Used For Windsurfing
In other articles, we've discussed windsurfing boards and sails. There are additional pieces of equipment that many expert windsurfers not only use themselves, but recommend others use, too. Some of this equipment is more important than others. If you're a beginner, you should ask an instructor for recommendations. From that point, getting experience on the water is the best way to determine which equipment you'll need in the future. Below, we'll briefly discuss harnesses, booms, wetsuits and other windsurfing equipment (including protective gear). After reading this article, you'll have a keen grasp of the types of gear that are available and what is most important to the experience you want to have.
Windsurfing harnesses are used to connect the rider to the mast and boom. It usually encircles the body and connects to the boom's harness lines. There are a few types of harnesses. These include a model that wraps around your waist and back (aptly called a waist harness), one that wraps around your backside (called a seat harness) and lastly, one that wraps around your chest (called a chest harness). Each type helps relieve the windsurfer of the sail's weight.
The boom is usually made from aluminum or carbon and provides support to the sail. It's connected to the mast by a special clamp and is used by windsurfers to manipulate the entire rig. Commonly used on racing boats, a boom also allows windsurfers to compensate for changes in wind direction and intensity.
Wetsuits For Cold Climates
While wetsuits are not essential for most beginning windsurfers, they do have value when windsurfing in cold weather. Often, certain locations are known to have waters with very low temperatures. A good wetsuit will allow a windsurfer to enjoy these locations without fear of losing body heat. Plus, for windsurfers who spend a substantial amount of time on the water, a wetsuit can prevent their skin from enduring damage from UV radiation.
Many veteran windsurfers use deck pads. The pads are usually fastened on the board and provide cushion for your feet. When doing maneuvers such as jumping and aerials, the deck pads prevent your feet from getting sore. Plus, they help you maintain your balance by keeping your feet from sliding on smooth areas of your board.
Using fins is a matter of personal preference. For many windsurfers, they provide an extra level of control and maneuverability on the water. They can allow tighter turns while maintaining stability. Current fin systems are adaptable. The fins can be easily removed. On boards that have slots for 4 fins (i.e. a "quad system"), windsurfers have the flexibility of using only the 2 outermost fins for additional stability.
Though the likelihood of being involved in an accident while windsurfing is minimal, they do happen. Some windsurfers (especially novices) choose to wear helmets to protect their heads in the event they fall. Others wear vests or other floatation devices to minimize the chances of their drowning if they're dislodged from their board.
Learning By Experience
Don't wait until you have all of the gear described above to get started. If you haven't done so, enroll in a windsurfing class. The instructors can show you the basics (such as climbing atop your board and lifting the sail. You'll gain confidence from the training and eventually want to experience windsurfing on your own. This is the most effective way for you to decide the type of windsurfing (racing, cruising, freestyle, etc.) you'd like to do. At that point, your instructors can offer informed suggestions regarding the most important pieces of equipment. Remember, there's no substitute for actually participating in windsurfing. It's the best way to learn the craft.