Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wind Surfing!

Windsurfing is a surface water sport involving a windsurf board, also commonly called a sailboard, usually two to five meters long and powered by a single sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating flexible joint. The sport could be considered a hybrid between sailing and surfing. The sailboard might be considered the most minimalistic version of the modern sailboat, with the major exception that steering is accomplished by the rider tilting and rotating the mast and sail or, when planing, carving the board, rather than with a rudder.

Windsurfers can travel over flat, calm water as long as there is enough wind; they can also cut into breaking waves and perform spectacular stunts. Windsurfing also includes speed sailing, slalom, course racing and freestyle disciplines.

In windsurfing competitions, there are the following disciplines:

  • Olympic Windsurfing Class
  • Formula Windsurfing ClassSlalom
  • Super X
  • Speed Racing
  • Freestyle
  • Wave

Olympic class

In Olympic Windsurfing 'One Design' boards are used. All sailors use the same long boards with daggerboards and the same relatively small sails. This choice of equipment is motivated by the requirement that the board could be used in a wide range of sailing conditions, both planing and non-planing. This is especially important for its use in the Olympic Games, as the event has to take place regardless of whether there is enough wind for planing.

Formula class

Formula windsurfing has developed over the last 15 years in order to facilitate high performance competition in light and moderate winds. Formula is now a class of windsurfing boards controlled by the International Sailing Federation that have the principal characteristic of a maximum 1m width . They have a single fin, with a maximum length of 70cm and carry
sails up to 12.5 m2. Class rules allow sailors to choose boards of different designs, as long as they are certified as Formula boards, and use fins and sails of different sizes.


Slalom is a high speed race in a course shaped like a figure of eight. Most of the course goes on a beam reach with floating marks that have to be jibed around. Slalom boards are small and narrow, and require high winds. Funboard class racing rules require the wind of 9-35 knots for the slalom event to take place.

Super X

This is a new discipline in windsurfing competitions, a cross between freestyle and slalom. The competing sailors are racing on a short downwind slalom course, have to use duck jibes on all turns, and are required to perform several tricks along the way, such as jump over an obstacle, body drag or even front loop. The competitors are required to wear protective equipment.

Speed sailing

Speed sailing competitions take place on a straight 500m course. The sailors have additional 300m to accelerate before their time is measured on the speed course. Competitors complete timed runs on the course with the winner being the sailor with the quickest time. The current record is held by Finnian Maynard at 48.7 Knots.


Freestyle is a timed event which is judged. The competitor who has the greatest repertoire, or manages to complete most stunts, wins. Freestyle is about show and competitors are judged on their creativity. Both the difficulty and the number of tricks make up the final score. Sailors who perform tricks on both tacks (port and starboard) score higher marks. High scoring moves include; Double Forward Loops, the Funnell (invented by freestyle champion Ricardo Campello in memory of Andy Funnell), the Chachoo and the Clew First Puneta (switch stance Spock).


Similar to freestyle (though wavesailing preceded freestyle) except that the stunts are generally performed in surf and points are awarded for how well the waves are ridden. A typical wave contest will score two jumps and two waves. A good heat would consist of a clean forward rotating jump, a backward rotating jump, a long slashy wave ride and a trick on the face of the waves such as a goiter or wave 360.


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