Setting up a windsurf board is easier than you think

Photos by Johnie Gall
Setting up a windsurf board is easier than you think; photos by Johnie Gall

Windsurfing used to be something for the old salty dogs—hence all the ’80s-tastic colors—but thanks to a few younger faces and a general movement towards the water (thanks SUPing!), windsurfing is gaining steam again. It’s perfect for inlanders because it can be done on a lake, and the set-up has become so easy even children can do it. Get good at it and it’s the ultimate adrenaline rush. Even if you struggle, you’re still building some serious core strength. You’ll definitely want to learn the terminology, but here’s a basic guide to getting yourself set up:

materialsMaterials:

-Board with mast base

-Fin

-Mast

-Mast extension

-Sail

-Boom (with uphaul rope)

-Foot straps (optional)

-Ropes

-Daggerboard (optional)

How to set up your windsurf board and sail

There’s essentially three parts to setting up the board: setting up the mast and sail, installing the fin, and attaching the mast to the board. It looks complicated, but it’s really not once you understand the anatomy of your board. Keep in mind all boards and set-ups are different, and you may prefer to add a daggerboard and foot straps, while others prefer to go without.

step1Step 1

Stick both pieces of your mast together, making sure the surface at the meeting point is smooth. Thread the mast through the mast holes (mast bag) in your sail. Be patient and inch the fabric over the mast. If there’s a little plastic plug at the top, it should now be in the hole at the top of the mast. Attach the mast extension to the bottom.

step2Step 2

To tighten the luff of your sail, follow the directions printed on your sail or in your owner’s guide. Guide the rope through the sheaves on the sail and through the mast extension. Now pull! This is hard unless you have full-on Thor strength, so use a tightening tool or wrap the rope around a screwdriver.

step3Step 3

Pull until the top of the sail goes floppy, then secure the end of the rope.

step4Step 4

Thread your sail through the boom and use the large plastic clip to clamp it in place. The wider part of the boom should be on the mast. Make sure the boom is about chest height.

step5Step 5

Feed the rope through the bottom of the boom and follow the instructions printed on the sail once again. If you’re a beginner, use the lowest loop. Pull tightly!

step6Step 6

Use a screwdriver to attach your fin. The daggerboard is typically already fixed onto the board, and you can flip it up and down as you go.

step7Step 7

Align the bottom of the mast with the mast base (the base should be screwed in according to sail size) and pop the mast on securely.

finsihedStep 8

Pick up your board and sail and go surf!

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