Windsurfing is another surface water sport that involves the participant riding on a fairly short board with a sail attached. The activity incorporates elements of both surfing and sailing and is sometimes called sailboarding or boardsailing. When the wind picks up here on Southern Vancouver Island, the windsurfers will take to the water.
A meteorologist could explain WHY it can get pretty windy around here, but watersport enthusiasts who rely on wind don’t care and are just happy that it does.
Windsurfing is occasionally confused with kite boarding but in fact has some significant differences. In kite boarding, the rider is attached to a kite via a harness. In sail boarding, nothing is attached to you which can make it safer in case you have to bail. You also stay on the surface of the water, gliding across like a sail boat instead of catching air and doing tricks.
Some of the benefits of sailboarding versus kiteboarding include the ability to launch and land from shore without assistance, sails are considered more durable than kites and it’s easy to de-power the sails so you don’t take off unexpectedly.
Regardless of where you enjoy water adventure activities, always be aware of the location-specific hazards such as reefs, sand bars, tidal currents, drifting logs, floating debris, beach logs, cliffs, trees and other people.
Your needs will vary depending on the time of year and the location you choose and will range from shorts and a t-shirt to full wet or dry suit (although most likely the latter around here). If you opt for lessons, be sure to check with your instructor regarding appropriate clothing for your activity.
We are unable to locate any local companies offering windsurfing instruction or gear rental at this time.
You will need a board and a sail. Seek expertise from people in the industry before purchasing any equipment to ensure you get products that suit your surfing abilities and goals.
Ideal weather for windsurfers will depend on ability, strength and experience. A beginner should look for flat water with a constant light wind. For most windsurfers, wind between 15 and 25 knots is ideal. The air temperature should be warm enough to be on the water but not too warm that you overheat. It rarely gets too hot in Greater Victoria for being out on the water. Other factors are the water temperature, tides and currents, wind direction, precipitation, lightning and fog.
Victoria experiences very little in the way of lightning and thunder but it is important to get off the water as quickly as possible if you see lightning.
Avid Vancouver Island surfers take to the waters all year long but the best time is May through September, weather permitting.
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