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This article explores the many different groups of windsurfers and their characteristics. Think you're unique and can't be put into a group? Read on to find your place in the world of windsurfing...

 

  • The Newbie: You've heard about windsurfing but never thought you'ld be any good; your hand-eye-coordination is renowned as being sketchy at the best and balance is surely a key requirement for staying dry right?

 

  • The Wanna-be Newbie: You have actually tried windsurfing once or maybe twice before but won't admit as much as that would put the pressure on you to perform on the water. You would prefer to be classed as a Newbie that picks up the sport at uni very quickly. In a few years time you might finally admit to having tried the sport before university but by then it will be too late as you will be running the windsurf club.

 

  • The Keen-Bean: Having tried the sport a couple of times you are eager to get on the water at the first opportunity and will be tripping over your uphaul and putting on your wetsuit backwards in your desperate attempts to be first on the water and last off.

 

  • The Hesitant Improver: You want to improve but you are sensible by nature and cautious that you don't want to pick up bad habits (like putting on wetsuits back-to-front). You listen intently to every word your instructor says possibly making notes in a waterproof notepad. You probably have your own bouyancy-aid and wear gloves to stop blisters on your hands. While safety is certainly important while windsurfing, in order to steepen that learning curve and ensure that you will keep up with the Keen-Beans (who by this stage in the article have already started working on push-loops in their mind...), you need to make sure you get maximum time on the water as there really is NO subsitute.

 

  • Superman impressionists: Having left the beginners splashing in your wake you have accelerated through the initial stages of getting comfortable with the kit and are concentrating on building up your speed to that of a speeding bullet so much so that the advanced guys are looking over their shoulders and sheeting in harder. You have just one possible thing standing between you and greatness.. this time it isn't kryptonite but GUSTS....!!! As they rip across the water's surface and slam into your fully raked-in sail you feel a strange out-of-body experience as you are slowly drawn upright by the harness line then hurtled forward in a massive catapulting maneuver as your feet are torn from the safety of the straps. Possible variations of the move include adding a spin to the movement as you arc through the air or a slight flailing of the limbs is also a crowd pleaser. The seasoned professional will only produce one reaction however; as the board dissapears from beneath them and they begin their flight they adopt the outstretched-fists superman pose and close their eyes to imagine themselves wearing colourful lycra. Or maybe they already have the lycra pre-readied under their wetsuit...

 

  • The Carve-Gybe plateau kids: These people can be recognised by their straight line blasting runs across the water followed by a slightly wobbly entry into a downwind carving action which finally ends up with them entering the water at a low speed as they lose all momentum and the will to live. They haven't really improved from this level in the last 20 windsurf sessions and are liable to become disillusioned with windsurfing if they continue to focus only on this maneuver. If you are one of these people then you need to repeat this mantra before you go to bed each night: "there is more to windsurfing than carve gybes, they are transitions between one bit of fun and another, I will move on..". Through regular sessions on the water spent not worrying about the carve gybe you will learn to love the sport again and then one day it you will find you can actually do carve-gybes after all!

 

  • The "Legends": These guys and girls can be found to belong to one of two distinctiive groups. 
    • Group one is generally to be found at the bar accepting drinks from freshers in return for tall stories of their last season in Location X (they can't tell you where it is or they would be forced to bed you..) they often roam in packs and once you've believed their first story of the double-rodeo-onehanded-nofooted-1080 that they made (well almost) last week then they have you in the palm of their hand and you're a lost cause.. The only way to escape is to suggest to one of them that their friend is a better windsurfer and set them off against each other in a tall-story-off.
    • Group two people are the more action, less words kind of people. They will be the water when it's windy and mentally analysing their last session afterwards to work out where they could have gone faster and higher. When asked how good they are, they will often point to a friend and say 'oh you should speak to that dude he's legend on the water', don't let their modesty throw you, they can probably shred!

 

  • The Fair-Weather Sailer: You know if you fall into this category, You can sail, in fact you're probably pretty good at it and love whirling around on the water BUT only when it's hot and you can get away with boardies/bikini and work on your tan while on the water. You once tried windsurfing in the UK but now that is just a painful memory which makes you shiver as you remember the icy black, black water as it rose up over your head, filling your mouth and narrowing your eyesight to tunnel-vision. Gasping as you struggled for breath and tried to work out in your rapidly slowing mind whether it is the water or the wind chill that is making you feel this pain. The icecream headaches and  numbness spreading through your toes and up your legs as your fingers no longer grip and are only any good if they froze in a vaguely hooked shape that you can hook over the boom. The slight feeling of relief as you left the water at last but then only to discover you didn't have the strength or ability to undo the outhaul let alone the downhaul...



So where do you fit in? Still think you're unique? Sorry to say there are loads of windsurfers out there in exactly the same situation as you so if you want my advice, join a windsurf club, meet your equal number and hit the water. Only then do you have an excuse to talk the talk in the pub!


Oh and there was no real reason for the olives image, it just looked kinda cool..


Article by Beaker.

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