WAVE RIDING  Part 1 of 5

One of the best feelings on a windsurfer is learning to ride a wave. It takes lots of skill and practice to do it properly but once you have mastered it, there is nothing quite the same. Every wave is different and it is up to you to figure out how to make the most out of it. Here Pritchard Windsurfing takes you from start to finish on your first experiences out wave riding! Hang on.  

Picking Your Spot

The first thing you want to do is know your ability level. 

  • Are you just starting out? 

  • Have you been windsurfing long?

  • Are you an advanced wave sailor? 

  • Do you know about the ocean, or do you windsurf mostly in fresh water? 

This is a measure of your knowledge and ability to understand wind, water, and your limitations.

After deciding what you can and cannot handle, look for locations that fall within your ability range.  If you're not an experienced wave sailor, don't rush out to Ho'okipa on a big day.  Instead, start where the waves are smaller and easier to handle.  Then, as you learn about the conditions, go to the next level.  For example, a beginner wave sailor might start wave riding at Kanaha Beach Park.  After a few days, or more, he or she may start to feel comfortable in and around waves.  Then, they can decide that they want to try to windsurf at Sprecklesville Beach, where the launch is a bit harder, and the waves are a bit more unpredictable. 

After you find your ideal spot, you have to do a little homework.


Mental Awareness

Being aware means your homework has been done.   In theory, it means knowing your surroundings and learning about the conditions you are windsurfing at.  Some people are better at it than others.  If you have a local spot that you always windsurf at, you probably already know a great deal about the location.  If you are new to a spot, take a few moments to check it out. 

  • What is the launch like? 

  • What are the conditions like? 

  • Big waves? 

  • Strong current? 

  • What should I do if I break down?  

  • What is the reef like? 

  • Are there any dangers I should be aware of? 

These are all very important questions. The best thing is to find someone who is a local and ask questions.   Some are easy to answer, like what the launch is like.  Take a few moments to watch people who know what they're doing.  Where do they launch from?  Some of the questions could be harder.  Unless you are familiar with the ocean and the way waves and currents work, it is probably a good idea to ask a local about and dangers you may encounter. 

Hopefully the locals will be friendly enough to point out the reef, strong currents, things to avoid, stuff like that.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Even the local you ask was new to the spot at some point.  They will understand where you are coming from.

Now the fun begins!  Rigging... Tune in next time for more of Matt’s Wave Riding tips or visit www.pritchardwindsurfing.com to see what Team Pritchard is up to!