Windsurfing without wind

It was not planned, it just happened. Windsurfing in wind below 2kn, been there done that after today. There should have been 12 kn last weekend (northerly wind)... I thought lets do a Almere-Amsterdam crossing...

It wasn't a normal Sunday however, it was jinxed Sunday. In the morning I was confronted with the fact I am just a village-man in the city. Innocent, I parked my car twice on the sidewalk (once in front of a bakery to get some bread and the second time to load my raceboard on the roof). However the city parking officers weren't amused, and gave me a ticket, a good reminder that this behaviour is absolutely not allowed in the city of Amsterdam.

After eating breakfast and loading the surfstuff I drove to Almere for a session. On the raceboard I could go out pretty OK. I thought, well this should be fun once the wind will turn on (at that moment it was 3-5kn). However the wind decreased after 40 minutes and I followed the weather pattern in the sky and looked upwind to other sailors. I didn't see anyone have better wind, I thought maybe there is some kind of front which has to move and will bring good wind...


At Muiden I actually didn't move anymore (visual at least). My speed was below 2 km/h. A new personal best I guess ;). I sat down on my board, still very positive laying in the sun (I thought this should be fun once the wind turns on). 10 minutes observating around me I started to doubt the windprediction, another 5 minutes later I thought I better get back (because 5 km swimming takes a long time)..

Guess what is the fastest way to move (almost) without wind on a raceboard?
  1. paddling, putting the masttrack in the middle and start paddling with two hands;
  2. normal windsurfing, holding the sail upright;
  3. pumping, rotating the sail in a forward motion.
Number 3 was the quickest, however it required a different pumping technique compared to slalomstuff and >12kn wind. Pretty fun, in the end I even got the speed above 4 km/h ;). Number 2 was OK for 1-2km/h. And number one was good for 1-1.5km/h and cold hands....

The thing learned was: with pumping you can go double or triple the windspeed on a raceboard (on a crosswind course). A worst-case scenario (middle IJsselmeer) where you have to surf 10 km in 2 kn wind would take 2.5 hours. A long time, but not impossible or dangerous.

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.

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