Windsurfing can be reasonably easy to learn if some time is taken on land to learning the basics. Once on the water there is enough to worry about - balance, wind direction, board direction, sail manipulation so it is important to be focus on some simple rules. For years windsurfers have bought or even made their own gear and discovered the way to do things independantly, but it is easier and faster to get a decent lesson especially for beginning. If you sail then you know most of the theory, all you need is the ability to balance yourself, a board and a sail on the water.

Take a look around the web, e.g. http://www.ultranet.com/~lefebvre/Windsurfing/Articles/

First of all read a book or get an introduction to the equipment on land. Know the sail, the boom and the board and their various bits mast-step, fin, dagger-board, luff, leech. It is very handy to know how to carry boards & sails.

The first lesson should be simply balance on the board. Where you can stand on the board and getting comfortable moving feet around. Keep feet close to center of board at all times. Stand facing forward on board feet close together, stand with one foot behind other, reverse feet and move around on the board. Play games & try to knock each other off balance.

Next you need to be aware of how the board works. It can be helpful to go through all this on land first. When you pull up the sail the wind will act on it immediately when it is just a little out of the water. Dagger board should always be down at this stage, it holds the board in the water and allows the sail to generate forward force.

To pull up the sail, both feet are positioned either side of the mast foot, your back is to the wind and the sail is lying in the water (or on grass) in front of you. Take hold of the uphaul (strap attached to where boom connects to mast). Be careful of your back, bend your knees and ease the sail out of the water. Starting with a smaller sail helps here. Once the sail is out of the water it should be held by the mast at 90 degrees to the board or right at the top of the boom. This is a (reasonably) stable position and the sail should not be catching any wind.

Once sail is out of the water practice balance again. Play with the sail a little. Moving the sail toward the back of the board will catch the wind and make the board come up into the wind. Moving the sail towards the front of the board will do the opposite. The nose of the board will move downwind. If you go too far into the wind the board will luff and it will become difficult to hold mast without moving around the front of the board (tacking). Balance the sail at all times with your body weight.

To sail you must keep the board heading in one directon and hold the wind in the sail. From the stable position the sail is held by the boom so hind hand grasps boom close to the front and holds sail by self, back foot moves more towards rear of board, then front foot moves behind mast, front hand is transferred to boom. Wind should be at your back the whole time. Strike a balance, moving sail to front and back respectively and try to sail across wind. If the board is turning up into the wind and stopping (luff) you must counter this before you luff by moving the sail towards the front of the board.

To tack i.e. turn into the wind. Bring the sail towards the back of the board. The board should turn into the wind and luff. At this point front foot first then both feet come to front of board, hands change position to mast, always balancing sail. This is stable position, wind at back, sail held at mast balanced against body weight. Continue the tack by moving sail across to where you were standing on board, the wind pushes the board around and move feet back and arms back on boom.

The above should take anyone about a Summer to learn :). Well, it depends I guess.

Windsurfing can be quite a technical sport. Advanced boards are shorter and narrower than beginner boards (more difficult to stand on but much faster). Short boards will often not have enough buoyancy to float with someone standing up on them. They are designed to plane over the water at speed. These boards must be mounted using a waterstart or beachstart.

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