Hello. I've recently got back into windsurfing over the last couple years (I was only a beginner before). I live on the west coast in Scotland so get a decent amount of wind swell but protected by the islands from any proper surf. I'm keen to get into wave sailing when I go to spots with some surf. Other than that, keen to get out and feel more comfortable on the big wind swell days. A couple questions -
- What skills should I have before I try and get in the surf? I can surf to a reasonable level already. I currently have a good hold on deep water starts and can fast tack relatively well on flat water. Still learning to gybe.
- What kind of volume should I be looking at for a first wave board? Currently on a F2 Eliminator 115l Freeride board (apparently sold as a free move/super cross board). Using sails 4.5 to 5.5.
Usually they recommend at least 10 litres more than your body weight but if you are still at just learning stage then around 15 litres or more.
theses days a lot of people get Freewave boards as a dedicated wave board is pretty slow and harder to get going. The newer Freewave boards can change their character with fin and strap set ups. Use it as a thruster in waves and as a single fin elsewhere.
Try other peoples boards if you get the chance. Something like a Severne Dyno, Fanatic free wave, Kode, etc they are all pretty good boards. Theres even some pretty fast wave boards out there like the Pyro and The new Ultra.
Volume for 4.5 to 5.5 can be 95 for a heavy weight or 75 for a light weight. Width, tail width and Volume distribution also play a role. Starboard are usually bigger feeling while Goya can feel just to under.
I would suggest to buy or rent a smaller Board depending on your weight e.g. 70kg something like 80l to 85l and then learn to get comfy with that board on your flat water spot which means gybes without thinking, get this board planning quick, fast tacks 9 out of 10, quick water starts in whatever direction and how ever your gear "stuck" in the water. If all this works you're ready from my view. For sure there is a lot in between depending on the size of the shore break, waves size, type of waves, wave frequency and if there is a beach or rocks to get in and out of the water. So as always, difficult to give a good advice without seeing someone surfing or having more infos about him.
Also, remember to make sure your gear is serviceable before going for the first time back.
I remember after 4 years of little to no windsurfing happily running down a sand dune towards the water rig and board in hand, only to have the rubber tendon break. Very glad it did not happen in the water and it reminded me to check the gear regularly.
If possible, get to know the area too.
Where I sail theres about a 10 knot rip just between the beach and where the waves break. As soon as you stand up and sheet in all you do is go sideways for the first bit and it feels like theres no wind in the side, suddenly the board will straighten up when it gets out of the rip and the fins will bite and you can head into the waves.
Its ok coming in as you are usually on a wave.
Its different in the UK as you usually have enough sail power to get out easily.
Here's a good link.
Also next year is 40th Anniversary of The Tiree Wave classic, sometimes it's good just to see live action and be with other people that are into the same sport, good vibes and all.