Try Windsurfing For A Fun, Whole Body Workout!
Windsurfing is so much fun and there is not a dull moment as it’s never the same twice.
It’s a great outdoor activity and a very popular sport practised by people of all ages.
We are lucky enough that Australia provides a climate which is very favourable to outdoor sports and some of the best windsurfing spots in the world. So, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of it!.
Learning to windsurf has never been easier with the development of new improved boards which help to improve the transition from beginner to intermediate.
If you like surfing and sailing, as an amateur or a professional, then windsurfing is for you. Plus it’s a complete body workout as you become at one with the water. What more to ask!
The History Of Windsurfing
Polynesians have been using sailing boards of various shapes and sizes for thousands of years.
However, windsurfing as a recreational sport only started in 1948 when a young American husband and wife team, Newman and Naomi Darby, built a small catamaran style board mounted by a handheld sail.
After many years of practice, in 1964, Darby had perfected their invention which by then included a universal joint connecting a kite shaped sail to the board making it easier to control and use.
The sailboard was invented and, although the Darby’s did not patent their creation, they take all the credit for its creation after Newman wrote an article about it in 1965.
With the help of his brothers, Newman set up Darby Industries to manufacture the boards.
Between the mid to late 1960s, Californian friends Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer developed the concept including a rotating sail, a wishbone boom and, in 1970, finally patented what they called the windsurfer. Drake was an aeronautical engineer and Schweitzer was a keen surfer.
In the early 1970s, Hoyle Schweitzer and his wife Diana created the company named Windsurfing International and began mass producing the boards, made out of polyethylene. As a result, by late 1970s, the trend took over the whole of Europe.
Subsequently, the very first windsurfing championship happened in 1973. Windsurfing became an Olympic sport for men in 1984 and for women in 1992.
Benefits Of Windsurfing
There are so many mental and physical benefits associated with Windsurfing, it is hard to know where to start.
Even as a beginner, you still get a fantastic workout. Learning how to stand on a board requires the use the leg muscles to balance.
To control the sail, you need to use your shoulders, forearms and lower back muscles. At the beginning, as you may spend some time falling in the water, and pulling yourself out of the water will use a lot of arm strength.
And in terms of calorie burning, advanced windsurfers can burn up to 1000 calories per hour as recreational Windsurfers still burn around 500 calories every hour.
It is a complete workout because, in order to sail the surf board over the water, you must use your body weight to push or pull the sail.
As you work your legs, back and arms, you will also use your core muscles to balance on the board.
As you use many of the body’s major muscles, Windsurfing proves to be an awesome cardiovascular exercise.
As you improve your skills and endurance, your cardiovascular fitness will increase therefore allowing you to windsurf for longer periods of time.
Being out on the water, taking full advantage of the sun, being at one with nature and breathing in the fresh air does wonders to your mental health too.
Outdoor exercise is a known stress reliever and can help combat depression. And, as you will travel faster on your Windsurf, you will feel so much excitement that you will barely feel that you are exercising.
So you will spend longer hours on the water which means you will lose a great deal of calories.
As you become conscious of your body and feel at one with your equipment and the water, you will also feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction as you become more skilled.
How To Get Started With Windsurfing
You must wear plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water to keep hydrated at all times.
Unlike, for example snowboarding, It takes a few attempts before getting started with Windsurfing.
You can try and teach yourself as there are many great online tutorials these days but it can take months to learn in some cases.
So, the fastest and easiest way is to learn is to take lessons at a Windsurfing school which can easily be found all over the country.
They will provide you with all the gear you need including a board and couple of different size sails.
There you will learn basic sailing and steering skills within hours. However, more advanced moves will require regular practice.
Firstly, beginners need to develop balance and core stability as well as learn and understand basic sailing theories and techniques.
Windsurfing can be relaxing on flat water wearing simple swimmers. But it can also be more exciting to surf the big swell during a winter storm, in which case it is advised to wear a wetsuit.
After a few lessons, you can advance to a smaller board and a bigger sail. That is when you will learn about ‘planing’ when the board skims over the water.
At the beach, you will meet plenty of like-minded people and you might decide to travel to new locations looking for wave breaks. From that moment on, the sky is the limit and that’s when the addiction begins!
For all information on windsurfing including clubs, schools, shops and windsurfing beaches near you check out the official Australian Windsurfing Association website.