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Windsurfing and Weight Loss

Created by tazmania > 9 months ago, 29 May 2015
WA, 83 posts
29 May 2015 1:28PM
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Started windsurfing two seasons ago at a reasonably strong 101kilos on a 150 litre board. Came to the realisation after reading somewhere that "The best thing you can do to improve your windsurfing is to lose 10 kilos", that I needed to drop some weight.

So I've cut right back on the booze and am sticking to 1500 calories per day and using my titbit and making sure I get 10,000 steps per day. So I've dropped 10 kilos now and am looking to lose another 6 to get down to 85 kilos by spring.

My question is has anyone done similar and what difference did it make to your windsurfing? Any major things you noticed and any little things?

QLD, 2225 posts
29 May 2015 4:45PM
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yep have been 82kg & 118kg after screwed my back up, desk job & many business lunches. Everything is easier when you are lighter except the sweet spot for holding slalom gear down which is about 90kg but then you should step down a sail size anyway. Now im about 105kg & gradually losing with aim of 90kg as I want to carry a bit more muscle than when sub 85kg.

So go for it & good luck, it's the best thing you can do for your sailing- planing, transitions, stamina all much better. Even the best booms flex alot causing draft to move & as everything you rig is bigger you fight it more taking it out of it's efficient set.

NSW, 1104 posts
29 May 2015 5:08PM
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Fitness is very important and something we should all strive for- if only to help live a long and healthy life. Though it seems the older I get, the harder it is too keep fit.

So my story is a little different. I started windsurfing nearly 4 years ago, weighing 73 kilos. Always been quite fit from surfing etc. In the last four years I cut right back on surfing and gained weight. I'm now sitting on 80 kilos- thankfully mostly muscle- though I do see a small "spare tyre" forming... This Autumn has been tragic, lucky to get out sailing once every two weeks. Definitely not the ideal time of year to get fit from sailing alone. The treadmill is starting to get a work out again.

Gaining weight / muscle actually helped my sailing, as I now have with more power and control in higher winds- though I'm still pretty average at sailing. It's funny though, body weight doesn't seem to effect the gun sailors much. Really good sailors look "light" on the water- even if around the 100 kg mark. Look at Koster. 90 kilos and built like a wombat yet looks like a light, agile kid on the water. So it seems fitness is more important than sheer body weight. It sounds like your on the right track for both. Fit and 85 kilos would be a lethal combo, with a good mix of strength and power for sailing. Good luck with both.

2156 posts
29 May 2015 3:58PM
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An extra 5 Kg can mean sinking ankle-deep in water, and struggling to get on the plane. I find that out at the beginning of each sailing season in the past.

Personally, I believe that windsurfing is not a good way to loose weight, if that is the only sport you do. This is because wind doesn't always blow at the most opportune days, like weekends, or holidays. So it is very likely that you could be sitting idle for up to two to three weeks without a sail. If you don't fill in the gaps with other forms exercises, you will gain weight.

On the other hand, on those really good seasons when winds blew for an entire week, I find that a good 2-3 hours sailing in 25 knots will very quickly "peel off" those extra layer of insulation near my mid-section.

So my advice is, don't solely rely on windsurfing to loose weight, but maintain a regular exercise regime to retain a healthy weight. When the sailing season arrives, you are ready to go.

82 posts
29 May 2015 4:11PM
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I lost 16kg from 92-76kg.

At 92. I was always on an 8m2 freerace from 14-15 knots to 20-22 knots. I never had a problem holding down the sail. However, I was quite sensitive to not having enough power from the fin.

At 76, I get overpowered easily with the 8m2. It's also feel a lot heavier now, so I use a 7m2 crossover sail from 14-18 knots. The fin isn't really a problem anymore, except if it's too big. I just use the smallest, that doesn't spin out.

The best part is that my biggest board have gone from 115 to 100. This means that I have opened the door to not being forced out on freeride or slalom-gear, because I now have the option to buy wave/freestyle/FSW, smaller slalom ets. And in the highwind range I can buy even smaller boards, which is a lot cheaper.

QLD, 306 posts
29 May 2015 6:52PM
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So Agree, put on 5kg over summer because of an injury and can really notice the diff it makes to my "go to 110 board", harder to get on the plane, etc. Trying to lose 10kgs atm to get down to ~78kgs (he says typing this and drinking Guinness). I think it will make so much difference and won't have to carry as much sail which makes water starting easier. I remember back when I was in my 20's I was prob only ~60kgs and only had a 8'10" wave board with a max sail of 5.6.
Here's to how awesome next summer is going to be

WA, 3135 posts
29 May 2015 5:19PM
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I put the hard yards in over the last six months and dropped 17kg, it made a massive difference on what size kite I put up, my go to was normally an 8m for the 25-33kn, with the 7m reserved for the 30-45knot range, I reckon now in 35+ I'd be on the beach wishing in had a 5m. I actually miss having all that ballast when it gets super windy. And I'm getting sick of buying new boardies to wear (not over my wetsuit though).

