How to Choose a Windsurfing Sail Size
How to Choose a Windsurfing Sail Size
When it comes to buying the right gear that fits your needs perfectly, click here to explore our guide to windsurfing sail sizes.
Keyword(s): windsurfing sail
Whether you're new to the world of windsurfing or have plenty of experience, you may be looking for the perfect windsurfing sail. There are plenty of sails to pick from, and the one you choose will have a huge effect on your windsurfing experience.
For a rundown of how to choose the right size windsurfing sail, keep reading.
Factors to Consider
When deciding on a windsurf sail size, you shouldn't just pick whatever size you like. Getting the wrong size can cause problems and make things more difficult than they need to be. There are several factors that you should consider when deciding on what size windsurf sail to go with.
This is something that will change with time. The more you windsurf, the better you'll get, which means that from time to time you might benefit from switching to a different sail.
When you're new and learning, you want to focus on technique. A smaller sail will allow you to do this with less effort. As you progress your sail size will increase. The bigger the sail the more wind you will catch, and the more important technique becomes. And the better your technique becomes the more versatile the sail will become. And that is all great news. So in the beginning air on the side of caution, go small!
Windsurfing Location and Conditions
Conditions can vary greatly, and this will affect your equipment choice when you're windsurfing.
- light wind, beginner - small sail bigger board
-light wind experienced bigger sail bigger board
-high wind beginner - small(er) sail bigger board
-high wind expereinced - small sail small(er) board
(this is only for comparison purposes, give us a call, chat or email for more exact recomendations for your area and size)
If you take out a sail that's too small for the conditions, you won't get enough traction, resulting in quite a boring session. Conversely, if your sail is too big, you'll struggle and the fun factor goes away! Same is true about the wrong board choice.... Now the good news is, we can help you pick the best set up for most conditions in your area!
If two people of different weights were to use the exact same equipment in the same conditions, the lighter of the two will get more power out of their sail. This is because a stronger wind would be needed to provide the same amount of speed to the heavier windsurfer.
If you're quite a small person, you'll generally want to use a smaller sail than most. On the other hand, if you're quite heavy, a bigger sail may be better for you.
It's worth noting that a smaller person may also have a harder time controlling a large sail in strong winds. Take this into account if you're heading out on an especially windy day.
Windsurf boards are always partially submerged in water, and smaller boards will generally be more submerged than larger ones. This means they generate less lift, and more drag, than large boards.
With more drag, a board needs more power to accelerate. If you have a small board, you'll want more wind so that you'll be able to get the board moving and up above the water. The advantage of the small board in high winds is control. Its a lot easier to control a small board in higher winds and at higher speeds. As large boards will float more on the surface, they don't need as much power to start planing.
The size and shape of your fin will dictate how much lift it can generate. Shorter, more curved fins will generate less lift than longer, straighter ones. But will make the board more maneuverable. Race and Freeride boards have longer, straighter fins specifically for this reason. And that extra lift help you get upwind faster and more efficiently. Wave and Freewave boards have shorter, curved fins as they don't need to generate as much lift.
What the Wrong Size Sail Will Do
Ultimately, there is no "wrong" sail size. When trying out different sizes, however, you'll notice that some give you a better experience than others. The perfect sail would let you do exactly what you want to do and fit your skill level well.
When surfing, there are some signs you can look for to determine if your sail is too small or too big.
A sail that's too small will be underpowered. The most obvious sign of this is that you have a hard time planing. A small sail won't generate as much lift, so you'll have to pump harder to keep moving.
Constantly pumping can be physically draining, so it's better if you can avoid it. You'll have an even harder time if trying to move upwind.
A sail that's too large will be overpowered, and will essentially have problems that are the opposite of those found with a small sail. A large sail generates a lot of lift, and while this will help you pick up speed, it can make it very hard to stay in control.
In strong winds, you might get pulled over easily, which is never good. To avoid this, you might have to open the sail or "sheet out". This will help you stay on your board, but you'll have less control and it will be less enjoyable.
An overpowered sail will be especially problematic if you're a beginner. In many cases, you won't even be able to keep hold of the sail, completely ruining your experience. And the more you drop your sail the more you have to pick it up. And thats exhausting.
Finding Your Windsurfing Sail
It may take some time to find the perfect sail, but when you get one that's just right it will help you have a much better experience while improving your skills. Liquid Surf and Sail is a windsurfing store offering a range of sails and other windsurfing accessories. We also sell products for various other watersports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and kitesurfing.
If you want any assistance picking out the perfect windsurfing sail, click here to contact our team today.
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