` Windsurfing locations in the UK | TOAD Outdoor Activities

Windsurfing

ALSO KNOWN AS:
  • Windsurf |

Windsurfing

Windsurfing combines surfing with sailing, with riders standing on a longboard and using a movable mast to catch the wind and propel themselves forwards.

There are obvious similarities between the two sports, but unlike surfing, riders use the wind to power their movement, rather than waves. This means that the sport can be practiced on any open body of water, from lakes and rivers to estuaries and oceans. In this way, it is more closely aligned with sailing and has many of the same rules.

On top of this, riders refer to themselves as sailors, rather than surfers. The sport also has some overlap with kitesurfing, but is significantly easier and more accessible to most.

Windsurfing became hugely popular in the 1980s, and as a result was added to the Olympics in 1984 for men and 1992 for women. The sport involves a number of different disciplines, from big-wave riding and freestyle to slalom and course racing.

The board is usually around three metres long with a free-rotating joint that the mast attaches to. To start off, the board and sail will be put into a T-position with the board set out 90º to the wind, and the sail pointing downwind. The rider then stands with one foot on either side of the mast-foot and grabs the up-haul to pull the sail out of the water. Once the sailor has hold of the boom, they move their feet towards the back of the board for balance and wait for the wind to take them where they want to go. With the right angle and sail, windsurfers are capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 knots.

For those that are just starting out, it is most likely that they will do so on flatter waters and will practice catching the wind to move around an open area. Beginners start on large stable boards with small sails before progressing onto smaller boards that are more manoeuvrable and can go at higher speeds.

Smaller sails are best for beginners as it is easier to control their speed, and pulling the sail out of the water (after falling in or to get going) can be hard work. The sail area can be anything from 2.5 m2 to 12m2, depending on conditions, type of windsurfing, and the weight and experience of the rider.

The best part about the sport is that learners can fall off multiple times and are highly unlikely to get injured. Thanks to its nature, it can be enjoyed by riders of any age, and it really is never too late to give it a go!

Alongside the board, riders need a sail, mast and boom. For those sailing in and around the UK, it’s probably also wise to invest in a wetsuit. But unless you’re looking to take it up long-term, it is much easier to rent the equipment at your chose venue, rather than buying your own – as the combination of board and sale is unlikely to be cheap.

For the majority of people, windsurfing is undertaken on a non-competitive basis, and is a great activity to do nearby or whilst on holiday. Despite it not having the warmest waters, the UK is actually one of the windiest places in Europe, so there is no shortage of places to try out the sport.

One of the best places to go is Wales, which offers all levels of sailing, from the calmer waters of Newgale and Laka Bala to the more advanced Rhosneigr and Gower. Alternatively, Britain’s south coast is popular thanks to its strong winds and (marginally) warmer waters. Weymouth and the Isle of Wight are favourites with the windsurfing community.

Ready to give it a go? Take a look at some windsurfing locations below and find out what’s available near you.

Pros

  • Quick to rig
  • Dynamically the most exciting sailing sport

Cons

  • Wind and weather dependent
  • Wet and can be cold

Training & Qualifications

Windsurfing in the UK is overseen by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). RYA accredited centres offer internationally-recognised adult, youth and racing qualifications for all levels of ability.

Gear

Gear can be hired at many centres and beaches in the UK. It is probably wise to do so until you are good enough to tell the difference between sail sizes and the length of board.

Beginners boards offer stability but are sluggish as you improve. An ‘all-rounder’ design will allow you to practise in light winds but is more controllable at higher speeds.

The smaller boards and sails are designed for heavier winds, with more advanced riders selecting equipment based upon the conditions and the type of windsurfing (racing or freestyle).

All Windsurfing Providers

Select Activity

Select Location

Surrey Docks Watersports Centre
Rope Street off Plough Way Greenland Dock
Norbury, London
DISTANCE: 3.56 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Dinghy Sailing, Kayaking, Powerboating, Raft Building, Windsurfing, Canoeing...
Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre
235a Westferry Road
Isle of Dogs, London
DISTANCE: 4.16 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Dinghy Sailing, Windsurfing, Kayaking, Powerboating, Navigation Courses, Dragon Boat Racing, Yacht...
Herts Young Mariners Base
Windmill Lane Cheshunt
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire
DISTANCE: 13.89 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Canoeing, Caving, Dinghy Sailing, Dragon Boat Racing, Kayaking, Powerboating, Sailing Schools,...
Datchet Watersports
Queen Mother Reservoir Horton Road Horton
Slough, Buckinghamshire
DISTANCE: 18.08 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Powerboating, Sailing Schools, Skippered Yacht Charter, Windsurfing, Yacht Charter and Racing,...
Dynamic Adventures
Unit 24 Charlwood Place
Horley, Surrey
DISTANCE: 24.44 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Abseiling, Archery, Bushcraft Course, Canoeing, Climbing, Gorge Walking, High Ropes Courses,...
Bray Lake Watersports
Monkey Island Lane Windsor Road
Maidenhead, Berkshire
DISTANCE: 24.56 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Raft Building, Sailing Schools, Windsurfing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Canoeing, Dinghy Sailing,...
Stevenage Leisure
Six Hills Way
Stevenage, Hertfordshire
DISTANCE: 27.01 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Dinghy Sailing, Kayaking, Windsurfing...
Horseshoe Lake Activity Centre
Mill Lane
Sandhurst, Berkshire
DISTANCE: 32.25 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Dinghy Sailing, Powerboating, Raft Building, Windsurfing, Canoeing, Kayaking...
Ardingly Activity Centre Ltd
The Lodge Ardingly Resevoir Ardingly
Haywards Heath, West Sussex
DISTANCE: 32.44 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Dinghy Sailing, Sailing Schools, Windsurfing, Canoeing, Powerboating, Kayaking, Raft Building,...
Bewl Valley Sailing School Club
Bewl Water Lamberhurst
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
DISTANCE: 36.89 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Windsurfing, Sailing Schools, Canoeing, Kayaking...
Whitecap Leisure
V10 Brickhill Street
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
DISTANCE: 43.59 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Archery, Canoeing, Dinghy Sailing, Dragon Boat Racing, High Ropes Courses, Kayaking, Orienteering,...
Lagoon Watersports
Kingsway Hove Lagoon
Hove, East Sussex
DISTANCE: 47.20 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Canoeing, Dinghy Sailing, Kayaking, Keelboat Sailing, Powerboating, Raft Building, Skippered Yacht...
Chichester Watersports Centre
Coach Road Westhampnett
Chichester, West Sussex
DISTANCE: 53.20 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Banana Boat Rides, Inflatable Tyre Ride, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Windsurfing...
Rye Watersports
Northpoint Water New Lydd Road Camber
Rye, East Sussex
DISTANCE: 54.97 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Kite Surfing, Windsurfing, Dinghy Sailing, Stand Up Paddleboarding...
Hardwick Parks
Standlake Equestrian Ranch Downs Road Standlake
Witney, Oxfordshire
DISTANCE: 58.86 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Inflatable Tyre Ride, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Windsurfing, Fishing, Kayaking...


