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Sport Spotlight

Tips for outdoor recreation and outdoor sportsOutdoor Sport Spotlight

Wild or mild outdoor sports and recreation are a passion of the camping.com editors.  Here we profile different sports and outdoor recreation activities.  We'll give you tips on getting started, tell you about the great places for outdoor sports and show you what gear you need to be comfortable in all conditions.  So whether you're a seasoned outdoor sports enthusiast or a enthusiastic beginner we have tips and advice to make the most of your outdoor recreation passion.

Windsurfing

Windsurfing


Windsurfing is an exciting sport that allows you to experience the outdoors in an exhilarating new way. Anyone can learn to windsurf; you can even find gear for small children. You really only need a little bit of gear, some water and some wind.

You can windsurf purely for fun, add the complexity of ocean waves, or even compete in competitions. So the next time you find yourself yearning for some speed and fun in the sun, find yourself some windsurfing gear, an instructor and some windy waters.

The Gear

Beginning windsurfers should take a lesson or two from a certified instructor before purchasing any gear. An instructor can teach you the basic maneuvers, and how to manage your board. Instruction is a great way to make a seemingly complex sport much simpler. Many windsurfing shops or sports stores that sell windsurfing gear offer a beginners package. A package like this makes purchasing your first set of gear less expensive than purchasing everything separately. Your basic gear needs are: a rig, a board, and a PDF (or lifejacket). The rig consists of the mast base, mast, boom, and sail.

When purchasing your first set of gear, you need to choose a board that is the correct size for your weight. Small people will want a smaller board, while larger people will want a board that is larger and weighs more. You will also want a center fin on your first board; this helps with stability and makes beginning moves a lot easier. More experienced sailors use smaller boards and larger sails which allows them to sail much faster and complete more complex moves.

You can even start your small children windsurfing. Children have an amazing ability to pick up sports like windsurfing. If the whole family enjoys windsurfing, you can get children sized boards and sails. Children can even compete in windsurfing competitions.

The gear for windsurfing has improved considerably over the years. These improvements have made windsurfing more accessible. With the gear you can get now, you no longer have to be as strong or agile. Of course, as you practice windsurfing you will feel the physical benefits of the exercise. The gear people use today is also much lighter, so it is much easier to transport to the best windsurfing locations. In addition, the improvements to windsurfing gear allow experts to perform more complex moves as well as sail faster. So, if you have always wanted to try windsurfing, but are held back because you are worried you may not be fit enough, wait no more. Hop up and find yourself a windsurfing instructor and give this wonderful sport a try.

The Basic Moves

There are a few moves that you must learn before you can ride your board across the beautiful windy waters. First you need to learn how to lift your sail out of the water. This maneuver is called uphauling. You also need to learn to determine which way the wind is blowing. When you first uphaul, you need to make sure that the sail is not catching the wind. You must also learn the basic position for standing on the board.

After you have your sail out of the water, you must learn to turn your board so it is pointing in the direction of the wind. You must also maneuver your sail so it is catching the wind. After you have your board and sail in position you'll learn how to maneuver yourself into the proper position for windsurfing. When windsurfing, keeping yourself steady will give you the most stability. In many sports you must shift your balance to maximize your stability, but this is not true in windsurfing. The less you move your feet while windsurfing, the more stable you will be.

These are only the very first maneuvers you will have to master while windsurfing. Finding a good instructor is the best way to learn these beginning moves. It would be very difficult to learn these maneuvers by simply reading about them or trying them alone. A certified instructor will be able to teach you the most efficient way to get started windsurfing.

Locations
Beginning windsurfers should avoid strong winds. The best places to learn windsurfing are on enclosed bodies of water. You need to be familiar with currents and tides if you go windsurfing in open waters. When first starting out you need to find a place with calm water and wind. You also don't want to be pushed too far from shore. Local windsurfers can point you towards good locations in your area.

Windsurfing is a sport that you can enjoy almost anywhere. You can windsurf in the warm waters of Florida or Hawaii or enjoy the cool waters of the Columbia River. Expert windsurfers can experience the amazing waves in Maui. These gigantic waves can be exciting for both surfers and windsurfers. A great windsurfing location on the continent is Hood River, Oregon. Windsurfers from all around the world travel to sail on the Columbia River at Hood River. The 2009 US Windsurfing National Championship was held there.
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