WE ARE SAILORS AND LIKE GOOD SAILORS WE TALK
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, said Juliet to Romeo.
But that’s not correct here. In windsurfing and at sea in general, we have to call everything by its name... and these do not always coincide with those used on the "mainland".
At sea, a rope is usually a line or a haul, a steering direction is a course, and so on and so forth. To lift the sail is called to uphoal, to steer towards the wind you’ll luff up while you’ll bear away by steering away from the wind. We do not even use the terms "left” and “right". As the perspective changes when sailing from one side to the other, we use bow and stern, port and starboard or mast hand and boom hand.
But none of this should scare you off from starting with windsurfing. Learning to "talk sailor" is part of the magic of this sport and you don't need to learn anything by heart to master the language. You’ll learn it naturally with time and practice and spending hours at the beach and on the water.
Still, if you are passionate about the sport, at Tarifa Spin Out we offer lessons to get the VDWS basic licence (the German/International Windsurfing School Association that has centres all over the world). During that course, you’ll learn interesting things such as the wording, to rig and derig the material, the functioning of the sail, the navigation courses, the rules of preference in the water, safety notions...and much more. And once you have achieved this, you will be able to rent equipment at any VDWS centre in the world just by showing your licence and with no need to prove your level (as long as the conditions allow it, of course).
Ask us about it without any obligation!
SKILL IS BETTER THAN STRENGTH
You don’t need to be a muscleman to learn windsurfing. In fact, windsurfing is more about skill (technique) than strength. It can be compared with learning how to drive a car. At the beginning, it may seem a bit complicated to control both acceleration and steering, but little by little and with practice, it becomes something "automatic". We stop thinking about what, how and when we have to do something. The reactions happen “on their own”.
We Tarifa Spin Out instructors typically get to hear from our students that "it looks so easy when you do it!”. This is due to the many hours we spend on a board, both giving lessons and during our free time. The practice makes the equipment become a kind of "extension" of our body, as if it were another arm or leg which we move in tune with the rest. The body, mind and equipment end up working in unison, as if it were a single system.
The magic formula for fast and efficient learning is: 1. Quality material that is suited for the person, level and weather conditions. + 2. Good sea and wind conditions for the person and their learning level. + 3. Good advice: a good school with good instructors that live their passion for the sport and its teaching... Or friends and family with a LOT OF PATIENCE..
You’ll find all this here at Tarifa Spin Out!
THE BEST WAY TO GET IT IS TO DO IT
We don't know who invented the saying "the best way to get it is to do it". But they probably came up with it after trying windsurfing! :D
No sport is learned in a day, but it’s true that windsurfing, in particular, is one of those that takes time, perseverance and determination to master. Just as you can't drive on the motorway after simply a few hours of practising driving a car in a car park, you can't expect to be able to getting planing and jumping after just having had two or three days of windsurfing lessons. While learning to windsurf every single step has its rewards, even though each one of them can be quite a challenge. Only those who don't give up when facing the first difficulties will enjoy the freedom of planing over the water.
At Tarifa Spin Out we accompany you through each of these steps. We’ll recommend the most suitable equipment and the best moment of the day to make your learning process as quick and satisfactory as possible. We also add to our recipe something as abstract as it is important: MOTIVATION. This is essential to start and to continue practising this sport and to achieve one goal after another.
IMPORTANCE OF THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
It is true that some time ago in the 70's/80's the boards and rigs were big and heavy. So you needed a certain amount of strength to handle them. Today's material, however, has nothing to do with that. Equipment made of aluminium and carbon, as well as technological advances, has made it possible to create a new generation of compact, light and easy-to-handle boards and sails. There is now even suitable equipment for young children from the age of 6 or 7... or even younger!
It’s essential to choose the material according to the wind conditions and the experience someone has. A beginner needs a wider board with more volume and with a daggerboard. A beginner also needs a sail that is suitable for his weight and height. For example, sails made of Dacron, a material that makes it less heavy and more reactive to the effects of the wind. This way, the beginner does not only notice how the sail fills up with wind but also sees it and therefore they can react in the most appropriate way to keep the desired speed and course.
At Tarifa Spin Out we have wide boards with up to 230 litres for adults and 190 litres for children. We also have beginner sails up from as tiny as 1.0 m2. This way we guarantee that the first steps are done in the most simple and comfortable way. We also have improvement boards that range between 145 and 160 litres. These boards make it easier to learn how to start planing and use the footstraps. For children and advanced level kids, we have special sails available up to 4.0 m2. These sails are very similar to the "real" sails but smaller and lighter as they are almost entirely made of monofilm.
