advise needed for beginner
Hi, my wife would like to learn to windsurf so we are looking for gear. She is an athletic 115# and 5"4'. I am on this forum as she feels the Starboard START is best suited for her. I would like to get a new or used one for her as a surprise birthday gift. We live in Norcal by Redding, CA. There are no shops to buy but lots of water to windsurf. If anyone has a board ect. or can direct me to a site to find new or used stuff would you please let me know? Any advice will be greatly appreciated
Yeah, the starboard START is probably the best board in the world to learn on. You should check in the iwindsurf.com classifieds to see if anyone in your area is selling one.
If you can't find any there, you might have to drive to a shop in the SF Bay area or order online. Windsurfing Magazine has a directory of all the shops and schools in every state.
If you have to drive to get the board, you might want to pick a place where your wife can get a lesson on the board, too. That way you won't have to teach her yourself the first time, and you will both avoid a lot of trouble.
Also, I have some advice about beginner equipment and the different minimum size boards needed for different weights, etc., on this website:
James has provided you with some good advice here.
You may want to check some of the shops in the SF Bay Area, but while it's a little further from Redding in miles, you can probably get a better selection and better pricing in the Columbia River Gorge.
There are also a number of mail order operations that can ship you the entire package.
If you want some places to look, send me a "private message" (up at the top on these forums) and I will send you back some businesses that will have what you want for your wife's birthday.
James makes an excellent point about getting some instruction.
Windsurfing in not an "intuitive" sport, and without either some lessons on how to "learn to windsurf, the easy way" or an over abundance of "personal tenacity", many who try the sport, even on the latest and greatest entry level boards and rigs, give up fairly quickly as they aren't having both fun and success.
Might be worth your consideration to find a Starboard/Sailworks "A Taste of Windsurfing" event, or travel to an area with good windsurfing schools and conditions.
Then you and your wife can learn the basics quickly and safely, taking the new skills back home to the waters around Redding where your own new gear will have you out and sailing around on your own vs trying to figure it all out on your own.
Hope this helps,
First of all, congrats for not doing what many guys do, which is take her out on your 90-liter board in 20 knot wind with 6-foot high boom, and then revel that the learner fails... the macho thing. Seen that soooo many times.
And then the usual advice... the first few times go out in perfect conditions, that makes it more fun and easier for everyone.
Namely and that is: on-shore or in conditions where she gets 'deported' towards shore and not offshore. If any single advice goes to make it more pleasurable, then it's this one.
Low winds, none of that "let's go out anyways even if the wind is too strong". Better not go out than go out in bad conditions and you quickly waste your investment.
Shallow waters, sandy bottom: this is a nice to have, but people learn so much better when the bottom is in sight. As opposed to deep sea. It's a psychological thing, but whatever works. (By the way, after 25 years I still practice new freestyle moves in the shallows whenever I can. Falls are more fun, coming back aboard is easier, really helps!)
Right height booms: no higher than shoulders. Sooooo many make that mistake of not adapting the boom height to the learne,r and you see them struggle with way too high booms. This is esp. true in lower learning winds. One can play macho and have 8-foot high booms when one is pro. As an aside, lower booms for learners makes it easier to pull the rig out of water (lower center of weight).
Another advice: a little bit at a time. Many people stay out for 3 hours at a time on the first outing, frustrate and that's it. I find small chunks of 20-30 minutes max, with a little rest and play, is more productive. (Here again, same for practicing new moves, BTW.)
Again, congrats on your approach and good luck! She's undertaking the best sport in the world, but am preaching to the converted...
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