5 Biggest windsurfing mistakes for speed

"Assumption is the mother of all mistakes", I heard this quote yesterday and this inspired me for this blogpost (and yes I did miss the only good day with wind). Assumptions can limit your achievements and if you are trying to windsurf as fast as possible I would recommend not to assume the following:

#1 The flatter the water, the higher the speed
You would think flatter water is faster... In theory at least. In the real world there is something else which shouldn't be forgotten. The sport we are doing is wind-surfing, wind = air + surfing = water. To go as fast as possible we do not only need flat water, we need flat water PLUS good wind. Our eyes can easily see the difference between flat water or choppy water, it is hard to see the difference between good wind and bad wind.

How to deal with turbulent water (chop):
Chop can be very consistent and if not, it is possible to recognize a monster-chop ahead of you. You can actually decide to avoid these chop deviations. If chop is consistent there is a way to fly over the chop, it is just a matter of the right fin, board and sail. Even if chop is 0,2m, 0,4m up till 1m. If the water is flat it is offcourse easier. BUT if the water is choppy it is easier to find a quick set-up.

How to deal with turbulent wind:
Bad winds: on-off winds, wind rotating in different directions, only wind in the top of the sail. The problem is bad winds are unpredictable, you actually cannot see the windspeed in the top of the sail before it hits the sail. Water cannot change in direction, water is visible at 2, 5, 10 and even 100 m ahead. If you are sailing in turbulent winds you are at the mercy of the wind.

What to do?
-If you are driven to get the best out of each windsurf session
-If you are focussed on being the fastest windsurfer you could be
-If you like to compare your speed with others and do a honest bit of racing
-If there is nothing worse for you than a day where everyone had a gust except you

figure 2
The key to success (if you recognize the conditions above) is simple, focus on relative speed* and know your numbers. If you are light you will be more sensitive to turbulent wind, if you are heavy you will be more sensitive to chop (or at least manoeuvres around chop at speed). Sometimes it is just better for you to go to another spot or place on the spot, and this is not for all windsurfers the same!
-If you are light it is interesting to trim to sail a bit more downwind with
 consistent winds and/or less crowded spot, (course 2, figure 2). You might be amazed what a slightly bigger slalomboard can do over chop compared to a speedboard.
-For heavier guys it is best to prevent locations where it is possible to sail free with consistent increasing windgusts, you'll have an advantage compared to others in hammergusts where the water is easy and you can fix your course (course 1, figure 2).

Let us know if you tried our theory and how it worked out for you. There are many ways to use this theory your benefit, you will grow and have more fun as a speedsurfer as long as you are able to build confidence and know your numbers.

*relative speed is the speed for a given location, for example 35kn is fast for a lake and slow for Sandy Point

Erik Loots

Erik is windsurfer for 10+ years. In his daily life he is professional in construction dewatering, advisor, troubleshooter. Erik likes adventures, explore and to challenge himself. During his life he is trying to get the best out of it and have respect for the earth, nature and future generations. The modern world is about sharing, in this blog Erik shares his experiences, selfreflection and lessons learned.


  1. Cool tips. But where is part two???

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  3. Really helpful article. Some people do some terrible mistakes when they ride on windsurfing. But your post is so much helpful for them whose are doing this mistakes. Thanks for sharing.