Buying yourself the proper windsurfing board definitely is not going to be easy. It is extremely important to make sure that you consider how skilled you are before purchasing as buying the wrong board can really make it difficult to surf if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Part surfing and part sailing, we know that this sport isn’t for everyone and it’s not hugely popular. So, if you’re just getting into it or not sure where to start, then let us help you make the right decision on a good beginners windsurfing board.
7 Good Windsurfing Boards for Beginners (2018)
Where To Shop For Best Windsurfing Boards Online
Unlike regular surfboards, it’s harder to find windsurfing boards at online stores. However, we’ve managed to find a few places with good prices and a decent selection. So, if you want to buy your gear online, we recommend shopping at the places below.
- The House – the best selection of boards we’ve seen online at great prices – plus, they price match!
- Jet.com – very small selection, but cheap prices
- Amazon – decent selection at varying prices
What To Consider
In order to help you choose the right board for your situation we have come up with a buyer’s guide that will help inform you as to what variations of board’s you will come across and how these will affect your surfing experience. With our help, we think you’ll find the best windsurfing board for the money that meets your needs.
The thing you need to know about the size of a windsurfing board is that a smaller board is more difficult to ride. The wider the board is and the thicker it is, the more stable the board will be. A smaller board is faster, more agile, but much harder to balance on and therefore it is only suggested to get a really small board if you have a lot of experience behind you. If you are new to the sport and are looking to get a board it is suggested that you get a board that is at least 75 cm wide so that you will be able to maintain your balance and get your techniques down. Most windsurfers upgrade their board over time in order to make them smaller and more fast and agile, but only once they get extremely comfortable on a larger board and this can take some time.
Daggerboard or centre fin:
You will find that most of the beginner boards on the market tend to have a daggerboard or a centre fin on them in order to help the board stay balanced and make it easier to ride. A daggerboard will be retractable most of the time. When a daggerboard is down it will provide more resistance on either side of the board thus making it less likely to tip over. If your board has a centre fin on it, it will be bolted onto the underside of the board and will likely be removable via a screwdriver. The thing you should know about these devices is that they do decrease the speed that the board can travel, it can also make a board harder to maneuver as drag will happen whenever you try and turn the unit.
Today’s windsurf boards are generally made out of PVC, carbon, fiberglass, epoxy and polystyrene foam or a combination of a few of these materials. If you want to get a lighter board then a carbon board is probably your best bet. A lighter board is ideal for traveling at fast speeds and hitting waves. When trying to decide the type of board that you want to use, you should consider how heavy you are as well as the conditions that you are going to be surfing in. If you are heavier then you are going to want a heavier, wider board to support you. If you are pretty light weight or small in size then it is going to be easier to get away with a smaller and a lighter board even without a bunch of experience behind you. There are lots of charts that you can find online that can let you know a good board size for you based on your experience as well as how much you weigh, I definitely recommend you take a look at a few of these in order to get a general grasp as to the type of board you need.
The thing about windsurfing is that you don’t necessarily have to use foot straps if you don’t want to. Often times trying to use the foot straps right off the bat can make it more difficult to be able to learn how to sail. Different boards will incorporate different kinds of foot straps and they will likely be placed in different positions on the board. The further the foot straps are towards the back of the board, the harder it will be to maintain your balance and use your board successfully. Different boards will sometimes incorporate different foot strap areas that you can use so that you can match your experience with a foot strap area that is appropriate for you. If you have the foot straps located near the front of the board you increase the gliding area of the board which allows you to plane easier which is essentially the board gliding on top of the water at a fast rate of speed. Once you get more experience, moving to the back of the board makes it more difficult to start planning, but increases the speed of your board as there is less of the board touching the water.
One thing that intrigues a lot of people to buy one board over another one is the design that is on the board. Depending on the brand that you purchase, the board will often contain things like logo’s and a variety of colors in order to appeal to as many people as possible. Just remember to make sure that you look into the brand that you are buying from in order to make sure that they are a legitimate company that makes good quality products. It is always a good idea to make sure that you read through the return policy as well as the warranty that the manufacturer offers so that you know what you are covered for and so that you know what kind of problems you may run into down the road. The longer the warranty is on the unit, the more sure that you can be that the product that you are purchasing is of a high quality. If the manufacturer is willing to put money behind their product this generally means that they tried to make something that was of a high quality and legitimately want to look out for their customers.
