UKC

Paddle boarding - anyone tried it

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 subtle 08 Jun 2021

Paddle boarding seems to be the thing this year, lots of makes out there on the market - but anyone got any advice for a newbie?

Have tried one abroad a few times, fancy getting one for the local beaches round here and possibly some lochs - nothing fancy but still one that isnt a dud and actually works!

Red Paddle boards seems to be £1,000+, there are loads of makes around the £600 and then the ones around £300 market - just pick one from the middle bracket and should be ok?

Anyone got any advice - preferably relating to paddle boards?

 r.king 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I teach paddleboarding lessons and trips. We use Red boards but plenty of others will work just as well if you just want to paddle short distances on flat water. If you are into longer distances and trips then look for a more specific touring board, hard boards are the way to go for this if you have a rack.

If I were on a budget I'd for for the itiwit/decathlon range. You'll want to get something suitable for your weight or slightly larger if you want to take kit/kids on the front. 

 james wardle 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I recommend https://mcconks.com/. very reasonably priced and top quality.

I've got 10 of them for teaching and I've had one puncture in 5 years! 

Andy was previously a surfboard shaper so they are really well designed.   My favourite is the 12.8.  don't go for a 10 ft board from anyone unless it's just for playing about.

a great little UK company.

In reply to subtle:

There's almost certainly good bargains to be had on secondhand boards bought by people who thought it looked cool last year and discovered it wasn't for them, same as sit-on-top kayaks.

 Ciro 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

My brother did a lot of research, and came to the conclusion that the best value for money all-round inflatable board is the Bluefin Cruise.

https://bluefinsupboards.com/paddle-board/

I was up visiting with my partner, and we gave it a go. She declared it was as good as the Red board with carbon inserts that someone in her extended family owns, and better than a similarly expensive board of another brand they have, so we bought two.

I've not experienced anything else to compare it with, but I'm really enjoying it - tracks really well in the flat water and feels super solid as I'm starting to catch some waves.  She's still convinced they're as good as the Red, at half the price.

 Roadrunner6 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I got an inflatable one which is great, you can get around a lake fine, they obviously lack the stability of a rigid one but I mess around with my daughter on various lakes locally and it's good fun. They really don't take long to inflate with a manual pump. 3-4 minutes. I often throw it in my car and we go after school for a half hour paddle around the local lake. because it's inflatable she can jump off and flip it around and not hurt herself.

 Roadrunner6 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> There's almost certainly good bargains to be had on secondhand boards bought by people who thought it looked cool last year and discovered it wasn't for them, same as sit-on-top kayaks.

I don't see many. Like Rocking horse shit and hold their value. 

Kayaks are impossible to get and you may as well buy new sometimes, especially at the moment because so many people were WFH and had spare time.

 Wainers44 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

Kids bought me a JOBE inflatable SUP and have to say, really impressed with it. I have used it now in Ullswater, off Morar, down in sunny Devon and on the local canal. Its easy to prep, stable and the build quality seems very sturdy. Even the dog likes standing on it, as long as I have a tennis ball with me.

Highly recommended them.

 gravy 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

Paddle boarding belongs to the category of things, "less fun than it looks". 

If you never paddle boarded in your life you've missed nothing. 

If you've tried it then you should have the sense to realise there is a world of stuff out there that is more fun (eg walking, sitting, swimming, riding your bike, kayaking, surfing, picking your nose etc etc).

 Enty 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

Brilliant. Beat me to it. Bored me to death

E

 Wainers44 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

> Paddle boarding belongs to the category of things, "less fun than it looks". 

> If you never paddle boarded in your life you've missed nothing. 

> If you've tried it then you should have the sense to realise there is a world of stuff out there that is more fun (eg walking, sitting, swimming, riding your bike, kayaking, surfing, picking your nose etc etc).

I know what you mean,  but its about the "where".

Ullswater around the islands etc,  lovely.  Catching ankle snappers on a day too flat to surf at Sennen, very nice. Edging the board under the waterfall at Morar then shooting down with the current, not boring.

