Windsurfing – is a fairly young sport, which, however, already has its original history and has gained considerable popularity. In general, windsurfing is a symbiosis of sailing and surfing as such – a sail is set on the board. Windsurfing is controlled by tilting the sail back and forth or turning the board from board to board. Of course, the main thing in windsurfing is the wind. It is what makes the board float fast and the sail can be used as a rudder.
The history of the beginnings of windsurfing is only a few decades old, but very rich decades. The ancestor of windsurfing is considered Newman Darby. In 1964 he perfected the design of the first “sailboard” and achieved its buoyancy and ability to maneuver. And the person steering the board stood, rather than sitting, as was the custom in the past when steering small boats.
However, the inventor of the sailing board faced many challenges and the main one is to introduce windsurfing to the masses. And in this sense, the name of Mike Walz turns out to be a landmark. He showed everyone that sailing can be done not only on a long slow board but also on shortboards like for surfing and thus introduced them to the masses. At the same time, Mike Walz many times participated in windsurfing competitions and even became the world’s first winner of all three cups in the three disciplines of windsurfing competitions – racing, freestyle, slalom. Mike Walz’s name is still on the list of the Windsurfing Hall of Fame (PWA). Today the number of disciplines in windsurfing has increased significantly, indicating a rather serious development of the sport.
Returning to the structure of the windsurf, it is necessary to detail the sail – an integral and almost the main part of the sailing board. Windsurfing sails differ in the area (from 0,8 to 13 m2) and are mostly made from enough strong material – mylar, monofilm, or Dacron, for strengthening can be used kevlar network.
Most often there is a distinction between sails for different disciplines:
- For freeride (free-riding) sails from 4.5 to 8.5 m2, on a small chop and with gusts of wind will be suitable
- For slalom, racing sails for maximum speed and stability will do. The sail area is 5,5 to 12,5 m2
- For freestyle and windsurfing, there are special streamlined sails with an area from 3,8 to 6,5 m2.
- Wave sails are often made of a special tough material X-ply for greater strength. The area of such a sail is from 3,3 to 6,5 m2.
- There are also special training sails. They are light and mostly made of dacron with an area from 0,8 to 5,5 m2.
As you can see, there are many different disciplines in windsurfing, and you can ride in different ways, from the calm smooth water to the waves and performing various tricks on the sailboard. Windsurfing is possible in any wind strength, but there are two main ways to move:
- Displacement mode: here the board is kept afloat by Archimedes’ force and partially submerged in water. The speed in this way is relatively low because there is high resistance to the water.
- Planing mode: the board is kept on the water surface by the pushing force of the stream. Gliding is possible at quite high wind force – from 6-7 m/s and at quite high speed. Nevertheless, experienced riders can plane with a fairly wide sail and with a wind force of just 3-4 m/sec.
Boards for windsurfing also differ according to the discipline in which the rider participates. It is a narrow speed board for racing, universal boards (width up to 1 m) for free riding and the Olympics, and medium width boards (50-70 cm) for riding on the waves and performing tricks.
Interestingly, until 1995 the absolute record for the speed of riding belonged to the windsurfing, but later it passed to the kitesurfing. To date, the speed record for windsurfing is 49.09 knots (91 km/h). It was set by Frenchman Antoine Albeau on March 5, 2008.
Over time, windsurfers decided not to limit themselves to riding on the waves and came up with the idea of winter windsurfing – riding on the ice on a special platform with a sliding element and a sail. Winter windsurfing can be practiced on a flat clean ice, and the dense or soft snow, and even as an analog of windsurfing on the waves, practiced by riding on small bumps or low mountains. The speed of sliding on the ice is greater than when riding on waves. Winter windsurfing was developed in Canada, the Baltic States, and Europe. In winter windsurfing today even held championships in Europe and the world.