As much as many would think windsurfing isn’t just about the obvious disciplines of race, wave, freestyle and freeride. For sure these areas of the sport are very much alive and kicking but aren’t the be all and end all. And everyday riders are only too aware of this. (All summer we saw evidence of sailors looking to simply get on the water, through whatever means necessary, which is great).
When the wind blows and the waves pump, fantastic! But when conditions don’t quite align – for full power sailing at least – there are plenty more ways to get out afloat. So with that in mind, buck the trend, change your thinking and get wet whatever! After all, it’s time on the brine that really counts…
Inflatable planing windsurf boards
Inflatable planing windsurf boards, while being pushed hard by the brands manufacturing them (RRD and Starboard to name two), haven’t taken off as quickly as hoped. But having tested a few, and published a kit test based on RRD’s Airwindsurf Freeride model, it’s a technology that certainly works and delivers a whole heap of fun.
Air board technology has been around for a while – most notably within our SUP brethren’s circles. Performance windsurfing, however, is still new ground for inflatables and some riders are sceptical. Our advice? Try it, you might like it. At the very least it offers a more cost effective way of travelling with gear. No bad thing in this day and age with luggage restrictions and charges prevalent across many airline operators.
Inflatable windsurf rigs
Really there’s only the Arrows Inflatables iRig available as a fully inflatable windsurf rig that we know of. And looking more akin to a kite it’s a product that certainly draws crowds and curious glances. Another product Windsurfing UK managed to get its hands the iRig M was approached with out own eye brows raised yet after a few short minutes afloat we were sold. Great for learning to windsurf but also a fun way to make use of light winds it’s another toy that should be tried before being judged.
RRD recently launched their compact wave sail line and associated rig components yet the brand’s freeride version has been around for a bit longer than that, and is something else WSUK tested alongside the Airwindsurf Freeride board earlier in the season.
As with the inflatable board space saving and easy transport are two obvious benefits and we think it’s great that RRD are actively addressing the ‘cumbersome kit’ question. After all, what’s not to like? Fold the sail down to half its usual size and stow everything away in handy back pack.
There are a few ways you can windSUP: light wind freestyle windSUP, light wind cruising or light wind wave sailing windSUP. As many already know having a stand up paddle board with windsurf attachments is a cracking way to make use of weather when it’s not planing conditions – or there but not quite.
With a few specialist windSUP boards available, such as AHD Sealion range we’ve recently been reviewing – even riders with particular preferences will be well catered for (proper wave performance for instance). For everyone else the additional versatility of a SUP will certainly be kinder on your wallet. Also a good tool for learning and introducing friends and/or family to windsurfing.
Longboards (Starboard short Phantom)
Longboards, or raceboards, are still very much alive and kicking within the windsurfing world. For many types of conditions it’s this style of kit that’s the most efficient – especially in sub-planing weather.
In times past raceboards were always a mission to cart about but with the introduction of Starboard’s new short Phantom 299 version accessibility within this class design has never been easier. For us, at least, raceboard windsurfing certainly ain’t done and dusted yet, and it’s great to see new innovations coming through within this category.
As everyone knows foiling’s the rage currently. Yet for all the chatter there aren’t as many sailors utilising this flight technology as you’d imagine. For anyone keen to make use of winds less than 20 knots, down to sub-10, we can’t recommend it enough. Cost is continually falling, in terms of the equipment needed, and we’re sure it won’t be long before even more foilers are taking to the water.
Remember there’s more than one way to skin a cat in this day and age so the saying goes. Open your mind to what’s on offer within the world of windsurfing and who knows, you may increase your time on the water considerably.