Paddling along the local canal, even with the entertainment of the dog leaping off the board every 2 mind....hmmm...dull after about 20 mins!

 Roadrunner6 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Wainers44:

Exactly, an easy afternoon saunter down a nice bit of lake side, watching frogs, turtles and various fish is cool. I've had some brilliant times paddle boarding. I used to work as a camp guide and I'd take out 10 students for a paddle in various NH lakes, we'd leave the SUP's floating and have a swim out in the middle of the lake then paddle back. It's just a fun way to get around and gives you a great view point.

 Sealwife 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

I suppose it depends on your experience of watersports and what level of excitement you are after.

A few of my friends got boards last summer and were very excited about the whole thing.  I showed up with my kayak to join them for an easy afternoon paddling around a sheltered bay.  Had a go on a board, found it was akin to standing on my dining room table and about as interesting.  Very slow and not particularly manoeuvreable, at least in comparison to my sea-kayak and I was not remotely tempted to get one.  Nobody wanted to try my boat!

However, they just have to dump the deflated board in the car boot and off they go, carry to location and pump up.  I have to faff about with roof bars, get a hand lifting my boat onto and off the roof because I’m too much of a short-arse to do it myself etc to the extent it’s not really worth the hassle to do a short paddle, so they go out far more often than I do.

So it seems that plenty of people enjoy getting out on the water and having a social time on boards and I’m not going to rain on their parade, even if I personally find it fairly unrewarding.

 Franco Cookson 08 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I'm a total beginner, but had a go on three different boards from three different pals last week, so may be of some help (?) . The most expensive was the bluefin one (I think about 500?), the middle one was the aqua planet (just over 300), and the cheapest one was about 200. 

The cheapo one was a good laugh in the shallows, but even tiny waves made it really difficult to stand up and just felt pretty sketchy going round to the next bay. The other two were fatter and way more buoyant. Pretty easy to stand up on and nice to paddle as a kayak. I couldn't tell much of a difference between the aquaplanet and bluefin one. I'm sure there are some that you might notice if you were any good - the thing I noticed the most was that the paddle was nicer to use. 

If, like me, you just want something to drift about for 30 mins and get out on the water with little hassle,  I'd go with one of those in the 300-600 range. 600 quid seems like a fair wack of money to me, but going sub 300 seems to be pretty unpleasant for being a beginner. 

 Toby_W 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Enty: Also agree, got two and the experience was just as expected, lovely but the kayaks, swimming etc are more fun.

Glad we got them but more kayaks rather than sups will be bought😀

One big benefit is they are light and easy to carry so can get to some beaches you could not get a kayak to so you can get round to your own private beach😀

Cheers

Toby

 artif 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

> Paddle boarding belongs to the category of things, "less fun than it looks". 

> If you never paddle boarded in your life you've missed nothing. 

> If you've tried it then you should have the sense to realise there is a world of stuff out there that is more fun (eg walking, sitting, swimming, riding your bike, kayaking, surfing, picking your nose etc etc).

Depends, like most things.

Flat water paddling loses its appeal very quickly, on a par with road cycling, but downwinding, catching the ocean swells, is a total blast. Fishing from a SUP can also be fun and cheaper than a boat. 

 mondite 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

> If you've tried it then you should have the sense to realise there is a world of stuff out there that is more fun (eg walking, sitting, swimming, riding your bike, kayaking, surfing, picking your nose etc etc).

horses for courses surely? I cant say it overly appeals to me but can think of several rivers where a higher view would be better than what you see when kayaking.

That said I give the local kayak club a miss since its a choice between paddling on those rivers/canals or popping down to the lee valley centre.

In reply to subtle:

I was lucky enough to get the £200 Mistal lidl one.

I've done a bit of playing on the flat, and gone down the whitewater course at Matlock.

Its fun - in a messing about type way. I'm looking forward to using it to camp on islands.

Even the smaller ones will easily take 2/3 adults for a short journey.

Obviously, kayaks and canoes are better transport. But for cost, convenience and portability, they have a place. 

In reply to subtle:

I got the Aqua Planet board for £320, can't really see mesen needing owt better than that.