SA, 850 posts
29 May 2015 7:16PM
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green thumbs for Chris6791 everybody, coming to the windsurf section and posting constructively, YAY, I've started.

Tricky Dicky
NSW, 49 posts
29 May 2015 10:27PM
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Hey, you've started something here!
My story: I started sailing years ago, twenty years ago, then had a big layoff for ten years and have really got back into it over the last 18 months. During the ten year sabbatical I stacked on the weight and ended up at around 94 kg. At 5'6" that wasn't a real good look!
After breaking a bit of gear and really not having fun because of the added kg's I got serious and started shedding the weight. For me, the main trick was to stop eating bread, and all that usually accompanies it. That was Christmas 2014.
So, six weeks saw me shed 10kg without even trying. At that point sailing was suddenly a lot easier, faster and fun again. Now I could also run effectively, so after 4 months another 8 kg's disappeared. It's now a year later and it's all stayed off, but I do a lot more fitness training as well now, running, swimming and cycling. I only do these things in order to maintain fitness for sailing.. I sit at 76kg now.

So. the differance between now and then......Huge. I can use smaller boards, smaller sails or go out in lighter winds. Everthing is easier, from waterstarting thru to gybing, and jumping. I reckon gear will last longer as well, because it's not getting loaded up so much. The biggest issue is having a small enough sail on the big wind days!

Motivators for me are continued enjoyment of the sport I really love and now my eldest son is getting into it as well, so I want to keep in shape so we can continue to sail together..

One last thing, for us mere mortals, all the super hi-tech lightweight gear is a waste of time if you're carrying the extra weight yourself! On the other hand I can buy the non- carbon gear at a fraction of the price and effectively not carry a weight penalty if I maintain my own weight. Yep I'm a tight arse as well!

Good luck with the program.... it's really, really worth it!

WA, 758 posts
29 May 2015 9:03PM
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Select to expand quote
Jupiter said..
Personally, I believe that windsurfing is not a good way to loose weight, if that is the only sport you do. This is because wind doesn't always blow at the most opportune days, like weekends, or holidays. So it is very likely that you could be sitting idle for up to two to three weeks without a sail. If you don't fill in the gaps with other forms exercises, you will gain weight.

Better yet: grab a big board and practice light wind freestyle. Lots of fun, helps your high wind sailing, and burns tons of calories. Check this for some ideas on tricks to do:

SA, 199 posts
29 May 2015 11:11PM
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The best thing to improve on your windsurfing is more windsurfing. And the weight loss will follow.

I am about 94ish when I haven't been sailing that much with a nice amount of relaxed muscle around the midrift area. And a few lower back niggles.

If I have a few good weeks of sailing 2-3 kg's disappear. And the relaxed midriff muscle heads north to be useful in the shoulder/arm area and back niggles disappear.

Now if I could stop having a few coldies after a slither might a few more kg's gone. But where is the fun in that.

WA, 83 posts
30 May 2015 6:42AM
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Excellent reading everyone. I am not a returning windsurfer so have no 'skinny' experience from my youth to compare to so it's all very interesting hearing your stories.

Actually thinking about it now I've had injuries by the end of each season that have stopped me about a month prior to the wind dropping off which are probably weight related.

First season I separated a rib from my spine by tearing the cartilage windsurfing. One of the ribs right sat the top near the shoulder. Very painful and stops you lifting your arm up. I was not in the harness yet but was planing and hanging low off the boom. I'm lucky I'd been doing lots of weight for years and was quite strong but still too tubby. I was hanging probably at the limit of what that cartilage can be stretched and a gust hit and it pushed the cartilage just a little too far. If I was lighter I suspect the impact of gusts wont be as severe as everything will move along with the breeze a bit better.

Second season I got into the harness and what a difference that made to the experience.... sweet relief. Was less work and instead of spending an exhausting 1 our on the water I could do longer and longer sessions up to three hours.... but by the end of the season I had really bad tennis elbow on my left arm and couldn't bend or straighten the arm without severe pain. Again I suspect it's from carrying extra weight and using my arms too much as despite being in the harness I was still not in the straps on a 150 litre board uphauling.

I read somewhere that being heavier the strain just prior to planing can be quite heavy. As the board is lower in the water and slower to climb out of it you have to compensate by holding on strong for longer than a lighter person would. Of course a bigger board makes it even worse and usually requires a bigger sail to give the power to make the transition to planing faster, but being a noob still I was still using a relatively small sail for the board.

Being lighter now means I can use a smaller board.... so less resistance to the water and therefore less strain getting onto the plane.

WA, 4883 posts
30 May 2015 6:01PM
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Rowan Law finished second last year at GI at around 73kg. He has lost 5kg since and is still sailing nearly as fast.

What you lose in top speed you will gain in acceleration out of the gybes.

Slalom events are decided more by starts and gybing than speed.


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"Windsurfing and Weight Loss" started by tazmania