Depending on the windsurfing board's application, it will include:
A single central rear fin and up to three, four or five for fine-tuning when wave sailing. Longer windsurfing boards and those for learning feature an adjustable, retracting daggerboard. A daggerboard (centreboard) permits the board to sail higher into the wind so that you can sail upwind.
A windsurfing board's length, width, and volume are designed around the end-user's ability and specific discipline interests. Boards can be classified as long ( approx 365cm - 12'), mid-length (approx 290cm - 9'5) or short boards (approx 213 - 7'5).
Footstraps are often included where boards are designed for wind strengths above 15knots over flat water, speed, or wave sailing for added control.
Windsurfing Board Design Criteria
• Length relates mostly to manoeuvrability - the shorter the board, the higher the manoeuvrability. • Volume is linked to buoyancy - the more volume, the greater the buoyancy. • Width is related to earlier planing and stability - the wider the board, the faster it will plane and the greater the stability.
Windsurfing Board Volume
Board volume is a hot topic, but there are some simple rules to remember:
Typically, the volume of a board for a learner needs to be twice the volume of the kilogram weight of the rider. For every 1kg of mass, 1 litre of volume is required to support that mass. Therefore, if you weigh 75kg, a board of 150 litres will support your weight. Boards > 200L are considered high volume.
In high winds and for expert riders, this figure is nearly equal to the rider's mass for high-performance needs.
Windsurfing Board Length
Board width is a critical factor affecting stability:
• Narrow boards are <70cm, whilst a wide board would be >90cm. • The narrowest boards are speed boards at around 40-45cm.
Windsurfing Board Rails
The outer extreme side and underside edges of a windsurfing board critically affect handling and performance:
The board's edges are defined as soft (rounded) or hard (angulated). Soft rails allow for a loose ride, while hard edges bite into the water and provide directional stability. Typically, boards will feature a transition of soft rails towards the nose of the board, hardening towards the tail for added control and reduced slippage during turns.
Waveboards are often characterised by softer rails, whereas speedboards, including slalom and race boards, feature harder rails for directional control.
Beginner Windsurfing Boards
Beginner boards must be stable and forgiving to ensure an enjoyable learning experience:
High-volume boards with a litre volume (vol metric) total, twice that of your kilogram weight, are needed for ideal floatation. 160 to 210L is a good starting point, and 75-95cm width is ideal for maximum stability. The taller and heavier you are, go for the bigger numbers.
A soft all-over deck ensures low impact, and the addition of a daggerboard with a single rear fin is advised. The daggerboard will give you greater versatility.
For 2024, Mistral has released their Go Surf line of beginner boards in 160L, 180L and 210L with a retractable daggerboard system.
Transitioning to Intermediate Windsurfing
Over 90% of intermediate riders who have learnt the basics typically transition to freeride windsurfing. The sports other disciplines tend to be more extreme and specialist.
By far, the most popular form of windsurfing.
Most high wind riders sail freeride boards, gliding fast over flat water and skilfully jibing without crazy manoeuvres or tricks. This is a hook-in and hold-on enjoyment. Freeride boards are typically wider than wave boards to be fast onto the plane and sail through dead wind spots.
Slalom Race is for speed junkies who enjoy straight-line speed at control.
Freestyle Windsurfing Board (flat water)
Freestyle involves performing as many tricks as possible on flat water.
Typical are loops, slides and other jumps that require great skill. Speed is absolutely secondary here. Boards are designed to be 'loose', highly agile, and typically low in volume. Typically 7'5 - 8'5 in length.
Wave sailing combines high winds and surf conditions, unbroken waves, and white carpets of surf foam. Wave riding and spectacular jumping form part of the discipline.
Strong wind and often strong currents demand real experts who can tackle difficult conditions, combining windsurfing with surfing and wave jumping. Wave sailing boards are low in volume and designed to wave, ride, and jump. They come in volumes of 88L, 93L, and many variations in between. Many have tri, quad and five-fin configurations for fine-tuning ride handling. Typically 7'5 - 8'5 in length.
Freestyle Wave Boards
The supreme discipline of windsurfing is freestyle wave.
This is about combining wave and freestyle surfing described above. The result is super high jumps, wave riding and aerial gymnastics in the most difficult conditions. It is a real eye-catcher that is only reserved for pro-level riders.