Five Tips for Beginners Windsurfing in Aruba, Flickr: joeshlabotnik

"Start with a Large Board and a Small Sail"

There are many reasons to book a flight to Aruba, but perfecting your windsurfing technique is definitely one of them. The 75-square mile island is home to perfect windsurfing conditions, so if you’re a beginner or a pro, you can profit from the gentle forgiving water depth and the strong (but not too strong) winds.

Here are some tips on perfecting your windsurfing technique in Aruba, even if you are a beginner:

Start with a Large Board and a Small Sail:

The large board will help you maintain your balance and is a lot more forgiving than a small board. A smaller sail will also help lessen the power of the wind especially if you are a beginner. A very large sail is best reserved for pros or for those with exceptional upper body strength.

Take a Lesson:

If you’re a true beginner, it’s best to take a lesson with one of the pros from the Windsurf Center located on Hadicurari Beach (locally referred to as “Fisherman’s Huts”). The beachfront is also the place of the annual Hi-Winds Pro Am Windsurfing Competition so you know that this is the place for true windsurfers to test their mettle. However, it is excellent for beginners too, since the sand is powdery soft and the water is extremely shallow. You’ll also learn how to steer, tack and maneuver the sail all while using a harness.

Build Your Upper Body Strength:

Windsurfing is tough on the legs and core but you really need good upper body strength to hold the sail and maneuver it no matter what. Never underestimate the power of the wind or the sail especially when it is under water (water is heavy!); if you can, build your upper body strength before taking up windsurfing.

It’s Okay to Fall!

Falling off the board is part of the course. If you don’t fall, you’re not learning. Luckily, the shallow, warm waters are forgiving and a perfect place for repeated mishaps.

Don’t Stray Too Far From the Shore

The wind is stronger than you think and within minutes a beginner can easily be blown far into the water. But don’t worry, there are pros in the surf shop always on the lookout for drifters. It’s far more important to learn how to sail back and forth to the shore than to be stuck going in one direction (i.e. into the middle of the ocean!).

So, put on your harness and brave your first windsurfing experience. You’ll enjoy it far more than you think, and chances are you’ll keep coming back to Aruba for more!

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photo: joeshlabotnik

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