Windsurfing and Wales were made for each other
Windsurfing combines the fun of surfing and sailing. Wales combines beautiful scenery and clean water with the friendliest surfers in Britain. Isn't it time you discovered why Wales and windsurfing were made for each other?
Why would I go windsurfing?
In essence, windsurfing fuses the best bits of surfing and sailing. More intense than sailing, easier to learn than surfing, it is about skimming across the water, the wind in your face, water splashing at your feet; about leaving cares onshore and being alone with the elements; about freedom. You'll enjoy the buzz of surfing with little of its instability and none of the frustration of waiting for waves. And you'll discover the fulfilment of sailing well to harness the power of the wind.
Isn't windsurfing just sailing up and down?
Used to be 50 years ago. Nowadays, windsurfers ride waves like surfers and slalom between marks like downhill skiers. They perform aquatic acrobatics in freestyle events and blast at up to 60mph in speed races. Don’t worry: in Wales they also explore beautiful coastlines and perhaps spot seals and dolphins on a seafari. You don’t get to do that on a surfboard.
Sounds like fun. Is it open to all ages?
South Beach, Pwllheli, Snowdonia
Of course. With different board and sail sizes, windsurfing can be tailored to children and older novices – windsurfing uses bodyweight not big muscles to work the sail and the challenge is more mental than muscular. That said, an hour or two afloat can provide as good a workout as the gym. Somehow we don’t think you'll be clockwatching.
Why learn to windsurf in Wales?
We may be biased but our long windswept beaches, clean water, beautiful scenery and wide open spaces are more appealing than a muddy gravelpit. Reliable wind is another advantage in Wales. The pros say our true unique selling point is variety. Whatever style of windsurfing you fancy – beach or lake, speed or wave – Wales has a venue. It's a bit like Cornwall, they say, only with better scenery and no crowds, which means more space to learn and more friendly windsurfers. Being overlooked has its advantages.
I'm sold! How do I learn?
Bala Lake, Snowdonia
With a Royal Yachting Association-accredited operator. It’s your guarantee of the best instructors and equipment – a board, sail, buoyancy aid and wetsuit, all provided – which means the most fun. Although many operators run taster lessons, to learn book an RYA Start Windsurfing for adults or children. After two days, you'll know sailing theory and have mastered sailing to a point and back. You'll also have a lot of fun.
Where do I go?
Top spots in North Wales are Rhosneigr on Anglesey, Abersoch on the Llyn Peninsula and Lake Bala in Snowdonia. Further south, Newgale, Dale and Tenby in Pembrokeshire and Gower are excellent (and beautiful). Or Porthcawl and the Glamorgan coast are just 30 minutes from Cardiff.
What do I need?
A swimming costume to wear beneath your wetsuit and a towel for a shower afterwards. Possibly old trainers (check with your course provider). Always a sense of adventure.