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Wind Surfing Tips
by Julian H. Stacey

Sometimes I do an annual "Wind Surfing for Beginners" day for Beer Gardeners, so I converted an email to some notes they & others can read.

Try to learn on a calm lake/reservoir if you can, rather than open sea with waves.

Hire a real old big plank of a board, nothing flashy. All modern boards look good, but are unstable compared to some old ugly barge of a board, but rental shops can't rent old boards at least here, as Germans always want flash new gear. Everyone falls off countless times while learning, so get a big stable board. You really will have more fun on an old wide stable board - that you fall of less - than some flash board you'r totaly incompetent to even stand on, without falling off countless times. - Yes this par was repetitious. - That's what you'll be doing too: repeatedly falling off your flash narrow board , getting tired, having less fun than you could ! Point made ?

After learning not to fall off too often, everyone learns to sail - downwind - but not back up wind - imagine what an off shore breeze does to you at that stage ! Good Bye - Forever, if open sea & not a lake - Death ! Make very sure you have an on shore breeze. Make sure someone on land has a power boat to tow you back to land, & that the person will be monitoring you, & will take action without needing further incentive from anyone else.

Avoid sailing near national borders/ restricted military zones: Off North West Greece, if you drifted NOrth, at the next country up ( Albania ? ) apparently sometimes they machine gunned you ! Seriously ! That was before fall of iron curtain.

Avoid ferry routes: the swine that steer the ferry near Frauen Insel on Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany are particularly to be avoided, one bastard there asserted his supposed Germanic law of ferry ultimate priority over us, even when we were a defenceless small sail boat with no wind to move aside, he came charging at us from afar, & completely un-necessarily steered within meters of us - scaring the hell out of us, any slight mistake on his part & we'd have been dead. [ Personal experience ]

On open sea, maybe (speculation) sharks might consider a non moving wallowing wind surfer + you (after youv'e fallen off ) - as large dead fish floating on the surface, ready to be biten ? I've seen pic's of boards with shark size bit marks. Perhaps you'r OK while moving fast, till you crash. Consult local surfers if any. I wouldn't know.

In cold lakes EG Attersee, Austria, or Walchensee Bavaria Germany, when you fall in too often, & struggle out each time, you get colder & colder & hypothermia or similar sets in, & you dont have strength to pull sail up, & or cold water & no gloves & nylon shroud (to pull mast up) cuts into flesh of hands. So always best to wear gloves. Get out early when getting tired, dont leave it too long, as when you get tired you fall off more often, & a vicious circle cuts in. [ Personal experience self on Attersee, + helping friend on Walchensee]

Later, when you graduate to wearing a trapeze (reinforced over-swimming-trunks, with steel hook to latch to rope on boom) never let go of boom till you've complete your crash & laying on top of sail, else boom may punch your teeth out (as you cant fall away from it, as still hooked to it)

When you get a sudden gust, lose control & fly off front end of board, close mouth while Shouting Oh Sh.... or similar, _before_ wide mouth scoops water at high speed & you get 2 lungs full of cold water. (I haven't typed the full phrase above, not from dubious politeness, but because it actually happens so fast I've never completed the phrase) Fresh water is bad enough, probably salt water is worse.

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