Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Summer is almost here and soon people who don't have boats will be looking for a way to get on the water.
Those who don't have the cash for their own boat can turn to windsurfing.
Some people might not know what windsurfing is and some might think they do know what it is and that it's too hard. Well, it's not.
Windsurfing is the sport of surfing on the water using a sail and the wind to propel you on your way. It combines the art of surfing and skateboarding with the luxury of sailing.
And, the best part about it is, we live very close to one of the top windsurfing spots in the world. The only reason it's not THE top spot in the world is because of our nasty winters. I'm talking about the Columbia Gorge area between The Dalles and Hood River.
Windsurfing has changed dramatically since the 80's when its popularity exploded. Then, the boards were long and skinny, which made it a chore to balance on them. Since there is a sail attached to the board and this sail controls your movement forward and the steering, it was difficult to do all at once.
People quickly found this out and lost interest. Soon, windsurfing was a lost sport except for those few underground surfers.
Recently there has been more interest in the sport, helped along by the popularity of kitesurfing. The windsurfing industry, led by Starboard, has redesigned windsurf boards so they're more stable.
The boards are now wider and shorter. This takes away the balancing factor, making it easier to concentrate on steering your board and having fun. It's amazing how easy windsurfing is now. I remember trying it back in the 80's and it was a chore. I tried it again in 2003 and I was actually windsurfing in about 20 minutes. I could leave shore, go out a ways and then turn around and come back. Best of all, it was fun.
Windsurfing equipment can be a bit spendy but no where close to what a boat or personal water craft would cost. The cost of the gas for a season of boating is probably more than you would spend on new windsurfing gear and I know you can pick up used gear at a windsurf swap for even less.
So, if you're bored this summer why don't you give an old sport a new try and take up windsurfing. It might just change your life.