Been using mine to paddle out and read in the middle of a lake and sunbathe on though so nothing too extreme!

I guess it could be boring to some but it's been a great way of keeping social on these hot days, paddling out with a bunch of mates and having decent conversations for a couple of hours is grand.

I think some of the more expensive ones have carbon paddles which increases the price a bit.

Post edited at 10:42
 LastBoyScout 09 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

Have only done it a couple of times.

Tried it when we visited a mate who lives on the coast and has a Quroc one, which he rates compared to the other cheap thing he's got.

We enjoyed it for a morning and the kids liked it, so toyed with the idea of getting one for us and ended up with a couple of the Mistral ones that Lidl were selling recently. Bought mainly for mucking about with the kids, rather than any intent to use too seriously. As yet, not had a chance to try them out (weather and time), but they seemed to get decent press and Mistral is a respected brand. One thing I liked about them is they have a dual air chamber, so potentially pretty safe if you get a puncture, but not sure how "draggy" the extra seam on the bottom will be. Bought a sit-on-top kayak last year and may or may not sell that later this summer, depending on how we get on with the boards.

My cousin has an Aqua Planet Pace - he did a lot of research and that was consistently in the top 10 of various reviews. He's pretty pleased with it and was the one I was looking at getting - was waiting for them to come back into stock when the Mistral one came up:

https://www.aquaplanetsports.com/shop/aquaplanet-pace-sup-package-stand-up-inflatable-paddle-board-kit-106-long-2021/

One of my other cousins has one of the other Aqua Planet boards, but I don't know which one.

I did actually buy a Clever AirPro in Go Outdoors clearance section, but returned it as you can't actually get the kayak seat for it, but otherwise looked ok in the scheme of things - certainly at the clearance price.

 Dave B 09 Jun 2021
 LastBoyScout 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Dave B:

I would add that joining the BCU/Canoe Scotland/NI/Wales, if you haven't already, gets you 3rd party insurance and a waterways licence - all links on page below:

https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/membership

 Holdtickler 09 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

Yeah, I've yet to try it but have pondered on what the point of them is really as they seem like a massive compromise compared the the existing water crafts in most situations I can imagine. 

So for standing up on a board, surely surfing, wind surfing, kite boarding is way more fun. The body position of the paddling just looks really awkward and I can imagine would be tiring on any journey of length compared to kayaks and canoes. They look slower and less manoeuvrable than the other craft and lack the storage for any kind of expedition. Do they have some kind of social lure that using these other craft lack? If its about portability, do they have anything over an inflatable kayak? 

It this just another odd trend like power stilts, and snakeboards? Is it here to stay do you think? Or is it a bit like rock climbing in a sleeping bag and branding it a new sport? Sell me the idea  

Post edited at 13:03
 Roadrunner6 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Holdtickler:

I doubt anyone/many would try long journeys with them. A mile or two is plenty.

I doubt they'll go away as its fun and easy. kayaking does scare people, the idea of being trapped in as they flip, draining them if they capsize etc. The versatility of the SUP's is a huge plus, dive off them, lie on them, kneel, sit, yoga, sunbathe etc.

Plus inflatable kayak's take more air as I understand, the ones i've used have anyway. My SUP inflates in just a few minutes.

And there's no real technique to head out with kids and play on a lake. Windsurfers and surfing need wind and waves. Kite boarding is way more complex too.

I head out with my 5 year old and she's perfectly happy on her own with an SUP.

 a crap climber 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Holdtickler:

> Do they have some kind of social lure that using these other craft lack?

Easier to take a selfie on them and it looks good on insta...

 LastBoyScout 09 Jun 2021
In reply to r.king:

> If I were on a budget I'd for for the itiwit/decathlon range. You'll want to get something suitable for your weight or slightly larger if you want to take kit/kids on the front. 

Note that the Decathlon prices are deceptive - the price is only for the board and you have to buy the pump and paddle separately.

