As newbie windsurfers we’ve all had our fair share of faux pars when it comes to mishaps, either on land or on the water. Even us long in the tooth sailors can have some of the following occur still to this day – if we’re not paying attention. Here’s a tongue in cheek look at some of the many windsurfing fails that’ll be familiar to a good number of us.
Forgetting your harness
Due to either rushing around and trying to get out of the house, or simply being too focused on getting to the beach, the infamous ‘forgetting your harness’ fail is just devastating. Usually accompanied by many expletives having arrived at your sailing spot, rigged up, only to find this one key piece of equipment missing the rage sets in with much banging of fists in the sand. Best outcome is someone has a spare they can lend you, otherwise spaghetti arms it is!
Leaving your board at home
Next to forgetting your harness is omitting to pack the very thing you stand on top of! OK, not quite as common as leaving windsurfing accessories at home, leaving without you board can also happen. As above you’ll arrive to a banging forecast only to realise your mistake. Cue much swearing and stomping about like a rabid animal.
Tying your downhaul in knots
The more seasoned a windsurfer you are the less stuff like this happens (maybe). However, rushing to rig up and not paying attention can sometimes still lead to annoying things occurring. Knotting your downhaul is one such thing and while not a session killer it’s still no less frustrating. And actually while we’re talking about downhaul…Threading it incorrectly and having the pulley twist, causing more friction, and not able to be downhaul fully is another one to watch.
Going out on too small a board
This is very much one for lesser skilled windsurfers. In an attempt to push your experience on grabbing a perceived more performance orientated board – read small – can lead to all kinds of situations once afloat. These days there’s simply no need to go uber tiny with your stick – even when searching for more manoeuvrability. Higher volume boards (especially multi fins) can deliver desired results without taking dimensions to their extreme. Progressing windsurfers take note: incremental steps down rather than big leaps.
Getting it wrong with the tide
Not necessarily an issue at wide open expanses of beach but if you sail in an estuary, for instance, which dries out at low tide, you’ll want to take note of what tidal states your spot works in. Also for the wave heads among us it’s the difference between arriving to dry rock and a perfect peeling wave.
Gybing too close to the beach
We’ve all been there. Aiming for rock star status; wanting to show off in front of mates. ‘Hey! Check me out and my cool lay down gybe…’ Then bang, smack straight into hard packed sand (or rock) and the disappearing of fin(s) into the ether. Sometimes keeping your distance is the best course of action…
Wetsuit on backwards
You see this often and to be honest why would a newbie know any different? After all, when getting dressed in standard clothes we know (generally) zips go at the front. So why any different with a wetsuit? It’s also embarrassing for the wearer to be told; you can see the look on their face. But fear not as once it happens it doesn’t again…usually.
Fins in the wrong way round
Fins are another ‘item’ that can be affixed the wrong way round. Not necessarily as common as wetsuits on backwards but we’ve still seen it a few times. And why not? When you’re learning something new you do what instinct tells, until someone points out the correct way of doing things.
Not lashing kit to car roof properly
This is a good (bad) one and can happen to the best of us. Not every windsurfer drives a van so roof bars and straps must suffice. Even when lashed to the roof tightly windsurfing gear can go walkies. In the worst cases completely disappear off the roof and bounce into the distance, watched through your rear view. It’s no joke in some instances. Windsurfing boards careering along busy roads is hazardous to everyone around. Therefore it’s always worth double checking your kit’s lashed down tightly.
Not replacing outhaul/downhaul regularly
Seemingly small bits of your windsurfing arsenal; downhaul, outhaul and inhaul rope is the very thing that keep your boom, and therefore you, in contact with your power source: the rig. Making sure it’s in good working is definitely good practice.
Getting drunk the night before a good forecast
It’s been a while since the last bout of wind and you’ve been climbing the walls. Suddenly a decent chart pops up and it’s all systems go: you just know conditions will be classic. But steady there…whoah! The last thing you want to be is hanging and in a state from the night before. We get the anxiety may have lifted; the stress released. But seriously, save the celebratory suds until after your session.
Forgetting to wear sunscreen
Even in cold winter windsurfing scenarios the sun can shine and UV exact its toll on pink skin. If it’s hot and bright then even more the case to be wearing sunscreen. Just remember to apply BEFORE you head out sailing. A walking lobster isn’t a good look!
There are plenty more of these. What are your faves?