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5 Tips for Maximizing Windsurfing in Light Winds

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Have you ever taken your windsurf board to the water only to realize there is little wind? You might think you need to pack up your gear and head home, but there are ways to maximize your windsurfing in light winds. Learning the following skills can be helpful in situations where there isn’t enough wind to propel your board through the water continually.

Learn How To Pump Your Sail

Pumping your sail is a valuable skill because there will be instances on the water when there is little to no wind, yet you need to return to shore. By taking advantage of physics, you can generate your own “gusts” of wind that propel you forward. To start pumping your sail, lean the entire rig as far to the nose as possible, keeping the sail open. Next, pull the sail back toward the stern as hard as you can to generate a gust of wind that pushes your board forward. Then as you lean it all the way forward again, air flows over the sail and generates lift like it were windy. Repeat this cycle over and over and you’ll sail along in almost no wind.

You will need to practice this technique before it becomes second nature. This skill is valuable because you never know when you might need it.

Use the Swell of Waves To Gain Speed

By taking a page from the surfer’s handbook, you can always gain speed by pushing your inflatable windsurf board down the chop or swell of the waves around you. The bigger the wave, the more speed you will gain from this movement. You can use waves to maximize your windsurfing in light winds by gaining momentum when there isn’t enough wind to push you forward.

Be Familiar With Your Gear

You cannot go anywhere in light winds if you’re unfamiliar with your gear and how to properly use it. Do you know what it takes to get your sail in the correct position to push the board forward? Are you getting the most power out of your sail? Knowing how to work with your equipment can make a difference in whether you stay stagnant in the water, spin in circles, or travel long distances.

Look for the Path of Least Resistance

When wind speeds are not optimal, the slightest form of resistance can stop or slow your momentum. Looking for the path of least resistance will ensure you’re keeping your speed and acceleration without disturbing the sail or your board. Always look at the water conditions in front of you to anticipate the path of least resistance.

Learn How To Read the Wind

This might sound like an impossible skill to learn because you can’t physically see the wind, but you can see how it affects the water ahead of you. You will know when your path has no wind because the water will appear glassy. Look for ripples in the water that are darker in color and gaining in height; this means there is wind present, and you can use it to propel you forward.

Windsurfing is possible in light winds, but you must know what you’re doing to avoid losing speed and momentum. Learn the techniques from the advice above because you will likely encounter a day with little to no wind, and you must know what to do in this situation. Prepare for this occurrence by practicing these skills today!

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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.