Wind surfing Information

Windsurfing is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a windsurf board usually two to four meters long, powered by the effect of the wind on a sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and comprises a mast, wishbone boom and sail. The sail area ranges from less than 3.0m2 to more than 12m2 depending on the conditions, the skill of the sailor and the type of windsurfing being undertaken.

At one time referred to as "surfing's ginger haired cousin" by the sport's legendary champion, Robby Naish, windsurfing has long struggled to present a coherent image of the sport to outsiders. Indeed, until the 1990s participants would regularly use different names to describe the sport, including sailboarding and board sailing. Despite the term "Windsurfing" becoming the accepted name for the sport, participants are still called "sailors" and not "surfers".

In fact windsurfing can be said to straddle both the laid-back culture of surf sports and the more rules-based environment of sailing. Although it might be considered a minimalistic version of a sailboat, a windsurfer offers experiences that are outside the scope of any other sailing craft design. Windsurfers can perform jumps, inverted loops, spinning maneuvers, and other "freestyle" moves that cannot be matched by any sailboat. When compared to surfing, Windsurfers were the first to ride the world's largest waves, such as Jaws on the island of Maui, and, with very few exceptions, it was not until the advent of tow-in surfing that waves of that size became accessible to traditional surfers. Extreme waves aside, many expert windsurfers will ride the same waves as surfers do and are themselves usually very accomplished without a rig on a conventional surfboard.

Wikipedia, Wind surfing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_surfing (as of Apr 8, 2010)

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