For the beginning windsurfer, there are a number of milestones along the path of improvement. None of these steps are obligatory but their accomplishment means that you can windsurf longer, easier and in a broader range of conditions. It's no fun to be on the water struggling or the beach while your buds and budettes are having a good time.

After windsurfers start to become comfortable being out in planing strength winds and getting used to the harness, they begin to learn to put their feet into the footstraps. These same straps that seemed so illogically placed at the sinky tail of the board suddenly are now appearing underfoot. They've been told that footstraps are handy (footy?) things to use but, as soon as they pick up one foot or the other to put them into the straps, bad things seem to happen: catapaults, veering upwind, falling on the sail. While more experienced sailors will swear that they abhor the idea of planing without being in the straps, the newly-minted intermediate sees it oppositely. Footstraps seems to be the cause of problems, not a cure.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then maybe these videos at 24000 words per second (24frames per second x 1000) can help. All these videos are in English. Well, they're by English windsurfers. For some curious reason while Americans on youtube are asking friends to "hold my beer" or "watch this", the English are making quality tutorials. Oh, how the colonies have lost their way. But, we digress.

Get Windsurfing

Sam Ross

Jem Hall tunes the footstraps Freeride


More general tips from Sam Ross

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Journal Entry: April 8

When I began seriously windsurfing, I began to keep a journal, notes in a little spiral bound notebook. It was quite helpful. I logged my sessions and noted sail trim settings - downhaul, outhaul, etc.
I ran across it the other day when cleaning out the garage and ran across this entry:

That was twenty three years ago. I'd had a good day windsurfing and then got in the car and turned on the radio.

I would have written that differently had I known that it would be posted for public consumption. Nirvana was a big deal as we transitioned from the synth New Wave and hair metal of the 80s to the grunge of the 90s and Kurt Cobain was, arguably, its biggest voice.

As is typical for me, the self-discipline petered out after a few more entries. That's probably for the best as a few of the other entries were horribly arrogant for a newbie. I'm not very good now, two decades later, so to read my self-assessment then is a bit cringey. Ah, the folly of youth.

Oh, and Amy is one my wife's good friends from med school. Just in case anybody was thinking, "What?"

You Are Not Average

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. - George Carlin

Fortunately, we aren't talking about your intelligence but, rather, your body size. A lot of us aren't average. We are bigger, smaller, heavier and lighter than the "average" windsurfer. And, certainly, we don't windsurf in an average place.

Peter Hart has written a pair of articles about windsurfing when you aren't the average size. We can't recommend these enough. You should read both whether you are a larger or smaller than average person as there is a lot of wisdom to be gleaned.

Peter Hart: Big Men, Small Problems Peter Hart: Small, But Perfectly Formed

While you are on a Peter Hart kick, we can recommend the following pair about Ken Way, former champion windsurfer and sports and performance therapist to Leicester City* for their unbelievable championship year.

Where There's a Will, There Turns Out to be a Way The Winning Way, Part 2

*If you aren't a soccer fan or don't keep up with English Premier Football, but love sports, you need to know this story.


We've been wanting to write about this for quite some time: how drone photography changes the way that we and the rest of the world sees windsurfing.

For those of us who have windsurfed for a long time, still photography was the more common method of relaying the windsurfing experience to others. If done by a family member, it usually resulted in a nice seascape with a smudge on the horizon which indicated "windsurfer". Unless you had a friend with a really good telephoto lens, this was really the way the world saw you - that dot on the horizon. Colorful dacron sails at least made us noticeable but then we had to go and ruin that with the advent of the monofilm sail. While monofilm had distinct performance advantages with it's lack of stretch, it made windsurfing about as visually appealing as a Pringle potato chip.

If you were really lucky, you would occasionally get a glimpse of some video or film footage of windsurfing. But, this was precious; so precious that the club spent a considerable amount of money amassing a video library so members could share VHS videotapes. We'd spend windless hours in the Outer Banks watching Peter Hart teaching us how to jibe and Robbie Naish slash waves and jump higher than a helicopter.

Then, Youtube and the GoPro changed so much for us. While the internet spelled the demise of windsurfing print journalism as an industry, it ushered in amateur and professional windsurfing footage by the truckload. You no longer waited for your periodic magazine refresh or the new DVD. A click and you were immersed. We started to be able to share what we felt and saw on the water with the rest of the world. Our friends could begin to understand the feeling of speed, the froth of the wake behind us, the water's shape. This was better, much better. Often footage was limited by the lens available or the inability to change the viewpoint readily. The wide angle lens meant it was hard to grasp a wider sense of what was going on. The fixed mount often resulted in footage of the backside of the sail, someone's feet or some other irrelevant aspect. However, the ability to create our own video footage and share it easily outweighed the shortcomings.

Maybe three or so years ago, drone footage of windsurfing started to appear. While camera drones had already been flying for sometime, it took a while for a drone capable of flying at the speed necessary to keep up with a windsurfer in breezy conditions to become affordable and widely available. In a sense, drones merely mimicked what helicopter based videographers had done in the 80s and 90s but helicopters are expensive and safety and their rotor wash limits how, and perhaps more importantly, who they can shoot. With a drone, we can see us, or people like us, windsurf. What we see is tangible. That really could be us.

While we've posted a number of videos shoot somewhat or wholly with drones before, here's a little collection that we've made that, hopefully, gets you excited about sailing this spring. Enjoy.