When windsurfing was first launched in contemporary form in 1968, the equipment was heavy and low tech. Even into the 70s the same remained true and yet the sport was so addictive nothing was an obstacle to entry. Today, the equipment is so much lighter and advanced. Our new Freebird and Albatross boards are ideal entry level boards as our Santa Anna WindSUP® boards, complete with rigs.
What makes learning difficult?
The wrong equipment will slow the learning process and If you learn with the correct kit and the correct environment with some guidance, learning is a breeze, loads of fun and will make it less tiring.
Is windsurfing good exercise?
Yes! Like SUP it requires core muscle engagement and balance which ensures you of a good workout. In this regards, windsurfing is superior to kitesurfing when it comes to offering a means to body strengthening and improved balance.
What equipment is needed?
Board, sail, mast, boom and mast foot make up the basic equipment. Together they are called ‘The Rig’. These components must match up together in suitability of size and performance.
How must the rig components fit each other?
The mast length needs to fit the length of the sail’s mast sleeve and the boom must fit the overall width of the sail from the mast sleeve to the end of the sail’s outer extreme, where there is an ‘eye’ called the ‘clew’ into which the outhaul rope of the boom is passed through. It sounds complicated, but in fact you soon learn with trial and error and guidance.
Do I buy the components separately?
Your first time buy is best made as a ‘complete’ purchase with all components. Otherwise you will have to carefully consider seeking out all the components to make sure they are compatible.
What are the characteristics of learner boards?
School boards are often super wide, for added stability, however once you have the basics understood and mastered, we advise a narrower board for added speed and enjoyment. Both our Freebird and Albatross are neither overly wide or slow, the Albatross better suited to the first timer. Light weight sails, mast and boom all make it easy to manage and learn the basics.
What sail size would I need to learn?
Learning is best achieved using a sail of 5m and under and for children as small as 3m. Less sail means less power, however, you do need some wind to learn. No wind will make it frustrating and difficult to learn and understand how it all works. Our learner rigs are ideal and will fit any board.
How important is it to learn with the correct equipment?
Learn with incorrect kit and you will probably walk away disappointed. Your first experience needs to be positive therefore you need to be careful as to what you learn with and on.
What clothing to wear?
Footwear such as sneakers or neoprene shoes are strongly advised. Wear performance clothing to protect from windchill and when learning, for falls into the water, take the water temperature into account. Wear lycra for UV protection and neoprene for cold water protection. The colder the waters and winds, the more critical it becomes to invest in high performance clothing. Rather than using sun creams ‘cover up’. Creams will make the board and boom ‘greasy’.
What is a harness and do I need one?
A harness permits the rider to hook into line connected to the boom so as body weight can be used to take up the power and pull of the sail. You will not need a harness when learning, but once you improve, you will and take on stronger winds, a harness will increase your water time and control.
What volume board do I need?
The rule applied, is 1 litre for every kilo you weigh, plus 50 – 100 additional litres. Consider use by friends and family. The greater the volume the greater the range of users.
What are the different niche styles of windsurfing?
Wind strength and water conditions determine equipment needs to support interests. Light winds are ideal for learning and cruising, higher winds leads into Freeriding with shorter boards with foot straps and higher performance equipment. Freeride is all about hooking in to a set of harness lines and holding on. Freestyle takes it up a notch, where riders perform acrobatics including flips and somersaults all of which have names similar to skateboarding. Slalom is an extreme form of Freeriding, using boards designed to travel fast under high levels of control, whilst wave sailing is as the name implies, sailing within the waves and surf. Racing on ‘Class Boards’ has strong ties with that of dinghy sailing. The diversity is enormous and there is equipment to suit all forms.
‘Super important’, is the answer to this question. The paddle is the tool you use to deliver power to the board and it is the most intimate connection you will have in relation to equipment you invest in. The paddle is the primary apparatus, not just for providing propulsion to the board, but in addition in relation to how you control and steer the board under normal paddling conditions.
What’s the difference between paddles?
Differences vary enormously in relation to materials used or any combination of materials used to fabricate the blade, shaft and handle. There will be differences in weight, flex properties of the shaft, blade shape and size (area) and whether the paddle is designed to be 3, 2 or 1 piece, adjustable or fixed. All of these impact on four major issues; that of performance, price, durability and suitability to your needs.
What is the anatomy of a paddle?
It is composed of the blade, shaft and handle (grip). However the blade then features the tip and edges. The shoulders angle in towards the neck of the blade where it joins the lower shaft. The blade face is the face of the blade that does the work (high pressure) the back of the blade face away from the paddler (low pressure). The blade face may have a raised centre spline called a dihedral. This separates the water out towards the end of the power phase, so as water leaves each side equally. The throat of the shaft is where your lower hand grips, the grip is where your upper hand rests.
What is an adjustable paddle?
An adjustable paddle, permits alteration of length measured from the tip of the blade to the top of the grip. This is important if you wish for the paddle to be used by multiple users, or perhaps if you move between different boards of different thicknesses.
So why would I purchase a fixed length paddle?
Fixed length paddles are usually used by paddlers who use only one board and do not share their equipment or jump between boards. Investment in a fixed length paddle, means that you will measure it to suit and cut and glue the handle to the exact length you require so as it custom fits not just your height, but ultimately your arm span, board thickness and paddling style. Typically, high end paddles tend to be fixed in length as their are weight saving benefits together with improved performance.
Should I own more than one fixed length paddle?
Yes, if you move between boards for different uses; such as racing, surf etc. One length and one design tends never to be so adaptable to be practical in being used between multiple boards and disciplines. It would not be unreasonable to own at least two fixed paddles if you pursue two different SUP disciplines; more if you need spares.
