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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Size Windsurf Sail

tips for choosing the right windsurf sail size

The sail on your windsurf board is the mechanism that helps propel you through the water. One size sail does not fit all windsurfers. Because of this, choosing the right size windsurf sail can be difficult, especially for beginners. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself before rigging your sail to determine if it’s the correct size for your windsurfing adventure.

What Is Your Skill Level?

As a beginner, a larger sail would only make learning this water sport much more challenging. A 3-5 m² sail is great for this skill level because it’s not too powerful and overbearing, and it’s versatile. Larger sails are for heavier windsurfers or windsurfers who can withstand the pull from a sail this size.

How Much Do You Weigh?

Another significant element that factors into your sail size is your body weight. A larger sail can become overpowering and hard to control when paired with a small body weight. For instance, a heavier sailor can use their weight in the harness to balance the wind with a bigger sail, but a petite sailor would have difficulty balancing the force from this wind unless the sail is smaller.

What Size Is Your Board?

When you’re comparing the size of your windsurf SUP board to the size of your sail, it will depend on how much the board is dragging or submerging in the water. A smaller board, such as a freeride or wave board, can drag under the water due to the amount of weight on top. Therefore, this requires a slightly larger sail to provide enough power to pull the windsurfer out of the water and accelerate with the wind. Larger volume boards are more buoyant and won’t need the force of a bigger sail to propel them forward.

How High Is the Wind Speed?

In general, the stronger the wind speed, the smaller the sail you’ll use. Larger gusts of wind can be too forceful for bigger sails, which will cause turbulence for the sailor. On the other hand, a too-small sail won’t give the sailor enough power to propel through the water. For example, a weaker wind at 10 mph is suitable with 6 m² sails.

Pro Tip: Find a table online that outlines the parameters of wind speed compared with your body weight to find the perfect size sail.

What Type of Sailing Are You Doing?

The last tip for helping you choose the right size windsurf sail depends on the type of sailing you plan on doing that day. For example, a freestyle windsurfer will need more power in their sail to perform tricks and jumps in the water. At the same time, a windsurfer who races needs a size larger than the average sail size to maximize their speed in the water.

There are several conditions to the type of sail you would choose for windsurfing. Ask yourself these questions before rigging a sail onto your board to help steer you in the right direction.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.