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As we made our way into the large harbor at Marin, Martinique, our course took us just in front of the Club Med resort there, where numerous windsurfers, both beginning and advanced, played in the waves. Watching a couple of them fly across the water, and others who were obviously just learning, struggling to stay erect, got both Rebecca and I thinking that having a windsurfer on board ZTC might not be such a bad thing.

About a year ago, after a couple of introductory lessons, I wrote about Kiteboarding and how we thought that it would be a fun sport for us to pick up. To be honest, the main thing which held us back from pursuing that idea was $$$ — Kiteboarding is not an inexpensive hobby. A Windsurfing rig would obviously also cost us some cash (unless we can find a generous sponsor — anyone have connections at a big Windsurfing company that would like a bunch of pics and video of a couple of beginners swallowing a lot of seawater while trying to learn? 🙂 ) although I figure it would end up being a fair amount less. I can also see several other benefits for us.

Any experienced Windsurfers out there care to throw their two cents in?

Note: Rebecca confessed to me that she does know how to Windsurf although she feel’s the she would be “pretty sucky” at it now. I, on the other hand, have only had the opportunity to try the sport once, a long time ago while I was vacationing in Jamaica. The sun was hot and the wind was nonexistent that day so it wasn’t a stellar experience. I suspect we would both pick it up pretty quickly if given the opportunity.

30 Comments

  1. I windsurfed for years and you have to have different sails for different wind conditions (masts, booms, and parts ) and end up having a couple of different boards for the same reasons. I would try for a sponsor with kite surfing as its more portable and requires less parts. They both cost a lot of money to get into and then of course every year you want newer and mo-better stuff. You might check with some schools to confirm my thoughts. I’m sure you could rent windsurfers and give it a try there at the Club Med. Did you see that cool dock that curves in an arch? Great pictures.

    • Hi Terry

      Thanks for the comment.

      We’re no longer in Martinique so Club Med is not in the picture. There is a Sandals right in front of us now that we may go visit.

      I used to shoot pistols competitively so I am well aware that, at higher levels, some sports turn into equipment races ($5000.00 pistols!). We do not intend to get drawn into that. Whether with kites and windsurfers, we will not be acquiring a bunch of different sized sails, boards, etc. We have neither the room nor the cash for that. If the wind won’t let us play (too light or too strong), we’ll find something else to do.

      In my limited knowledge, windsurfing might be a bit easier to launch from a boat, and also single handed. I think the learning curve would be shorter and the board, at least a beginner one, might double as a SUP.

  2. Windsurfing does look like a lotta fun, and we hope to have time to try it out when in St. Thomas in a couple of weeks!

  3. That does look like fun but I think I am way too out of shape to be any good at it, hopefully once I get away from work and we get on our own boat we can change our habits enough to start getting back in shape. We have 78 more days till I leave HP and we finally sold our hosue this week so that was the last hurdle! On the water soon, it has been along time coming.

  4. Basic windsurfing seems much more your style to me. You could get two sets and have immense fun along the coastline together, and it’s free. The kite version may go faster, and cost more, but you also need more space so nipping along the coastline or along a beach becomes either silly or dangerous. I see lots of them either having trouble or causing trouble, whereas the ordinary boards are usually no problem.

    As someone said above, why not find a windsurfing school. They will help you find what you want. Also, they could sell you some of their older boards nice and cheap.

    Mike

  5. I still think there is less equipment to store with kite surfing and the range of wind is greater with limited gear. If you have your heart set on windsurfing…

    Then maybe you should sail to Aruba and take some classes. Once you learn to water start both directions you open the playing field. The larger boards are only for beginners and soon you won’t want to use them (except for paddling standing up maybe) When you get into the higher wind and smaller boards you do get beat up a bit and your forearms get thrashed, but you gotta love that speed. When you pull off your first duck jibe its a wonderful feeling.

