Arguably Bonaire is the best place in the world to learn windsurfing; it’s a windsurfing paradise for beginners!
Bonaire has been known for decades as the premier place to learn windsurfing in calm, clear, and shallow Lac Bay. The island has been producing home-grown windsurfing pros for years now, with our team always placing high in pro competitions around the world. But everyone must start somewhere, and it’s easy for beginners to learn windsurfing while vacationing on Bonaire.
On Bonaire, four-year-olds are naturals as they skim across the water, and it’s not unusual to see an octogenarian or two plying the trades as well. Of course, there’s every age in between represented, too! Even dogs catch on quickly!
Thinking about learning to windsurf?
If you’ve thought of trying windsurfing, but didn’t know much about the sport, then Bonaire is the perfect place to remedy that. It’s not as difficult as it looks. We couldn’t say it better than this:
Windsurfing is an exhilarating sport, that you can pick up and start learning whatever your age or ability. With expert tuition, the basics will quickly become second nature and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start years ago.
Windsurfing is a form of sailing. You stand on a board, holding a sail (which is attached to the board) and are powered across the water by the wind. You steer by adjusting the position of the sail and moving your feet.
It’s not the same as kiteboarding, although many sailors master both.
Top tips to get you on a board.
It’s easiest to get your initial tips from a qualified windsurfing instructor.
If you’re keen to get a head start, understanding basic wind direction is an important skill to learn and will point you in the right direction, quite literally! If you plan to try the sport during Bonaire’s busy winter season, be sure to book your lessons in advance.
Don’t be afraid of falling in.
The water in Lac Bay is calm, clear, and mostly chest-deep. If you fall in, just climb back on your board, pull up your sail, and try again.
Know the windsurfing jargon.
Any time a new sport is attempted, there is always terminology consistent with the sport that must be mastered. Windsurfing is no different, and it might feel like you are learning a new language. Fear not! You’ll soon be throwing these terms around like a pro! Of course, your instructor will explain anything you don’t understand.
Four common beginner mistakes.
One of the big rules of windsurfing is that where you look is where you’ll go–if you’re looking down at your feet or the water, the likelihood is that the rest of you will follow soon enough.
Don’t stick your butt out
Not only do you look funny, research has found that lower back strain is one of the most common windsurfing injuries. Getting your stance right will not only improve your windsurfing and make you look good, but it will also help to prevent injury which means you can windsurf even more.
Loving your equipment a bit too much
Pulling the rig (sail) too close to your body will affect the way it catches the wind and will cause you to overbalance, ultimately resulting in a big splash. Remember to always keep your front arm extended to help keep the rig away from your body.
Not keeping your weight over the centerline
The centerline is the most stable part of the board. If you stand too far forward or backward, or too close to the rails (the edges) you’ll tip the board and again…. splash!
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Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.