HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO FLY A PLANE without instruction? How about hang glide or sky dive? All of these action sports require instruction. Yes, in windsurfing you can jump on a board, hold a sail and cruise to the end of the lake with no instruction and the only consequence might be to fall in with no major bodily harm, except getting wet. In order to fully appreciate windsurfing and to advance to a level of sailing that produces the same adrenaline rush as the aforementioned sports, proper instruction is essential.
Clinics can provide both the beginner and the expert with the proper instruction to reach his or her maximum potential. Not everyone out there is going to aspire to the MTV-style of radical windsurfing, or if they do, it won’t happen on the first try. Although television makes the sport look particularly easy, IT TAKES TIME.
Lucky for you, some of the people who have been windsurfing for twenty years and have had to learn and develop skills on their own, have taken their experience and refined windsurfing instruction into an art form. Now they can pass it on to you in a three or four day clinic! Ok, these instructors might be envious when you’re waterstarting and jibing in a few weeks or months when it took them a few years to achieve that level, but they will also be ecstatic for your quick development.
Some of you might think that clinics are just for beginners, or that you are too good for a clinic. If you’re new to the sport clinics are extremely helpful, but as a veteran, stop and take a look at your own windsurfing skills. Yes, you might be able to get into the footstraps. Yes, you might be the fastest one where you sail. And yes, you might even be able to jibe and not fall in. However, a clinic can point out some bad habits that are preventing you from planing earlier, sailing faster, and even completing your jibes with speed. Having downfalls shown to you can be a humbling process but it’s also necessary in order to make you better.
Instructors in the clinics will help you unlearn the bad habits you have developed before the correct ones are installed in your brain. Have faith, once you have unlearned your bad habits, your learning curve will increase vertically, meaning that you will learn and complete maneuvers more rapidly and with more success.
The Never-Ever Windsurfer, the novice, the beginner, will always benefit from a clinic. Since the novice has not yet learned any bad habits, he or she will have an easier time learning to windsurf. Good information is absorbed quickly, and will put you on a much steeper learning curve than someone who has never taken proper instruction. For instance, one particular student who had never been on a board before, quickly mastered all of the longboard skills necessary to progress to a shortboard. By the end of the four day clinic, he was working on short board skills with confidence. Many instructors in the windsurfing world believe that the longboard is a dinosaur and should be buried. Don’t be fooled. Greater learning potential and a wider respect for the sport of windsurfing is gained by those taught to longboard first. Their skills are sound, and their style is much more refined.
Whether or not you develop your skills rapidly, a clinic illustrates what it means to windsurf. Windsurfing for a few days is a release from the everyday stress of life, and you’ll find a group of people who share a common lifestyle, making new friends in your windsurfing community. To top it all off, you’ll discover a person inside yourself who can focus, practice, and achieve. A benefit for life.
To all of you who are considering a clinic this next season, be warned: once you get involved with a clinic it can be as addictive as windsurfing itself. How can it not be? Great instruction by fun and experienced instructors, festive camaraderie, and fun-loving goal-oriented students. Not a bad deal for one low price!
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