    Hey Mike do you have a link on your site that lists all the equipment you use on your boat? Like what GPS and how you tie into your Mac? Thanks TL

  6. Mike, one more thing, it would be great to see a video of how you plan a trip. I know you have done pictures on this before, but a video of how you go about setting a course and thinking about conditions and navigation decisions would be interesting, someday if you feel like it. Here is a link to Cruising Lealea ,where they did just that and many more great videos on their site and U-tube as well. still like to see how you guys go about it. Thanks again…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4nNQOXRd4w&feature=channel&list=UL

    • There really wouldn’t be much to film, Terry. We look at our guide books and consult the charts on my laptop using our new PolarView software to decide where to go. We check weather on the web. Based upon weather we decide when we can go. Based upon the distance we have to travel we decide what time we should leave (so that we arrive at our planned destination with good light). We also try to have a PLAN B in case the weather doesn’t cooperate and our trip is slower or more rough than anticipated. Once this is decided we plot a safe route into the chartplotter at the help. All these steps might be completed over several days or 30 minutes.

      Now, if we were going to cross an ocean, we might spend a bit more time on the process!

  7. Hey guys I wish you had requested earlier, I sold/gave away my Alto S windsurfer with sail and all, a few years ago, because it wouldn’t fit in our moving truck. I would have rather donated it to you guys. If you are still in the learning phase and you get one, I would recommend a wider board for stability, look at a harness (as I imagine you probably will get some higher winds and will probably be out for longer than most people & it saves your tired arms), a FOX40 whistle (Pealess) and SkyBlazer portable flares. It is a great hobby and with all your upperbody strength you guys should have a blast. If you do decide to get one, let me know and I can throw a few more of my 2 cents in at that time.

  8. Hey buddy, I have some bamboo sticks you can use as a mast and boom. The old sheets will work good as sails, you just got to find the board! oh wait the crack head in Dominica had a board for sale! 🙂
    We are leaving tomorrow morning to St. Lucia!

  9. Brian ,Sally Chatterley - Reply

    If I was to dig up our wind surf gear LMAO it would look like the first computer and fill the same room. Sails with out windows wood mast BIG!!! slow you get the idea. We sailed at the west end of lake ontario lots of wind no waves to speak of. They were so big and heavy we laid in the sail on long sails. All the way to Grimsby on. People would stop on the beach to watch .We would teach others buy letting them lay on the board behind us.

  10. If you want a cheap way to windsurf try adapting skate sailing – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mBaikawIls . We used to try this on both ice and water (with cheap surf boards) in the 1960’s on the Ottawa River

  11. I carried a 10.5 foot sailboard aboard my tri on a South Pacific cruise a few years ago.
    My board had enough volume so as to not require a waterstart and thus could be used in lighter winds, something to keep in mind since a cruiser generally seeks the most wind shelter anchorages.

    One issue with windsurfers is rigging them in the limited deck space of a boat (even a multihull). Also, the possibly of overnight squalls generally means it’s best to break down the sail at dusk, so the work involved daily isn’t negligible.

    In retrospect, a kayak would’ve been a better choice. In fact that’s what I have now, a 14 foot kayak and a 12 foot SUP. By the way, I tried inflatables in both, they just don’t approach the performance of the hard models. Thankfully I can get away with carrying both my hard models as they lie flush on my trampolines.

  12. Mike,
    I windsurfed (is this the word?) for 5 years.
    As i’m a Brazilian and I was living in Brazil by that time, you can imagine that money was not also my more strong thing.
    So I bought a used set on a store that would trade used and new gear.
    I paid less than 50% of the new equip and enjoyed for 5 years with no problem.
    If you are radical try to buy a slalom, you would live the speed, but if you buy an old big (above 3 meters and 150 liters) board, you can even used it as a paddle board for those days with no wind.
    I had only one set with a 6.5 sqmeters sail and that was ok for the wind I had.
    Most of my friends didn’t have two or more rig sets and everybody had fun.

    About how to do it: keep your legs bented, never straight your legs and remenber that your balance is in your butt, it should be going back and forth to keep the balance.

    Ricardo

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