Looking to try something new this summer? Pack up the RV and hit the beach! Windsurfing, also know as sailboarding, is an awesome result that happens when surfing and sailing collide. With our beautiful Great Lakes, thousands of inland lakes, and miles of rivers, Pure Michigan is a great place to learn the awesome sport of windsurfing!
What Is Windsurfing?
Windsurfing is an awesome blend of surfing and sailing, where typically a single rider uses the speed and direction of the wind to propel a surfboard-like vessel across the water using a sail. Windsurfers can use rivers, lakes, and, of course, the ocean for this extreme board sport, and can surf in any conditions from smooth waters to some pretty intense waves. Although it takes a little knowhow and skill, it’s not too terribly difficult for beginners to pick this sport up, and it is even so widely regarded that it’s recognized as a competitive sport.
History of Windsurfing
Riding the waves on a surfboard with a sail attached to it sounds like a totally modern invention, but this awesome sport has some deeply rooted significance. Polynesians have been windsurfing for hundreds of years as a means of transportation. Although their rigs and boards looked vastly different than the ones we see today, it’s still awesome to think of Polynesian ancestors zooming along the waves! It’s even the basis of Disney’s recent film Moana.
Aside from its ancient origins, windsurfing was modernized in the 1960s, and began to gain traction from there. Its spike in popularity led from it being an enjoyable leisure sport to a full blown competitive sport that thrill seekers still partake in today. Is it the sport for you?
Learning How To Windsurf
As previously mentioned, despite popular belief, it’s not radically difficult to learn how to windsurf! The key is getting the right information and good instruction. If you’re wondering if windsurfing is right for you, take into consideration that windsurfers should have a good sense of balance, and be able to learn basic sailing theory. From there, it just takes good instruction and practice. Beginners should learn on fairly calm waters on days when the wind is around five knots, with a small sail, and a wide, dense board with a large volume for stability.
Choosing a Board
Because there are so many activities stemming off windsurfing, there are several different types of boards to choose from for a variety of needs from leisurely gliding to competitive racing. As a beginner, you’ll want to choose a beginner board. These are wide and dense in volume to provide newbies with appreciated stability. Freeride boards are designed for cruising recreationally on calm, flat waters in a straight line. Unless you have partaken in other board sports before, you will probably want to seek out these two types of boards to start off with.
Windsurfing has become so popular that not only have countless clubs and societies cropped up for windsurfing enthusiasts, but it’s become a widely recognized competitive sport with competitions all over the world. It even features events in the Olympic Games!
There are plenty of different types of events in competitive windsurfing, from more traditional slalom races and formula events, to course racing, superX, and freestyle! Windsurfing at the Olympics consists of different races in varying wind conditions, making it a challenge even for professionals!
Where To Go Windsurfing In Michigan
As the Great Lakes State, Michigan features thousands of lakes that are perfect for windsurfing! Here are just a few of the countless incredible destinations for windsurfing. Be sure to explore and try out this sweet sport on other Michigan lakes as well.
Higgins Lake, with its calm waters, is a great spot for learning how to windsurf! It has been the host to various windsurfing events throughout the years, so you know it’s a good spot for this awesome sport!
Not only is a trip up north to beautiful Bellaire always a treat, but visiting gorgeous Torch Lake to try windsurfing is a must! Torch Lake Windsurfing offers great lessons for beginners, complete with an on-land simulator and instruction by a certified instructor! If you’re already an experienced windsurfer, they offer rentals too so you can hit the water!
You’ll see all kinds of board sports enthusiasts out on the water in Grand Haven, and the beautiful stretches of water on Lake Michigan, channels, and nearby inland lakes make this a great destination for windsurfers!
What do you think of windsurfing? This blend of surfing and sailing is even great for kids as young as five years old! Get out there and give it a shot! If you need an RV that can carry all your boards, sails, and other equipment, we have awesome toy haulers for sale in East Lansing right here at Gillette’s Interstate RV!
Leave us a comment with your favorite spots to go windsurfing, if you’re excited to give it a try, or even if you’re just excited to watch someone else try it out!