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Posted by on in Windsurfing

Windsurfing vs Kitesurfing

Windsurfer and kitesurfer surfing together

Whenever I teach someone who is new to windsurfing, or chat to those who haven’t tried it, I’m almost always asked the windsurfing vs kitesurfing question. “Which one do you think is better?”

I used to reply with I’m not sure because I haven’t tried kitesurfing and I’d often say “I’m told that kitesurfing is easier and that both are great”.

Since then I promised myself to go out and give kitesurfing a go, properly. So I could at least get a feel for it. I also thought it would be worth my time, considering it’s good for light winds.

My answer to the “windsurf versus kitesurf” question is now different. I also know I’m personally biased towards windsurfing and have my own preferences for it, but I’ll try to take an objective point of view anyway.

Difficulty

I learnt to kite through the same way as everyone else, but I think my windsurfing background gave me an advantage because I already understood wind, direction, gusts etc. I found it a lot easier to than windsurfing, but I learnt windsurfing more than 20 years ago on equipment that was incredibly unfriendly for beginners. The time it takes on new gear to learn what I did 20 years ago can’t be compared. I’d imagine windsurfing is just as easy to learn today judging on how fast my students progress.

I’ve heard others say, “go kitesurfing, it’s so much easier”, but in my teaching experience this isn’t true. Most people who say that took up windsurfing from a time when it was difficult indeed, heavy sails, long thin boards & awful equipment made learning a nightmare. For those who made it through, we look back and still say it was worth it. If you had to take a person new to both windsurfing and kitesurfing, gave them lessons on both sports and then asked them which one was easier, I think they’d answer differently.

All of my students have learnt to sail out and back on their own in 2 or 3 hours without having ever touched a rig before. In that same time someone new to kitesurfing is still learning to fly the kite.

Here is the thing about windsurfing which is the stretch to planing is the big challenge, although it’s still not as it tough as before, it still takes time to get hooked in and in the straps comfortably. From what I can see, kitesurfing offers a faster path to planning than windsurfing.

Which comes to my next point, what good is a sport if it’s nothing but easy? If you prefer ease to skill then perhaps you don’t want to bother with a “somewhat” longer learning curve.

Fun factor

My biased mindset tells me that windsurfing is more diverse but both sports have a solid fun factor. A lot of people kitesurf and I’m sure they wouldn’t it if wasn’t fun. Kitesurfing currently holds faster speed records over windsurfing & we’ve all seen the long hang time kiters are known for. I find the “airtime” to be a touch more graceful in than windsurfing, which is harder and faster. Kiters float and glide and you’ll have enough time to enjoy a good view if you’re high enough. With windsurfing you rocket upwards and hope to God you land well.

Although, I guess here is where the preferences come in and you’ll find kitesurfers saying that kitesurfing is more fun and windsurfers saying that windsurfing is more fun. Which is a normal response for anyone passionate about their sports, but what if you’ve done both?

Same thing, it depends on you as a person. If a person advises a newbie that one is better than the other, then they are mistaken. You don’t know unless you try and try properly!!

For me, windsurfing takes 1st prize hands down. What about you?

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Posted by on in Windsurfing

Weather flow

Ever heard of a weather meter for your iPhone? Introducing Weather Flow for iPhone, it's a neat little thing that I got for my birthday in March this year. I was pretty chuffed about it so I thought to do a quick article on what I think so far. So here is my amateur review since I'm no professional "reviewist person".

The Weather flow device itself fits snug in the palm of your hand, it is light in weight and blue in colour. The unit also comes in a tight little box case which houses the thing fine when you're not using it. It protects the blades which are the most sensitive part and you'll need a hard case like the one it comes in. I like that because unlike other products where you throw the box away, this one's box is quite useful. It plugs into a little hole in the same way it would in your iPhone as you can see in the pics below.

Weather flow box in hand Weather flow back of box Weather flow box from side
Weather flow out box Weather flow side view in hand Weather flow front view in hand

 

Positives

I was quite surprised how sensitive the blades were. I blew it and it picked up the speed quite quickly. It also seems pretty consistent with the weather charts, obviously the speeds are slightly different on the water especially if there are windless pockets on shore.

It works with iPod, iPhone and Android devices according to the back of the box and as you can see it records speeds in different units. For example, you can use knots, km or miles per hour. You can set it to seconds or meters as well.

It also uses your iPhone to give you the wind direction, I messed around with it a bit to try and pull out a wrong direction which seems it can happen. However you have to move your phone back and forth to throw the reading off which none of us would do anyway.

The app is pretty user friendly, just open it and all is straight forward. It's not packed with features and facilities but its purpose is for wind speed anyway so it does the job.

