Should Friends Teach Friends How to Windsurf?

How often have you seen a windsurfer at the beach trying to teach a friend how to sail? All too often, the windsurfer teaches with a large sail on a narrow board in windy, choppy conditions. And what happens? Not only does the friend have a miserable time, but the 500 people on the beach are so completely turned off, they will probably never give windsurfing a chance. The AWIA’s official position on this is that it is much better to learn at a windsurfing school from a certified instructor.

Windsurfing is easy to learn if you are taught correctly. Conversely, windsurfing can be impossible to learn if you are taught poorly. No matter what I say, windsurfers will always try to teach their friends how to windsurf. So what can we do? Somehow, we need to teach every single windsurfer…

  • How to teach friends how to windsurf.
  • How not to teach friends how to windsurf.
  • What the limitations are of trying to teach without the proper training.
  • The benefits of referring a friend to a school with certified instructors.

I am not qualified to tell you how to teach. But I can make a few suggestions.

First, learn how to teach. The prerequisites for becoming a certified instructor are easy- usually just CPR and First Aid. There are three instructor training programs that can help you out. (see below) Whether you just want to learn how to teach so you can teach your friends, or you are interested in becoming a windsurfing instructor, it is best to learn how to teach correctly. Teaching windsurfing is not just a summer job for kids. It is a profession to take pride in. The age of instructors varies from 20-45 years, and typical wages range from $8 to $15/hr. There is a demand for good windsurfing instructors, and there opportunities to open schools in parts of the country that don’t have them. A well-run school can be a lucrative business. These instructor training programs are open to the public, and the AWIA encourages anyone with an interest in teaching to take one of their courses.


The second alternative is to refer a friend to a local windsurfing school. Schools have the proper equipment to teach. They will have land simulators, training boards, and small lightweight rigs. They also have the experience to make sure everyone has a good experience learning how to windsurf.

Third, if you’re going to insist on trying to teach a friend how to windsurf without taking an instructor’s course, then you should at least read a book about windsurfing, preferably on how to teach it. Go to your local windsurfing shop and ask for a recommendation on a book or a video about teaching windsurfing, and make sure you teach only on calm, flat water on a very wide board. Windsurfing is a sport that millions of people worldwide feel passionately about, and it is natural for you to want to share it with your friends. But always remember, it is very important for you to do it right and teach safely.

Instructor training programs
-B.I.G. 1-(916)-965-9463
-U.S. Sailing 1-(401)-849-5200
-W.I.A. 1-(509)-427-7111

These books may help:
Teach Windsurfing Right (call U.S. sailing)
Windsurfing Cook, J & Way, P.
The Complete Guide to Shortboard Sailing Evans, Jeremy
The complete Guide to Windsurfing
A Beginner’s Guide to Zen and the Art of Windsurfing Fox, Frank
Windsurfing to Boardsailing
New Sailboard BookGrubb, Jake
Wind & Surf Holden, Phil
Sailboarding Italia, Robert
Learn Windsurfing in a Weekend Jones, Phil
Mid-Atlantic Guide to Boardsailing Killeen, Leslie & Pugh, Kenneth
Windsurfing the Fermi Sea Kuo, T.T. & Speth, J.
Boardsailing in Oregon: A Guide to the Best Windsurfing in Oregon LaRivierre, John
Understanding Aerodynamic Principles of Windsurfing Ng, Paul
Windsurfing, Improving Techniques Oakley, Ben
Windsurfing, Step by Step to Success Riechenfeld, Rob
Hawaiian Windsurfing Guide Vogelsberger, Paul
Boardsailing: A Beginner’s Manual Wand-Tetley, C. & Heath, John


by Scott See