One of the most common questions from those interested in trying windsurfing is often: How hard is it to windsurf? Like any physical sport, you can’t learn windsurfing without being in proper shape. However, being able to work the harness and all the equipment required to windsurf is a unique ability that separates it from other water sports. Arguably, it is not a particularly hard sport; it is just difficult to get your feet wet.
Don’t expect to be cruising on waves in the first few weeks you start. If you’re serious, windsurfing will become something of a lifestyle. It will take significant time and practice. Of course, however, if you plan on just sailing through the waters and coming back to the shore, that does not take much skill if at all. However, if you want to use the harness and start planing, it is not easy. It’s hard to say how long it takes to learn to windsurf. I’ve had people who learn in a few months’ time to years.
One often-overlooked difficult aspect of windsurfing is knowing what equipment is needed, how to maintain windsurf boards, and how to modifying them. You need to know this equipment inside-and- out, making sure you know how to finesse them. Although windsurfing is more user-friendly than it was decades ago, do not go out and buy an expensive sail right off the bat. A sail built for speed, for example, requires technical knowledge to use effectively so start minimally.
To most people outside of windsurfing, there seems to be this idea that the windsurfer holds the sail up, but in fact the sail holds the windsurfer up. Therefore, the harness is your best friend – and this is one of the most fundamental aspects of windsurfing. How you lean back against the wind will not only allow you to recover, but will allow you to assess your speed and orientation. It can become physically demanding if you’re dealing with extreme winds, which will force you to use more than just your body weight.
Ultimately, windsurfing is not hard but it does take persistent work. Don’t buy a board and sail and then proceed to going to the windiest beach you know – instead, start smaller. Have friends and teachers who windsurf, be confident, and remember why you initially decided to fall in the love with the sport. That always keeps most of us windsurfers going… that and the euphoric thrill of gliding on waves.