Teaching your child to windsurf can lead to a life-long love of the sport. Luckily, windsurfing for kids nowadays has grown in popularity with better boards, more windsurfing schools and lessons, and a community that will help children succeed the sport.
Parents have many questions when it comes to windsurfing for kids: where does one find a good windsurfing instructor? What equipment should you buy for your child? How quickly can their child learn to windsurf? – all excellent questions. I hope this article clears things up.
Finding a Windsurfing Instructor for Kids
Generally speaking, all of the major locations where windsurfers frequent have their own separate lessons for kids. For example, Hood River in Oregon – a location so popular that the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce wrote about how important the sport was to the county – has many locations that has windsurfing lessons for kids. One popular in particular is Hood River Waterplay.
Boardsports California also boasts many windsurfing schools for kids in various locations in the Bay Area. However, as has been mentioned, a majority of the windsurfing schools in California have specific lessons for kids. I suggest you check out our guide to windsurfing locations in California to get a better idea of the many spots you and your child can windsurf. If you are based in the United States, Hood River and the Bay Area in California are your best choices. However, I would also recommend checking out the many locations in Florida, a spot where kids windsurfing is quite common for instruction.
However, there are plenty of other locations such as in Maui, Hawaii and Fuerteventura which both have a strong windsurfing community with many kids lessons. Please check out the many articles on Everything Windsurfing for a long list of the many locations for windsurfing across the world since many of them also offer kids windsurfing lessons.
Kids’ Windsurfing Boards
Windsurfing equipment for kids is not much different from beginner’s gear except it is smaller and easier to control. When buying a board, the general rule still applies: the volume of a kid’s first windsurfing board should be 50 – 90 PLUS the weight of the user in kilograms. Thus, if the child weighs 35 Kg, their first windsurfing board should have a volume of 85 – 125 L. For more information on beginner’s windsurfing boards, please read this article here.
The fin of your child’s first windsurfing board should be under 28 centimeters until they are a teenager. If the child is under 14, then a specifically-made kids windsurfing board would be best so that the footstraps fasten properly.
Kids’ Windsurfing Sails
Generally, when you begin windsurfing lessons, much of the equipment is rented so that the beginner can get a feel for the sport. Oftentimes, kid windsurfers are given soft sails because they are easier to control and are not as heavy. Yet, this is temporary – after just a few days, your child can already move on to rotational sails. If you’re looking to buy a sail for your kid, don’t buy a soft sail – instead, rent it, and buy a rotational kids sail so that your kid can use it for a few years at least.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
The boom height should always be to chin length, and this applies to all windsurfers and not just windsurfing for kids. And the mast base should be about 125 cm or so from the tail of the board.
After a few lessons, your child might ask you about getting a harness. There are extra small harnesses for kids. Buy your kid a wetsuit that fits snugly and make sure the harness length should be the length from the child’s hand to their elbow.
How Hard Is It for a Child to Learn to Windsurf?
It all depends on the child. A child with more confidence in the water will succeed, but I have seen kids as young as 4 figuring out how to float on a board. Secondly, it also depends on the equipment – if the equipment is too heavy, a younger child will not get much out of it. Make sure your kid has rigs for their age group, and not adult rigs.
You want to pick locations and times where the wind is light and the waters are calm. However, with the right lessons, equipment, and a properly-picked location, a kid can learn to basics of windsurfing in just a few lessons! – and begin a life-long journey with the sport of windsurfing.