Windsurfing in the winter is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can get according to the RYA, here’s why you should be hitting the water even when the temperatures drop!
The satisfying buzz when you come off the water is hard to beat, not to mention the badge of honour you get from people who think you are insane to want to go anywhere near the water when the wind chill feels like the Arctic!
Amanda Van Santen, RYA Chief Windsurfing and Dinghy Instructor, is a dedicated winter windsurfer:
“The UK tends to get some good low pressure systems moving through during the winter months providing some excellent sailing conditions,” she explains.
“These can bring anything from flat water blasting to choppier, more challenging waters and some great swells being produced for wave sailing.
“I always feel winter provides more exhilarating sailing, with strong south-westerly winds, challenging conditions and often colder weather, which brings that nice tingle to your body as you warm up after a great sail!”
So, how can you make the most out of one of the best times of year to sail?
Amanda has a few tips….
1) Substance over style – it doesn’t matter what you look like, the right clothing is everything when you go windsurfing in the winter.
Firstly think about your wetsuit. You need a good winter wetsuit that fits well and is specifically designed for windsurfing and the UK climate. A wetsuit 5/3mm in thickness is sensible, and both double and single lined varieties are really good.
Wetsuits have come a long way in recent years. Thermal rash vests can also provide a good mid/base layer under a wetsuit. Keeping your core warm is critical.
Boots of at least 3mm are needed for winter windsurfing; your summer booties will not cut the mustard! Gloves can be used, but make sure you get a pair that is specific to windsurfing or they can give you cramp in your forearms.
When the weather gets really cold balaclavas provide great warmth for your head.
Know your limits – it is really important to remember the colder weather, and wearing of warmer thicker wetsuits, does tire you out more quickly. It can also restrict you slightly around the arms etc, which can impact on how tired you get too.
Don’t go out with a set length of time to sail in your mind; your body will tell you when it has had enough so listen to it.