Beginners always have many difficulties, and unclear ideas, on which boards to buy, at the beginning of their career. With this article, we would like to give newbies a hand in choosing the first large volume windsurfing board, on which to take their first steps, and the first medium volume freeride board, with which to evolve further. We therefore give you an overview of the latest dedicated models offered by the market.
WINDSURFING, BEGINNERS: WHICH BOARD TO CHOOSE?
We had already written a guide, to help those who approach this amazing sport; the guide contains the main suggestions on the recommended equipment to start windsurfing. We warmly invite you to read it.
In that article, we reported the results of our experience, and, considering an average weight rider (about 70 kg), we suggested to use a beginner board of about 180 liters of volume, and then move on to a freeride board of about 150- 140 liters. The suggestion is always more than valid. It is clear that the that heavier riders (80-90 kg) will have to opt for a beginner board even of 200 liters, at the beginning, and a freeride board of at least 160 liters, subsequently. For he lighter riders, except in special cases, we suggest they do not drop to a too small volume board, anyway, in order not to lengthen the learning curve. Eventually, if they show rapidity in learning, they will be able to accelerate the further volume decrease by going to a freeride board of 110-120 liters, or to the first freewave, taking into account, however, that the different shape type also entails new difficulties in managing a board with lower volumes in the nose and tail, compared to the previously used ones.
Having said that, let's try to give some examples and indicate which products are available on the market, in the beginner boards range, and among the less technical freeride boards, more suitable for those with little experience.
Beginner windsurfing boards (school and entry level boards)
The Fanatic Viper ( see the manufacturer's website , from which the photos published here are taken ) has always been a point of reference among the school boards to start. The 2022 model, currently on the market, is available in 4 volumes sizes, with 30 liters of difference in between each one (160, 190, 220, 240 liters), which are really able to cover all needs. Consider that the weights range from a minimum of 11.85 kg to 15.15 kg, non-trivial weights to carry. The board is characterized by a deck covered in soft material, important for cushioning the hits resulting from the many inevitable falls. Obviously, equipped with a center fins, and a daggerboard (to be raised, when sufficient upwind riding ability has been acquired).
The strength of the Viper has always been that of being a board with excellent gliding performance, a feature that makes it a valid board also for progressing further; that is, after having learned the fundamentals (upwind riding, bearing away, base tacking and basic jibe), when it is a question of learning the harness and straps use, and of learning to glide. You can therefore avoid having to quickly switch to another board.
The board is also produced in an ultra-robust HD (Heavy Duty) version, made of Thermoform technology, which, according to the manufacturer, makes it almost indestructible. A very extended pad in the foot movement area guarantees ideal comfort and friction. The board is produced, however, only in the volume of 245 liters, which makes it suitable, almost exclusively, for schools, being difficult to transport due to its weight.
For some years now, Fanatic, like other manufacturers, has also made available the inflatable version of the Viper, the Viper Air (in the normal and premium version). The board is available only in the 355 liter size. The advantage of inflatable boards is that they are easier to disassemble, not so much due to the lower weight (in this case, however, 15 kg), but rather because they are deflated and have a smaller footprint (they are kept in a special backpack, and can be put in the trunk). They can also be used as SUP, given their remarkable stability and buoyancy (which also greatly facilitates beginners in the early stages). On the other hand, as also stated on the Fanatic website, the lower stiffness determines lower performance in terms of entry and gliding performances. Therefore, the beginner will need to change boards to easily learn the entry and control of the glide.
The Premium version, compared to the basic version, is made with a much more reinforced structure (DOUBLE LAYER HD - HEAVY DUTY - TECHNOLOGY), which however also translates into a weight of 15 kg (against 9.55 of the basic version). As for the rest, the dimensions of the board and the fins are the same.
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