 Brown 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Holdtickler:

I got inspired by paddle boards after listening to the dirtbag diaries podcast on Kark Kruger completing the 750 mile Race to Alaska.

https://www.patagonia.com/stories/the-dirtbag-diaries-over-the-line/story-33343.html

“It’s like the Iditarod with a chance of drowning,” says Jake Beatty, one of the organizers of a bizarre, crazy race called the Race to Alaska. The course traces 750 miles of Alaska’s Inside Passage through complicated currents and tides, busy shipping channels and bear-ridden coastlines from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska. In June. The most unpredictable month of the year for weather. There are two rules: no support and no motors. First place wins $10,000. Second place gets a set of decent steak knives.

It took him two goes to finish but on the second year he finished in the middle of the pack in 14 days, 6 hours, and 17 minutes.

Epic

Post edited at 15:41
 drdjpower 09 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I'm no expert, but they are easy and fun. We bought a £300 SportPursuit one (Z-Ray) last year and it was great for messing around on lakes, jumping in off, staying warm on. Good enough for a 4-5 mile paddle out to a remote camping spot using dry-bags. This year we added a £200 SportPursuit one (Coolsurf) so that we could have parent+child adventures. It's lighter, flimsier, but strangely it feels more stable and easier to paddle.

I'd say it's worth a go if you are tempted. Lovely perspective from which to watch a big flat river, and much more wildlife to be seen.

 artif 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I doubt anyone/many would try long journeys with them.

Some do, my regular jaunt is 8 miles

I also kitesurf, skateboard and MTB dependent on weather conditions

https://thelongpaddle.co.uk/

youtube.com/watch?v=G7j12q0YkPg&

 Ciro 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Holdtickler:

It's quite a versatile toy - you're right that they are a compromise over other craft in a lot of situations, but they can do a lot. 

You have a big advantage over prone surfers in regard to catching waves (the paddle).... which at my level means the difference between falling off every wave, and staying up to ride a fair few of them.

You can get out on the water from flat to big waves, and everything in between.

The only thing they're not great for is a windy day, but I believe you can get around that limitation with a wing 😁

 didntcomelast 09 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle: I’ve had a packraft for a few years now and whilst tempted by a SUP I’ve not seen anything about them which would sway me from the practicality of my packraft.  I can go more places, carry more stuff, my boats lighter and packs much smaller than a SUP and it’s about the same speed. Sadly I fail to be convinced by what another poster has said is paddling on a dining room table  

 Qwerty2019 09 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

We got a Aqua planet Pace last year for me and my daughter.  Whats not to like?  Messing about on ullswater, either the two of us or with our dog.  Playing on the islands etc.

After an evening Bowderstone session we took to stopping on the lake shore in the summer when most had gone home.  Campfire sausage butties and a swim.  Now i can just pop the SUP out of the boot and off we go.

Not everything is about excitement and being good at something.  Its fun just to paddle and chill out.

 Roadrunner6 09 Jun 2021
In reply to didntcomelast:

how much was the pack raft? Arent they expensive

In reply to subtle:

I've just 'upgraded' from a sevlor inflatable canoe to a mckonks sup.  The sup is tonnes more manuverable and quicker and more comfy than the canoe and I'm looking forward to trying it on some gentle surf.

I love inflatables as there very transportable and packable for instance I've lugged the canoe down to the beach before barrel zawn for DWS support and regular get it on a council scheme eletric scooter to get me to upper reaches of the trent in Nottingham,  you couldn't do that with a proper boat, nor could you fit it in the car with two bikes and a shed load of climbing gear for a road trip. Obviously there not as good as an actual kayak or whatever but I have neither the space in my car or house for such toys. 

 The only weird thing with the SUP is some people seem to take it very seriously!