Products

 

Product Reviews

Taking in enough water each day is important not just for those who work-out every day or have active hobbies; it’s also important for the everyday functions of your body, regardless of what your
If you’re like us, you’ll put extra effort and care into getting everything you need into a single carry-on bag, in order to avoid the hassle and delay of checking bags, picking them up, and
Gone are the days of pulling on whatever bag you could find, lumbering cross-country with an aching body and dumping it down in misery every night. Thanks to the increased demand for minimalistic
Commuting by bicycle has become more than a fringe fad. With fuel prices higher than ever and environmental concerns growing, more people are leaving the car keys on the hook by the door, avoiding
As a recreational or professional diver in 2018, it’s advisable to include a good dive watch with your gear, especially one with an integrated dive computer. It's the best way to stay on top of
One piece of footwear that almost everyone needs at some point during the year is good a pair of wellington boots. Wellies should be reliable and sturdy so that they keep us going in a number of
On camping trips, a log or tree stump can often become the go-to seat, but nothing gives you the much-needed support and comfort after a day of activities quite like a camping chair. With many
When preparing for family camping, there is one item that is indispensable. Your tent. Shelter is essential to survival; a good tent keeps you dry, warm and safe. Family tents should have enough
Choosing a waterproof jacket can seem like a major task when you see just how many options there are on the market. From the different types of shells, varying materials and waterproofing
Whether you’re heading to the mountains, for a weekend out on the trail, or simply for a jaunt in the hills, one thing you can’t afford to be without is good quality waterproof gear. At some
One part of camping that is often underrated is enjoying a warm meal. While there is nothing wrong with cold beef jerky, a warm meal can give you the boost you need at the end of a tiring day of
One of the most important aspects of kit when you are camping is a good quality sleeping bag. You will not want to embark on a journey without being properly equipped and this includes a quality
On one end of the spectrum are the huge hi-fi systems with various speakers, soundboards and cables that sound great but take up a tonne of room and can’t be moved – at all. At the other end are
With the summer season fast approaching, it won’t be long until you’re packing up and heading down to your nearest lake, reservoir or seaside destination to engage in some water sports. Whether
Power banks and portable chargers are one and the same, although as the name suggests the latter is usually slightly smaller. They are small external battery packs which contain rechargeable
The BEST value action cameras for outdoor adventures! Choosing the right action camera isn't easy. There are lots of options for outdoor enthusiasts, ranging from feature-packed 4K action cameras to
Head torches are an essential piece of kit for any outdoor adventurers, fell runners, hikers, watersports enthusiasts or weekend campers! These small but extremely powerful torches are mounted on a
Whether you’re skiing, yacht sailing, hiking or anything else for that matter, the chances are that you’ll want to track your progress. Smartwatches give you the ability to monitor your heart
You might love the outdoors, but no one likes having wet clothing, sleeping gear, toiletries or damaged electronics. Dry bags do exactly what they say on the tin; they protect your kit - come rain or
The most important part of your kit when you set off on the trail is a good pair of hiking boots. Everything else you can beg, borrow or steal but wearing the wrong pair of boots will only end in
Written by Ollie Denton There are a lot of skis on the market for the 2018/19 season, but fear not! We have compiled a list of our favourite skis on the market right now. Skiing is by far the
Choosing Your Canoe or Kayak If you’re looking for an affordable watersport which is accessible to all, inflatable canoes or kayaks are the way to go! Fishing, camping, star gazing, relaxing,
When it comes to choosing your paintball mask, choose wisely. If you think your paintball gun is the most important piece of equipment during the game, it's time to think again! The mask is by
The Ultimate Buyer's Guide to choosing your next inflatable stand-up paddleboard (iSUP)   Written by Ollie Denton – Level 3 ASI Stand Up Paddle Coach Inflatable stand up paddle


Similar Activities

Kite Buggies
Kite Landboarding
Kite Surfing
Land Yachting