Accessories that come with your windsurfing board are definitely something that you want to take a look at, especially if you haven’t been wind surfing before. Some windsurfing boards will actually come with their own sail. Sails will generally be made up of one of three or four different materials. Dacron is most often used in cheaper sails and it is often the material that most of the beginner sails will use. You will also likely come across some beginner sails that are made out of PVC material. Another material you will see is called Dacron. Dacron is both light weight in design as well as cheap for the manufacturer which is why it is a popular choice. Mylar is another type that you are likely to come across. Mylar is actually Dacron, but it is a coated form of Dacron. Over time the coating may come off, but it does help it to last for a longer period of time. The last type that you are likely to see is a Monofilm design. Monofilm is essentially a single layer of plastic and it is quite popular, but more expensive than most of the other sail materials on the market.
Types of Sails
If you are getting a board and it says the type of sail that it comes with, you are going to want to know what that means. There are three different types of sails available on the market including: soft, camber-induced as well as a raft sail. Each of these sails has their own benefits and drawbacks.
Wave sails are one type of sail that you will likely come across during your search. A wave sail is built heavy and strong so that you don’t break the sail if you fall over. A wave sail is cut short at the bottom so that it doesn’t get hit by waves as often and this enabled you to be able to travel faster through waves as a result.
The next type you will see is called a slalom sail. These are fairly large sails and are built out of lightweight materials, these sails are much more likely to break if you land on them by accident. The sails are specifically built for speed and are meant to be used in light wind conditions.
Another type you will come across is a freestyle sail. These are generally meant to be quite sturdy and light weight in design. They aren’t built for waves, but they will hold up better than slalom sails in rougher conditions. Freeride sails are the other type that you will see and these are meant to be able to allow the user to sail in pretty much any condition that they please. They are heavy duty, large and can be used in really windy or light wind conditions as you please.
Types of Boards
Just like the many types of sails available, windsurfing boards also have their own names and they generally will each have a few features that make them unique from other kinds of windsurfing boards so that you can tell them apart. It is always important to make sure that you match the sail and the board that you are using to the conditions that you are going to be surfing in so that you have the maximum amount of performance possible. The only boards that you can really mix and match and not lose performance on are freeride boards as well as longboards which is important to keep in mind.
- Freeride boards: are generally the most common type of windsurf board. These boards are small in size and are known to be easy to use with a good amount of control for the user.
- Longboards: Longboards are another common type you will see, these boards are great for light wind conditions and have a really long body.
- Beginner boards: are generally shorter boards that are very wide and have a daggerboard or a centre fin on them in order to offer more support for the user.
- Slalom boards: are generally used in races and are really fast, lightweight boards.
- Speed boards: are smaller versions of slalom boards and are literally meant to do what they are called, but pretty much have to be used in heavy wind conditions and areas without many waves in order to be able to go fast.
- Formula boards: these boards are used in races for the most part. Generally rather than being used for straight line races, these boards are used for races where you have to go both down and upwind. In order to be able to perform in these conditions you will notice that formula boards have large fins for support.
- Freestyle boards: are meant to be small in design and are ideal for turning and tricks, these boards are easy to control and great for experienced surfers to goof around on.
- Wave boards: these boards are small in design, but more stable and better in rough conditions than freestyle boards. Very durable compared to most of the boards on the market. The boards are meant to be able to take a hit from a wave and therefore can withstand a lot of impact from you if you fall on your board or go for a wipeout and hit something.
Hopefully after reading this guide you now have a better grasp as to the types of things to look for in a board. Always remember to think of your experience level before purchasing, as well as think about the sail and any accessories that you are going to purchase when you are setting a budget for yourself. Especially if you haven’t been surfing before, wind surfing can be a pretty expensive sport so it may be a good idea to rent out a board and give that a shot before making a purchase so that you can get an idea as to the type of board that you like to ride, as well as the type of sail that you like to use. Hope that you find yourself a good quality windsurfing board, best of luck!
top image license: DepositPhotos