Now can anyone give me some advice on how to paddle in a bloody straight line!

 dovebiker 09 Jun 2021

I've had one of the Decathlon Itwit 12'6" touring boards for a couple of years. I managed to get a test paddle of pretty well all of the Red Paddle range - I couldn't justify the price premium as I couldn't really tell the difference. A longer board tracks and glides far better than the shorter, fatter boards most people have - makes it a lot nicer place to be. I used to live by the Basingstoke Canal and would sometimes go 10 miles to the end and back. I'm up in Scotland now, shortly moving to Tobermory and for open, choppier water and sea use would seriously consider a solid board - but I've got to get a sea kayak first!  Whilst the paddle stroke is easy to pick up, worth getting some tuition from an experienced paddler to show you the strokes and techniques. e.g. a J-stroke, means you can paddle in a straight line without having to swap the paddle around, which is less tiring and can help into a headwind.

 ring ouzel 09 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I tried it a few years ago and really liked it. As I live on the coast I bought a second hand O'Shea touring board from an outdoors centre. Great fun. My daughter and I go out and do some snorkelling from the board outside our house. I've noticed that this year there are a lot more boards around than ever before.

 didntcomelast 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Roadrunner6:

Mine was a used raft from Germany. Cost me £700 with paddle.  Yes there are some £1000+ rafts on the market but as the sport is becoming more well known, some manufacturers are out their with far more affordable craft.  

I can honestly say that I’ve had my money’s worth though, used the raft whilst walking in northern Scotland to link water ways, I’ve bike rafted with both a mountain bike and my Brompton folder, done a little white water stuff and have a Thames journey on the horizon when time and Covid allow. 

Best bit is the pack size, whilst it’s not as fast as a hard kayak it weighs 4kg all in and packs into a 35l rucksack, with paddles and pfd. 

 Roadrunner6 09 Jun 2021
In reply to didntcomelast: I’m not doubting it’s great but my SUP was £200-250 brand new.

itll get smashed around, jumped off, dragged up and down beaches, left in the sun for days at a time, stored in sun optimal conditions etc. 

for what we get out of it and it’s versatility it’s an absolute bargain. 

 65 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I doubt anyone/many would try long journeys with them. A mile or two is plenty.

People tour on them. There are youtube vids of someone paddling the Danube and also some camping/paddling tourers in Norway. I remain to be convinced. It looks to me like it would rapidly turn into one of those things where you wonder how the money might have been better spent. I'd rather have an open canoe. More versatile, more carrying potential and if you get bored on open flat water at least you can lie down and have a kip.

In reply to subtle:

My grumpy input.

For us rowers the rise in the popularity paddle boarding has been a complete pain in the arse as more often or not boarders have not familiarised themselves with local river regs or navigation patterns that all other river users must follow. My club's coaches in their launches have had to make numerous rescues as some idiots have clearly conducted zero risk assessment and attempted to go out in fast streams, shit weather or in the dark with no lights or life jacket 

My boat this evening (an eight) clipped an SUP as they were passing through an arch of a bridge in the wrong direction and on the wrong side of the river. Thankfully no injuries as we managed to effect an emergency stop. When the coach politely advised them of where they should be on the river he was met with a "f*ck off". 

If you are thinking of heading out on the water on a paddle board for the first time please familiarise yourself with the local river regs or sign up with a pro instructor for the first few sessions.

 didntcomelast 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Roadrunner6:

My daughter is a keen SUP rider, she prefers it to my packraft though she does accept it has less versatility. I sadly don’t see it in the same way, perhaps it’s because I’ve a lack of balance and cannot stay upright long enough to enjoy the ride. 

 Xharlie 10 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

I've been thinking about getting one, too, but I'd be looking to get an affordable, rigid hulled one with a track for a windsurf mast-foot so I can use it for SUPping when there's no wind (which is most of the time, here) and sometimes stick a small sail on it to teach friends how to wind-surf in light zephyrs -- windsurfing, of course, being my primary aquatic folly of choice.

Car-topping is, of course, no problem at all and I'm damn sure I can strap something to roof-racks in a fraction of the time it takes to pump anything up. Also, utilizing a pump seems to be the single WORST movement for my buggered left elbow, being about twice as aggravating as a hefty gaston, which is the next most painful on the ranking.

Naturally, efficiency in SUP mode is important but, as far as sailed mode is concerned, just not losing height versus the wind direction is good enough -- it will just be to teach the concepts, I've got other, proper windsurf boards for when people can handle a sail and tack.

