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Experience | Wind Surfing

Peter Chilvers, a resident of Hayling Island (situated off of the South Coast of England), was just twelve years old when he produced his ‘board with a sail’. This went on to become the basis for windsurfing as we know it today. There have been many other claims to the so called ‘invention’ of the first windsurfing board, but it is Peter Chilvers who holds the patent in England, Europe and America.

The windsurfing board is generally two to five metres in length and is powered by a single sail. The types of board were once categorised as shortboards (under three metres in length) and longboards (over three metres). The longboard was designed for light winds and course racing whilst the short boards were ideally suited for planing conditions.

These days, what with modern manufacturing techniques and design, the most common board you will see is known as a wideboard. These offer excellent manoeuvrability, stability and are responsive. When choosing a board ask your local store for their help and advice. They should be able to tell you which board, in their experience, would be practical for you, bearing in mind your level of skill and how it may develop in the future.

Windsurfers can enjoy the sport in many ways. From leisurely skimming the smooth surface of a lake, to racing on open water. Some prefer to feel the adrenaline rush of jumping and crashing through waves in the sea, to be at one with the ocean and leave the stresses of everyday modern life back at the shore. Whatever your age (within reason!), level of fitness and skill, windsurfing is a fantastic watersport.

Before taking to the water for the first time you should seek advice and instruction from suitably qualified experts. However much you read up on

Devon Outdoors
Devon Outdoors
Devon Outdoors

the sport and ‘think’ you know there is no substitute for being shown and taught from a professional. It may be that your desire is to only learn the basic ways to handle the board and the safety issues to consider, but being shown the correct way is generally the best way.

In the UK wear a wetsuit, even in summer, and it’s advisable to have a different one for our two most extreme seasons, summer and winter. You should also wear neoprene boots to protect your feet and, if the weather is particularly cold, gloves. In addition windsurfers will often use a buoyancy aid.

Whether you’re an experienced windsurfer or trying the sport for the first time, in Devon the areas to consider are:-

South Devon

:: Decoy Lake, Newton Abbot

:: Exmouth

:: Bantham

:: Bigbury

:: Torquay

:: Brixham

North Devon

:: Instow

:: Saunton

:: Croyde

:: Putsborough

:: Braunton Burrows

:: Westward Ho!

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Official supporters of Devon Outdoors

Dartmoor National Park - click to visit
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British Kitesurfing Association - click to visit
South West Coast Path Association  - click to visit
Surfers Against Sewage - click to visit
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Destination South West - click to visit

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