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Definition: windsurfing from Dictionary of Sports and Games Terminology

(sport) a blend of surfing and sailing, consisting in riding the waves on a sailboard


Summary Article: Windsurfing from The Encyclopedia of Tourism and Recreation in Marine Environments

Windsurfing (also known as sailboarding) has been a popular water sport since the 1970s. Windsurfing equipment is characterized by a free-standing sail attached to a board by a universal joint. Holding the sail in a standing position using a double-sided boom, the rider is propelled by the wind in a similar fashion to rigged sailing craft. The windsurfer is steered through altering the sail position or tilting the board. Production of windsurfing equipment began initially with long boards (around 4 m in length) housing removable dagger boards to assist stability and upwind performance. Since that time, the sport has undergone rapid development in equipment design, manufacturing techniques and materials. Much of the windsurfing equipment available today has become specialized for specific uses such as course racing, light wind performance, surf or wave sailing, speed sailing, slalom racing or freestyling. The development of windsurfing skills, techniques and expert manoeuvres has been congruent with equipment advances.

The low cost, ease of transportation and durable nature of windsurfing equipment has led to the sport becoming a popular tourist activity, particularly in coastal resorts. While learning the skill required to propel and navigate a windsurfer is initially challenging (akin to learning to ride a bicycle), calm conditions and clear instruction will usually have novices sailing beginner sailboards within an hour. More experienced windsurfers make use of a range of locations in most weather and sea conditions, including inland lakes, rivers, estuaries, surf whales and dedicated man-made facilities.

Related internet sources

Australian Windsurfing: http://www.windsurfing.org

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Spots Worldwide: http://thewindmap.com

Damian Morgan
© CAB International 2008.

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