Does anyone have any recommendations for an affodable, rigid SUP with a mast track?

I really want such a thing because, in my experience, windsurf schools are a VERY mixed bag. There are some decent ones but most make me wonder why windsurfing survives at all, given the introduction and first-impressions that their customers receive. And a lot of them seem defensive and desperate to protect their market share -- I hold a VDWS license, a bit of beureacracy that I suffered through specifically so I could rent a beginner board, on occasion, for the express purposes of introducing friends to the sport but, on more than one occasion, schools that will happily rent beginner gear to absolute, ground-zero beginners have refused to rent it to me, claiming that I'm clearly NOT a beginner and coming up with bullshit excuses about others confusing me with their staff or thinking that I'm a pro or an instructor or misguidedly approaching me for help or advice or some such.

Bastards! I may be no pro but hell if I can't get people from first sail-haul to first-time-on-the-plain, which is all you need to do to promote windsurfing, really.

(Appropos "help" and "advice", I am OFTEN approached on the rigging lawn by windsurfers with decades of experience for advice on sail trimming -- people who'll fly past me when fully powered up and glide round me with ease, in a gybe. I cannot work out why this is, except for postulating that my history as a dinghy sailor and the fact that I actually DO pull on enough down-haul on my rigs must make me look like I have a modicum of knowledge about sails. It's honestly baffling.)

Post edited at 08:58
 Phil79 10 Jun 2021
In reply to gravy:

Like many things, I think its almost entirely dependent on quality of location.

An urban canal = probably rubbish.

A warm French beach with the kids sat on the nose, catching peeling waves in the sunshine = excellent.

etc. 

Post edited at 11:13
 artif 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

Is windsurfing still a thing. With the advent of kitesurfing, wings and foils why would anyone windsurf? 

I paddle a lot on a 12’6 touring board. I would recommend at least 11’ and a touring board (pointy nose) over an all round. 
 

they are very versatile and can be used for casual paddling on a hot day to long distance tours and white water.

they aren’t the most efficient craft and are sub optimal in strong winds and chop but it’s not all about speed. 
 

White water is very fun on a SUP, small rapids become very exciting and different. Long distance routes are very good too, I’ve paddled the Wye most of the Thames the Caledonian Way and have some other multi day trips planned. Portages are very easy, while the canoes often struggle, I can pick up my board and go. I find it far more comfortable paddle position than sitting in a boat all day, and it’s easy to get on and off quickly. Speed is similar to a canoe. 
 

Here’s an interesting trip on a compact sup: https://redpaddleco.com/en-gb/sup-life/travel-diaries-31-sup-to-summit/

Theres loads that can be done on a paddle board, there seem to be some very UKC replies on here being negative about anything that is different from the established view. Try something new and see what you can do.

In reply to gravy:

> Paddle boarding belongs to the category of things, "less fun than it looks". 

And it looks pretty boring!

In reply to artif:

> Is windsurfing still a thing. With the advent of kitesurfing, wings and foils why would anyone windsurf? 

Yeah, I want to know this. I did a few days windsurfing once, 20 years ago. 

It was ace, much more reward for effort put in than, say, surfing, paragliding, ...

Has windsurfing gone away?

In reply to Roadrunner6:

Klymit do a pack raft - about £200 when I bought it. 
 

weighs 1kg, inflates in about 5 min.

very different beast to a SUP, but not crazy expensive. Last week I ran up the Severn from Bewedley, put in after 6 miles and floated and paddled back down - lovely combo.

Im tempted by one with more capability now - a bit like your SUP the ability to use it is what makes packrafts great compared to trad paddle craft

 subtle 11 Jun 2021
In reply to subtle:

Thanks for the mostly constructive responses, some food for thought, cheers.

 artif 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Just Another Dave:

Kitesurfing.

I know numerous ex windsurfers. A pro windsurfer told me he sold all his windsurf kit a day after trying kitesurfing. 

 Xharlie 11 Jun 2021
In reply to artif:

> Is windsurfing still a thing. With the advent of kitesurfing, wings and foils why would anyone windsurf? 

