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VDWS International

Info for beginners

Windsurfing - from scratch

Mostly, people make their first steps on a windsurfing board during their vacation. Slightly frustrated, they rapidly notice how difficult it is even to keep the balance - let alone to get going. To get the knack, instructions are a must. VDWS memberschools teach more than a 100.000 beginners and advanced every year.

Not alone, a sound training helps you to improve your fun on the water; it also makes a significant contribution to safety on the water. About 1000 German and many foreign waters state: admission free! Nevertheless, a windsurfing basic licence is required especially in the Northern and the central part of Germany. At the Steinhuder Meer or the Lake Dümmer for example, people are only allowed to windsurf upon presentation of a qualifying certificate. The required examination can be taken at any school recognized by VDWS - on payment of a small fee. Since its foundation, VDWS has issued more than 2 millions of windsurfing basic licences.

Windsurfing classes - for whom?

"Anybody - from 7 up to 70 years - can get acquainted with windsurfing. Step by step, safely, experiencing fun and excitement. That's what most of watersport-instructors state. And they are right: for all who are able to swim, windsurfing is as easy as pie - if instructions are correct."

The right time to start?

Generally, the age of onset is between 7 and 10. Be careful: a comparison between different children of that age leads quickly to the conclusion of an obvious difference in physical and mental development. An in-depth conversation with parents and child concerning age, weight (from experience not less than 30 kilos) experiences in other disciplines and the child's autonomy can give first impressions. In case of doubt, little games or exercises on land or on water are indicated. What helps me to know if my child is old enough to learn windsurfing?

  • Is your child capable of ducking without neither difficulty nor fear for a few seconds and is he/she able to dive under a board/rig?
  • Is your child able to carry a kiddy-rig, without any part touching the ground?
  • Is he/she able to pull up a sail and to right it without a tremendous effort?
  • Does he/she easily succeed in carrying a teaching-board about 30 to 40 meters à deux?

School classes

I would like to learn windsurfing with my class - where and how? For those who are planning to follow a windsurfing-course with a group (class, club etc.), the best thing to do is to contact a recognized VDWS-school. These schools dispose of the adequate infrastructure.

Equipment is provided

Beginners or occasional windsurfers do not need their own equipment. VDWS schools place all required equipment at your disposal. Even on sunny summer days, an adequate wetsuit is mandatory. Wind on wet skin leads to evaporation cold, slowly cooling down the body. For hygienic reasons, one should bring one's own neoprene shoes. Ask your instructor about keen offers.

Thanks to beginner-friendly equipment, the first results won't be long in coming. Large, slip-proof boards of about 180l provide for enough stability and buoyancy to get going. Very light kiddy, youth and adult teaching rigs (mast, sail and boom ensemble) in graduated sizes as from 1 m² make windsurfing a snap.

Once the beginner-course completed, the right thing to do is to rent a board, or even better: to take an advanced course. Like this, the freshly acquainted windsurfing skills will consolidated and perfected.

What distinguishes a good watersportschool?

Watch out: there are watersportschools of different quality standards. If you want to play safe, check and ask for the proof that the chosen school fulfils the internationally recognized high VDWS quality requirements:

Check up

  • Are all instructors qualified? Do they have the official VDWS training- and examination licence?
  • Is the school's overall impression positive? Does the school present itself with school sign, school flag and school stamp?
  • Are there changing cabins?
  • Are there at least 8 adequate beginner-boards and rigs? Does the sail range cover different sizes?
  • Does the course fee include the equipment (board, rig, wetsuit, and workbook)?
  • Can the basic licence be passed?
  • In case of tricky locations, does the school dispose of an operational motorboat?
  • Is there a seminar room?
  • Do the instructors make use of teaching aids such as magnet boards and magnets?

Contents of a beginner course

Besides the practical and theoretical basics of windsurfing (wind recognition, basic equipment as clothing, board & rig, rigging and derigging, getting on the board, pulling up the sail and getting going, stopping, steering and the corresponding forces, courses, getting windward, tacking and jibing at low-wind conditions), topics related to free-time leisure (equipment tips), protection of nature and waters as well as safety (rules of way, traffic regulations, transport of boards and rig on the roof of a car, what to do in emergency situations, knots) on water and on land are part of every modern windsurfing course.

How much time does a windsurfing course take?

Generally, a complete beginner course takes 12 to 14 hours. At good weather conditions, beginners only need one hour to learn how to get going. Easy conditions, e.g. low wind, little waves and flat water, are enough for the start.

At the end of the course

As a rule, the beginner course should be completed by the VDWS basic licence. This licence is required for windsurfing on certain waters and its holders are allowed to rent windsurfing equipment at all VDWS school in the world. This is very important for those countries where you won't be able to bring your own equipment.