The app does have a few useful tools anyway. It logs previous readings and has some social element it as well.

 

Weather flow app start Weather flow app speed Weather flow app report
Weather flow app menu Weather flow app settings Weather flow app speed settings

 

Cons

One downside is that I had to get a new iPhone case so it could fit correctly, so make sure that your case has a hole that lines up nicely otherwise it will be tricky to insert the device. My cover's hole seemed to be a bit too tight for the device's fitting to slide through.

I'm not sure if it was the app or my iPhone itself, but every now and then the volume slider would pop up as if it were ear-phones. No big deal, it could be my phones connection or the case pressing on the pin.

 Weather flow load app fail

 

Verdict

Would I buy this for one of my mates? I sure as hell would.

You can pick them off amazon pretty cheap as shown below for example.

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Posted by on in Windsurfing

Surfing Quotes

 

Here are some of the best surfing quotes of all time, enjoy:

 

“People come and go, but the waves keep rolling”
Unknown

“Live life one wave at a time.”
Unknown

“If no-one is there to hear it, does the crashing wave make a sound?”
Unknown

“You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Surfing’s the source. Can change your life. Swear to god.“
Point Break – Boy in surf shop

“I just surf cause it’s good to go out and ride with your friends.”
Big Wednesday – Matt Johnson

“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave.”
Paul Walker

“With 73% of the planet under water perhaps ‘earth’ should be named ‘ocean’”
Unknown

“Surfing’s one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what’s behind.”
Laird Hamilton

“If in doubt, paddle out”
Nat Young

“Out of water, I am nothing”
Duke Kahanamoku

“Surfing is very much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you’ve done it.”
Paul Strauch

“Okay, sh#t, I guess this is a good day to die!”
Gerry Lopez (on towing into Peahi/Jaws)

“Wiping out is an underappreciated skill.”
Laird Hamilton

“I could not help concluding this man had the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and so smoothly by the sea”
Captain James Cooke

“Sliding a wave removes our brains out of the ordinary and slips us into the extra ordinary of being there now. No more worries about mortgages or strife of being poor or rich. When you enter the domain of an ocean cylinder, that moment, those split seconds belong to the Zen part of just being. Period.”
Bill Hamilton (surfer/shaper)

“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun”
Duke Kahanamoku

“Its not tragic to die doing something you love”
Mark Foo

“I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.”
Kelly Slater

“I’m just a surfer who wanted to build something that would allow me to surf longer”
Jack O’Neill – talking about inventing the wetsuit

“So this is where you work Turtle?”
“Only when da surf’s bad, Barney. Cause’ when da surf’s good, nobody works!”
North Shore – Rick and Turtle

“Never drive away from good surf.”
Roger Sharp

“I don’t need to tell you this but just to be sure: DO NOT ever wear boardshorts outside of your wetsuit. Unless you want every single right-minded person in the universe to think you are a tool of the highest order; and yes it is okay to point and laugh if you see someone doing it.”
Roger Sharp

“If you are too deep for the wave of the day go anyway to give the crowd a show. Everyone loves a good swan dive into the flats and someone on the right spot can still enjoy the ride.”
Roger Sharp

“You should always tell at least one newbie that the wax goes on the bottom of the board to make it go faster, like a snowboard then watch the confusion.”
Roger Sharp

“Conversely always tell a beginner that the zip does indeed go on the back of the wetty, no one should be allowed to walk down a beach like that.”
Roger Sharp

“You don’t need to get every biggest and best set wave of the day. Sharing is caring and sometimes the smaller ones run better.”
Roger Sharp

“If you see some litter on the beach on your way back to the car pick it up. Might not be yours but it’ll do wonders for your karma.”
Roger Sharp

 

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Posted by on in Windsurfing

Surf exercises

Let's face it, we could all do with a little more strength and fitness for our surfing enjoyment. It's no fun resting on the beach when the conditions are perfect, while at the same time you don't want to risk drowning from fatigue.

Fatigue in the water is a real issue and one of the common causes of drowning, but I'm talking about improving your performance.

By performance I mean:

  • Faster recovery times
  • Increased power
  • Increased stability and core strength
  • Increased lactic thresholds and strength endurance
  • Greater ROM (range of motion) and flexibility

Yes you can enhance these factors by exercise, sport specific exercises for surfing!

As a qualified fitness professional and passionate surfer I can help with some great exercises for surfing. I have trained several athletes in a wide range of sports and recently one of my guys got bronze in the world basket ball champs in Turkey 2013, so what I am about to tell you is not just some gym guy posting his cool tips.

Right, so here is some tips I am willing to share.

Broken record syndrome

Don't do the same thing every time you train. The goal is to keep yourself adapting, not become adapted. As long as you're adapting, you're getting results from your training.

