WRITTEN BY: KRISTINE HANSEN
Windsurfing Tips for Beginners: Top Places for Caribbean Windsurfing
Have you ever spotted, from the beach or shoreline, the graceful curve of someone sailing along the water’s surface, and thought ‘Hey, I’d like to do that?’”
Why Windsurfing in the Caribbean?
The view from above is amazing thanks to the Caribbean’s crystal-clear waters. You’ll spot fish swirling around as well as coral reefs ripe for snorkeling. Without the bulkiness of a snorkel mask or scuba diving equipment—and the prospect of getting wet while submerged in water—this is perfect for someone who wants to feel those breezes as they lift off the water. The only two pieces of equipment you need are a board with a sail, and booties.
Before you jump on your board, read through the following windsurfing tips for beginners.
Tip #1: Pair up with an instructor who builds up your confidence, so you feel safe and relaxed. Don’t skimp on the lesson or asking questions because this is when you’ll be walked through what it’s like to soar on the water like a bird taking flight—and know how to steer.
Tip #2: To be successful at windsurfing, you need to pick an island or destination with the proper amount of wind (defined as tradewinds that can be calculated not in miles but by “knots”).
Here are the top places for windsurfing in the Caribbean. Both of these Dutch Caribbean islands boast consistent trade winds in water that is waist-deep and relatively flat on the surface, two conditions that make the destinations prime for this sport.
For this 2-hour excursion (“Windsurfing…A Beginner’s Lesson”), one hour of instruction (using a harness and booties) is followed by an hour of putting into practice what you’ve just learned. Fisherman’s Huts (at Malmok Beach, a 10-minute ride from where cruise ships dock) is actually a well-known spot to windsurf, also serving as a launch site for the annual Aruba Hi-Winds Pro/Am…but don’t be intimidated. The coaches you will be paired up with are skilled at taking even timid novices to a place of confidence.
Another famous spot for windsurfing in Aruba is also along Malmok Beach, at Fisherman’s Huts. Only this way is a bit past the beginner’s stage. This two-hour excursion (“Windsurf Aruba’s Famous Malmok Beach”) gives you the option of using either an intermediate or advance F2 board with North sails. Ideally, you’ve practiced windsurfing already with an instructor, even if it was very recently, before taking this shore excursion.
Just like it sounds, the “Windsurfing…Learn the Basics” excursion—which includes a one-hour lesson followed by an additional hour to use the equipment—is a great place to, literally, get your feet wet on a board. It’s hosted at a popular spot on Bonaire for windsurfing and where you’ll practice standing on a custom and production board. What’s nice about this excursion is that a restaurant/bar on site serves a hearty lunch and dinner (burgers and salmon, among other items)—which is perfect as you’ll likely be starving after time out on the water!
Once you feel comfortable windsailing, consider diving deeper into this sport via the “Windsurfing…Advanced Lesson” excursion, also on Bonaire, and hosted at the same windsurfing center as the beginning lesson. Like the beginner class, it includes a one-hour lesson and hour-long rental, only it’s geared for people who have already tried windsurfing and desire to improve their stance or practice the jibe (also called gybe, basically using your hands, feet and body to steer).