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Gear For Intermediate Windsurfers

So, you're now bored of that big board and want to move onto something a little more responsive and exciting? The intermediate level of windsurfing is a world where your gear changes and your windsurfing experience is totally different from your previous situation.

Smaller / advanced gear means a major upgrade in terms of speed, fun and thrill. There is a huge range of options when it comes to intermediate gear and from here you can move onto the different disciplines like freestyle, waves or speed. You may want to just mellow out and freeride for the rest of your years.

Let's put that aside for now and see what kind of gear the average Joe needs in order to move from beginner to intermediate.

Firstly, you'll want to decrease the size of your board or change the style of it. That means looking for a board with less volume, that has no center board (dagger board) and is a lot lighter. Your new board will be aimed more towards performance, foot straps that set differently and no more of that comfy soft stuff that adds an extra 5 kilos.

An all-round freeride board is a good investment and this will give you the range you need to start with. For heavier sailors, upgrade to a board around 130 liters and for lighter people, around 110 - 130 liters is fine. Keep in mind that high volume boards are made for lighter winds and less volume for stronger winds.

Freeride is all about ease and fun with a dash of performance. It offers easy jibing, speed and good control. From here you can find your true taste and style, either stay where you are or move into freestyle, wave or speed. Freeride also offers you that extra step ahead of the beginner stage before progressing to certain disciplines of windsurfing.

Avoid second hand gear that is older than 5 years, obviously new gear is always the best. Most shops do trade-ins, so if you don't plan to use your old stuff rather take it in and get something new for what you would pay on second hand stuff. So what next?

Beginners often start out on a freeride sail and it's a good idea to keep it. After all, it is your first love and it should still suit your board size without a problem, provided it's not too big or small. However, you might want to invest in another sail size to cater for more conditions.

Smaller sails are for stronger winds and larger sails are for lighter winds. Your current sail size as a beginner may be smaller than average in relation to what you should be sailing, most often this is around a 5.0 or 5.5 size sail. If for example you are using a 5.0 then you should invest in a slightly larger sail like between 5.5 and 6.0, unless you plan to buy a 4.0 and go out in 35 - 40 knots! If you started out on a 5.5 then upgrade to a 6.0, a bigger sail offers more power and speed. If you where one of the rare folk who managed to learn on a 6.5 or a big 7.0, which is pretty unlikely, getting a smaller size like a 5.5 or a 5.0 is a good idea for those stronger winds.

If you are heavy keep a 5.8 and a 6.5 in your garage, for an average sized person, a 5.3 and a 6.0 are two good sizes. For lighter sailors a 5.0 and a 5.7 are great sizes. Remember, these are a more or less guide, you should really feel comfortable with your gear and the first prize is to try out some demo gear before you buy! Alternatively, speak to your mates and try out their stuff.

The above gear is based on around 15 - 25+ knots of wind as recommended for intermediate windsurfers. Winds stronger than that need smaller gear as control becomes an issue.

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