A great way to mix it up is to focus on your training times. The body doesn't care much for numbers and while you might think last week I did 10 reps, so if I get 10 reps today then I got a similar workout. If you're focused more on performance than image, then consider how long your sessions are in the water. How intense are they? How long do you spend swimming out in tough conditions.

A great way to have the mix and mimic your session times is to a combination of programs during the week. For example, you could do week 1 with split programs, during morning doing enduro and afternoon strength based circuits. The following week you can focus on progression sets and core strength drills. When I say progression sets, you base your training on sets that progress on intensity. (Ie. They get harder and harder as each set goes, generally you'd want to start with 2 or 3 sets and see what your failure point is)

You can also shock your system by doing micro-sessions. That means, you completely change your programs from 1 hour sessions down to 15 minutes max. You can do this for two weeks. A 15 minute micro will look something like this:


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1 x 1 minute dynamic stretches
1 x 2 minutes warm-up - (Getting HR to around 70%)

WO phase: 10 minutes of 95 - 100 percent intensity. With no more than a total of 45 seconds to one minute rest during the 10 minutes. You can use regressions on all stations or exercises as long as you keep moving and the HR is in that 95/100 zone.

1 x 2 minutes cool down into static stretches

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This kind of drill will produce a killer amount of lactic build-up, so it's not uncommon to get nausea during your first session, if this is the case be sure to extend that cool down as much as possible to help deal with it.


Compound so it hurts

You want to try and do compound exercises. That means avoid isolated ones like a one arm dumbbell drill where you spend 30 minutes working the bicep and your heart rate is 120.

Use your workout time to hit more than one major muscle group at a time. Instead of doing a one arm curl, try a wall sit with alternating dumbbell curls.

Hit the bar and do pull-ups which is a nice compound exercise.

Most compound exercises engage core as well which is vital for surfing. Some crazy compound workouts for core and strength are mountain climber - push-up - burpee supersets combined.

Sounds like a mouth full but, it is more like a mouth full of vomit if you're not careful about it, so start slow by doing 2 sets for starters and so on,

Intervals and fartlek training

I'm not going to explain the full deal on fartlek, but to put it in a nutshell. You'll benefit from it in terms of speed and endurance. This type of training incorporates a variation of intensities.

Both traditional interval training and fartlek training will benefit your surfing skills. I'd try to do at least one of these sessions per week on varying days.


Don't be shy

Finally, don't be shy to post and ask for any more info! There is a lot more where this came from. Enjoy!

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Posted by on in Windsurfing

Is windsurfing easy to learn?

I posted something similar to this earlier on regarding the difficult vs easy aspects of windsurfing. I also touched on the processes of learning for the first time. But for those who have never in their life tried to windsurf, you might wonder if the sport is easy or difficult to learn.

Windsurfing is not as popular as some of the other sports, such as football, tennis or swimming. Those sports also benefit from the fact that they’re also in our schools, social circles, coffee shops, parks and all over the media. So to ask the question, “Is soccer easy to learn” might seem easy to answer because almost everyone has kicked a ball at some point.

However, how many people do you know are windsurfers? Do you know someone who does this sport often enough to tell you what it’s like to learn the basics of the sport? Indeed, when you watch the professional s on TV it looks as though it requires the most talented of people and that it’s probably a very difficult sport to learn.

My bet is that this is a big contributing factor to why some of us don’t try it out. Some think it’s too hard to do so they take their kids to a soccer club or something more common.

The truth is that windsurfing is an amazingly easy sport to learn (I’m talking the general basics). Of course, there are levels of the sport that require exceptional skill, but for those of you looking for easy fun then windsurfing is the answer. Let’s not forget that almost every sport has levels of play that require talent.

Windsurfing is actually getting easier to learn by the year

The main reason is because of improvements in equipment. Lighter, stable and more user friendly equipment make it very easy to rig-up and head out.

Sails carry more range, boards accelerate quicker than before but one thing that isn’t improving is the price. So what do you do?
Second hand is sometimes a good idea.

The newer models of learner boards that are wide, with adjustable bootstraps are the best choice to begin with. A smaller than average sail that’s not super technical like the slalom or race ones is a good idea.

The great thing about these boards is that when buying them second hand, you can be pretty sure that they’re in good condition.

Why?

1. People would generally progress onto newer stuff quite quickly
2. They are built to be almost indestructible
3. The person who used it probably didn’t ride it in waves etc.
4. If it was damaged and they tried to repair it, you’d probably notice it right away considering their limited experience in the sport and, if it had been professionaly repaired then that’s ok since you’re not obsessed with performance.

So get some beginner stuff and give it a go.

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