Windsurfing is a form of sailing, where a board is powered across the water by the wind.
Polynesians have been using boards with sails for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until the 1960s that windsurf board design really developed and it became the sport we know today. You can read a full history of the sport here.
Unlike surfing, windsurfing uses the wind to propel forward while surfing uses the force of waves.
This means you can practice the sport anywhere with a big body of water and wind, such as lakes, rivers, estuaries and, of course, the open ocean.
Windsurfing was once referred to as “surfing’s ginger haired cousin” by the sport’s legend Robby Naish. It grew hugely in popularity during the 1980s when it was estimated that one in every three household in Europe had a windsurf board.
While the sport does resemble surfing, it’s more closely aligned with sailing – windsurfers call themselves sailors and their rules are very similar to sailing racing rules.
There are several different disciplines depending on which aspect of the sport you enjoy – from big-wave to freestyle to slalom and course racing.