THE SEARCH FOR PERFECT CONDITIONS
Searching for the perfect conditions is like searching for the lost ark. If you wait for the perfect wind,you’ll spend a lot of time on the beach just watching others windsurf. It will also take you a long time to reach an advanced level because the perfect wind simply doesn't exist (or almost never exists).
Don't wait for the strong wind and don’t wait until you see a lot of sails and kites on the water. All you need to learn windsurfing is a breeze. In easy conditions,you have more time to react … and mistakes aren’t that serious. If you always wait until the wind forms little sheeps on the surface of the water, your learning will probably feel more like a battle. The effort and falls will lead to frustration and you’ll end up thinking that it’s "impossible to achieve".
It doesn't matter what conditions there are, it's more important to accumulate hours and hours of windsurfing practice... and every hour adds up! As long as the conditions are not too extreme for your level, you can always learn something. If the wind is very light, you’ve the perfect conditions for technique and manoeuvre training and to learn to “feel” your sail, you can even practice “early planing” that is starting to plan with light wind, etc. But if the wind is stronger than you’re used to, you can practice beachstart and waterstart… or use the strong wind to improve your physical shape “fighting” against the elements. 😉
At Tarifa Spin Out we offer courses every day... may it "snow or hail". We only stop if the wind is stronger than 8 Bft for obvious safety reasons. If the wind is very strong or the waves make it difficult for beginners, we take advantage of the Valdevaqueros lagoon, which provides a safe and pleasant environment. There you don't have to worry about currents, waves or deep water... so you can always windsurf!
Every day is a good day to learn windsurfing!
KNOW YOUR LIMITS, CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT, LEARN HOW TO RESCUE SOMEONE AND HOW TO RESCUE YOURSELF
Although we have said that any condition is good to learn, we also have to be aware of our own limits. Both physical and technical limits.
If you’ve just started windsurfing or you haven’t windsurfed some years, don’t be too proud and think that you can get into the water no matter what wind blows or how big the waves are. The first and most important point is always safety. If you expose yourself to an excessive risk, you’re not only endangering yourself but also others, that is those who come to your rescue. Because if you expose yourself to excessive risks, you’re also endangering others: those who have to come to your rescue (failure to provide assistance is unacceptable at sea as it is on land).
Similarly, it wouldn’t be wise to go out onto the water without checking the equipment. Check that it’s well rigged and in perfect conditions. Especially the mast foot shouldn’t have any signs of damage, all lines should be well tied and firm, the fin should be correctly screwed on and without any cracks, and the sail should be well rigged. It’s always a good idea to take with you a spare line in case one breaks. So you can try to get back to land without needing any rescue (it’s a bit like carrying a spare wheel in the boot of your car).
At Tarifa Spin Out we check our equipment daily to try to avoid any "surprises". We also teach our students how to do a quick "safety check" before getting into the water and how to act in case of emergency. For example, simulating a "self-rescue" using your own board as a means of rescue.
We spend hours in an element that is not our own... and any precaution is a good way to avoid an accident!
SELF-TAUGHT: PROS AND CONS
Self-taught means learning by yourself, without a teacher, through stubbornness, attempts, victories and defeats. Is self-teaching to windsurf a good option to learn this sport? The answer is: yes and no.
It’s not about spending a lot of money on lessons, but it’s also important to practise between lessons. At the beginning you need someone with experience, knowledge and PATIENCE that shows you how to do it and recognises the mistakes you make and shows you how to avoid them. You don’t see yourself, so you may be repeating over and over again the same mistakes without realising them. If no one realizes the mistakes, you might end up memorising them and it will be very difficult to get it “out of your head” at some point.
At Tarifa Spin Out we have lesson vouchers for all windsurfing levels at very competitive prices and usable all season long. Small corrections can make a big difference. We are sure that at the end of your course you’ll think that it was worth the small "extra cost"!
MEMBERS OF A BIG FAMILY: NOT ONLY A SPORT BUT ALSO A LIFESTYLE
Finally, we can’t forget to mention how addictive and vital this sport and this world can become for our lives, once you’ve tried it.
There are those who spend the whole winter in the office "dreaming" of Tarifa and its winds, looking at Windguru and our webcam. There are those who, like us who work at Tarifa Spin Out, plant roots in this corner of the paradise (or perhaps, better said, get caught in it...) and turn it into our own life... That leads to a certain envy in many of those who visit us.
No matter what level you reach, whether you windsurf almost every day or just a couple of weeks a year: you’ll end up feeling part of this big family. Whatever spot you visit, you’ll meet new friends or new people... and even if you travel alone, it won't be a problem: your new family will always make you feel at home.
Come and learn windsurfing and join our big family!