For me, it's about the direct connection with the sail and the board. There's no latency induced by kite-lines -- the sail is literally a stiff wing in your hand that you're riding the wind with and today's carbon boards are so rigid and agile that you are literally feeling every shape on the water's surface, just like one feels the 3D shape of snow when skiing. I've sailed a lot of dinghies and spent a lot of time on the water on various craft, keel-boats too, and nothing comes close to the unconcious, intuitive and immediate feel of a windsurf sail in the hand.

I completely acknowledge that you have to go through one hell of an "on-boarding" process to get to a sufficiently advanced level even to taste these things, however. As far as approachable sports go, windsurfing ain't one of them. (And, even when you've "arrived", it still absolutely sucks some of the time -- we go beyond type-II fun.)

Also, you can race them with mere centimetres between competitors. There's something primal, there.

From old, one-design "Windsurfer"(TM)s to modern slalom material, speed and thrill was certainly favoured over up-wind ability and course-racing possibilities (outside of the old RS:X-type stuff) and so "real sailing" sort of faded away but you can put a hydro-foil on a windsurf board, now, and, then, it re-gains these aspects and gains a lot of light(er)-wind performance, too. Arguably, they become even LESS approachable but recent events on European inland waters have shown that there could be a proper, course-racing future for the windsurfer (on foils, at least) and that certainly appeals to old dinghy sailors, like myself, too.

I've pretty much no interest in kites. I love what kiters do on them -- top respect! -- and wish I could do that stuff on a windsurfer but there are things about kites that just don't appeal -- including the fact that a lot of European venues have relegated kites to restricted areas (Lake Garda, for example.) simply because, without designated areas, there end up being a LOT of kites in prime spots. Some of those, necessarily, spend some time as crashed kites and a crashed kite takes up a tonne of space on the water where as a crashed wing-surfer, dinghy, windsurfer, SUP, canoe or kayak simply does not.

I DO really want to try out winging, however. A lot of windsurfers have adopted winging as a secondary or additonal thrill and I can certainly see the potential to give the same latency-free, direct, concrete connection to the elements -- the wind and the water -- that a windsurfer gives, as well as the centimetre-close racing potential.

In summary, windsurfing is VERY MUCH still a thing. Certainly on the continent and particularly so, here in Germany!

And, I'd expect it to become more popular in the future, as hydo-foil equipment becomes more readily available, cheaper and more user-friendly. What is yet to be seen is whether people who begin their board-based water-sports career on wing-foils diffuse into kite-surfing or windsurfing domains because, sure as eggs are eggs, some of these people WILL start to try other things out.

Ultimately, I just wish everyone a good time on the water, be it on a wing-board, SUP, kite-board or anything.

 Roadrunner6 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Dr.S at work:

I'll look at that, there's an FKT I would like to try which strictly needs a river crossing and the original trip was with a pack raft.

In reply to Xharlie:

I was an obsessive windsurfer for 10 years. Like you mention I really liked the direct connection with the water surface sometimes blasting at 30mph over flat, smooth (and soft) surface, sometimes jumping into the air off a smooth ramp. Not very high in my case, but still above a soft, and hopefully warm, surface.

The frustration of the prolonged and very physical learning progress, but the satisfaction of seeing steady improvement with lots of milestones to tick off, the first sucessful tack, gybe, waterstart (a breakthrough), and finally after a few years, the joy of a planning carve gybe. 

It really was addictive, at least as much as climbing has been at other times in my life.

But the cost!!! I ended up with 4 boards, 4 masts, 6 sails, 3 booms, mostly bought 2nd hand. If I was to buy these new new now this set up would cost well over 10,000 pounds. I don't think the industry has done itself any favours by pushing the high end, ultra light/fast/expensive side above cheaper more versitle set ups.

And the conditions dependancy!! You have to be really keen, given the number of days you might dive a considerable distance to have a very frustrating and unenjoyable sail due to not enough, or too much wind, especially when you are starting and you only have one board and one sail.

Sorry that was all off topic, Xharlie triggerd something in me there.

Post edited at 10:12

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