Winter Windsurfing and Rescue Tips


Picture: John Grant

Its one of the warmest winters here in Southern Ontario. We are right in the thick of it and the temperatures are rising to nearly 10 degrees C in the coming days. Normally this time of year we are in a deep freeze with much of the great lakes unaccessible for windsurfing. Its hard to contemplate that we might be sailing this week.

So I’ve made a list of things important to winter windsurfing as I prepare for a sail with the crew.

  1. bring your cell phone battery charged.
  2. have friends to sail with (don’t sail alone)
  3. have a rescue plan; what we will do if… who we will call if…
  4. have fluids and food on hand
  5. extra clothes and blankets on hand.
  6. check integrity of all lines; down haul, out haul, harness lines.
  7. inspect universal, and all equipment (don’t sail with questionable equipment)
  8. winter wetsuit hooded 654 (holes patched), boots 5-7mm, gloves 5 mm
  9.  smart sailors will sail with a pfd and or a helmet
  10. something to stand on in parking lot for changing (i use a rubber car mat)
  11. post sail hot chocolate in a thermos and a bottle of Baileys.
  12. don’t sail in offshore winds or sketchy conditions especially if you are uncomfortable set rules for yourself and stick to them.

I came across this great vid on some windsurfing self rescue techniques and its worth a watch. I use to sail without an uphaul line especially on my short board but after this video I don’t think I’ll ever leave home without it.


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