Does the weight of a paddle affect paddling performance?
The short answer is ‘Yes’ it does massively. A heavy paddle will not only compromise your paddling efficiency through impacting on technique, but will also slow your paddling stroke down and ultimately bring on the on-set of fatigue very much faster than that of a lightweight, efficient paddle.
So a lightweight paddle is preferred?
Absolutely and it will ensure you will enjoy your paddling far more, fatigue less quickly and see greater return on effort when paddling. If your energy is consumed in simply managing the paddle, you will have less residual energy left in respect of what is required to paddle. This in turn cuts down your water time.
Is an expensive, lightweight paddle worth investing in?
The short answer is ‘Yes’ and indeed they hold their value. The net result of failing to invest in a quality lightweight paddle, will be that you will get far less satisfaction from your board than you hoped. The board will not paddle itself and therefore investing in a heavy, inexpensive paddle, will in fact compromise your board’s potential and your level of enjoyment.
But I don’t have the budget for lightweight paddle?
Initially, you must set out during the board / paddle investment process, with the paddle being important, not secondary and almost irrelevant. Good retailers, coaches and mentors, will tell you the paddle is the most important item you will purchase and that the board is actually secondary. If you do not have a good means of propulsion, the boards performance merits will become secondary regardless. At the very least, have the mindset that the paddle is important and invest in the best that you can possibly afford!
What are your cheaper paddles made from?
We use fibreglass for our economy paddles, carbon / fibreglass composite mix for our mid range priced paddles and all carbon for our high end paddles. We do not use alloy shafts as these are truly terrible for your joints, inflexible and take away from the paddling experience.
What are you entry level paddles?
We have the Kanoa for adult use, which features a fibreglass shaft and polycarbonate blade, while for junior paddles, we have our Tamarii paddle. These feature non-twist adjustable shafts for 2019. These are as light as you can expect in a quality economy paddle that is both durable and practical.
Why would I want a 3 piece paddle?
Particularly handy if you want to fit everything within your inflatable travel bag.
Shaft flex, why does this matter?
Due to the length of the shaft, flex is an inevitable characteristic. This being said, too much will lead to inefficient blade performance and a loss of energy delivery, too little will create a somewhat dead feel to the paddle and the possibility of injury, while somewhere in-between is ideal. Marginal flex that is not excessive is really what your are seeking and this we have assured in all our shafts without getting into too much detail. In short, either ends of spectrum of too much and too little flex, is not a characteristic that any paddle seeks out.
Blade size and area?
Blade size is simply a factor of measuring the surface area of the blade, however an over-looked consideration is in relation to a blades overall height (blade tip to neck) and width (max edge to edge). Blade area may seem important, however it is more important to consider blade shape in relation to whether the blade is high or low aspect. Our blades are offered in both formats and detailed at the site.
What is a low/high aspect paddle?
This will have its widest point, below the mid point height of the blade while a high aspect blade, will have its widest point mid way or even above the mid point. Low aspect paddles are very good for rough water conditions where blade depth will vary. High aspect paddles are excellent for flatter conditions and in particular suit the taller paddler.
Do I need a big or small blade?
An overused quote reads, ’The size of a SUP Paddle’s blade can be compared directly to the gears on a bike: the higher the gear or the smaller the blade, the less effort each stroke requires with less forward motion generated.’ As convenient an analogy as this may sound, it is fundamentally incorrect on account of the fact the blade performs best when it remains stationary (anchored) in the water and therefore it matters not as to the blades surface area, but more how you use it. If you use a smaller blade, you need to paddle with more aggression in order to anchor the blade in the same way, which leads to a higher stroke rate, but in no way can it be assumed that less effort will be required.
How does blade area affect paddling?
A larger blade area encourages a slower stroke rate, due largely to the drag required to exit the paddle, recover and re-enter and in fact requires less effort and ‘speed’ in order to anchor the blade. This may seem counter intuitive, however learner paddlers are better suited to using larger blade areas, as they lack both power and speed to anchor a smaller blade for the same result. The attraction for smaller blades for experienced paddlers, are higher potential stroke rates, less drag on exit, lighter paddles and ease of handling.
How long should my paddle be?
There are many confusing suggestions. The best rule is simply that when paddling, your top hand should be between your nose and forehead height when mid-way through the stroke. Critically, you do not want your top hand to be so high, that your elbow goes much above the level of your shoulder in order to avoid shoulder injury.
What’s the best paddle for general paddling?
Buy a fixed length paddle if only for your use to ensure maximum performance and enjoyment. If you have a family and want to budget for one paddle, opt for a 2 piece adjustable. If travelling with an iSUP, consider our 3 piece. Ultimately you may need more than one paddle for differing situations.
Which paddles for racing?
Our Gold Paddles have been highly prized and successful and represent a very competitive cost / performance investment. While bespoke makers will make claim to many fancy design features, the reality is simple in that there are few gimmicks that work when it comes to blade shape and therefore stick to the what is known to work and you will be assured of reliability and performance. Our Gold paddles and Keanu are low aspect ‘tear drops’ ideal for rough water racing and surf use, while our Ulani, Makani are high aspect paddles suitable for flat water racing and cruising.
Which paddles for surf?
Our Gold and Keanu paddle.
Junior aged paddles?
Ensuring children have the best start in SUP is essential. They must have the correct paddle as a matter of priority. It is not OK that they use an adult paddle. See our Tamarii paddle which has been especially designed.
We recommend the Kanoa which has the a polycarbonate blade.