Brrrrr-ing it on this winter!


What’s windsurfing in the UK like in winter?

Windsurfing in the UK is often at its best in winter. Whether it’s stronger winds, waves or just more regular conditions you’re after, the winter has it all. Shorter sessions have massive benefits for learning and it’s great to dust off smaller sails and boards at this time of year. If your personal kit is good then the cold shouldn’t be an issue. Expect great camaraderie too as the only people you’ll find in your local car park at this time of year are usually other windsurfers.

Between October and April the air may be cooler but the water stays warm pretty much up to Christmas and even beyond. It’s also the time of year when the UK gets the best wind, with solid lows tracking across the UK. And that can only mean one thing – better swell.

What personal kit do you recommend?

A wise man once said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!

  • A good wetsuit is most important although you may not need a winter suit until you start getting towards the end of November.
  • If air temperature is low then hoods, boots and mitts are key. It’s important to make sure that these are appropriate for windsurfing rather than just thick, too thick a glove and grip and fore arm fatigue will become an issue.
  • Single lined suits and wetsuits that reduce wind chill do make a big difference, but I’ve started using front zip suits and even suits with built in hoods which make windsurfing in even the coldest months - fun and rewarding.

Any changes to the board or rig?

It might be worth investing in a smaller sail or even just a smaller fin if you have a wide style board. If having the right kit for winter action means you’ll enjoy it more, it’s worth the investment, right?

Before the winter starts make some kit checks

  • Check UJs for any sign of wear
  • Check all ropes, downhaul, outhaul but especially inhaul as any of the above failing could cause you a long swim which isn’t advised when it’s colder
  • Have a think about what else you could carry with you: a whistle, spare length of downhaul rope, a dayglow flag for attracting attention? You may even feel more confident with a phone in an aqua pack.

How do you keep motivated?

  • The Power Hour. A short session with purpose is more effective than a long session without. Getting better isn’t about simply practice, it’s about productive practice. So if you head out with an aim for your session, it doesn't matter if it’s shorter in the winter. Some of the best improvements are made during short session where you’re focussed on only a couple of key things.
  • Choose the right moment, if you don’t think you’ll last too long, time the best weather and tide window.

What’s the best way to stay safe?

  • Go out in groups
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast
  • In simplest terms check the conditions, check the equipment and check yourself.

Is it a good time of year to get some formal training?

Without a doubt, yes. With better conditions there’s more chance of getting more productive practice in. It may not be an easy way in for beginners, but for anyone trying to improve technique or challenge themselves it’s perfect.

What courses/coaching do you recommend?

Usually anything that needs a bit more wind to get it cracked. Whether that be footstraps, waterstarts or carve gybes. But this is also a great time of year to look at specific clinics such as jumping and beyond.

And if you really can’t brave the weather?

There’s plenty of reading to be done over the winter. The RYA Windsurfing Handbooks are packed with simple instructions, covering things like how to achieve great balance and stance. I particularly like the hints in coaches corner – little summaries that explain scenarios like how to control your speed or exit a gybe.

To find out more about RYA windsurfing courses go to

To add the RYA’s Windsurfing Handbooks and eBooks to your collection visit

Are you covered? Windsurf and SUP Insurance

As an RYA member if you selected windsurfing as one of your three areas of interest when you joined, you will have received a free Third Party liability certificate in your membership pack. But what does this mean in practice?

The key benefits is that you’re covered for liabilities for any injury you cause to another person or any damage done to their property when using your windsurf or stand-up paddleboard.

Paul Birch, Managing Director of Bishop Skinner Marine explains: “While injuries to people are, happily, infrequent, damage to property is more prevalent. Typically this damage might occur in a car park while putting your kit away or fixing it to the roof rack. Unsurprisingly, kit can be caught by the wind and when that happens, there might be another car in the way of the flying board.

“Usually claims are small, just a few hundred pounds for something like a broken wing mirror, but it is good to know you are covered with this excellent member benefit offered by the RYA.”

Cover isn’t limited to just your liability. If you loan a board to someone else, then they are covered too and vice versa; if you borrow a board from a friend and they don’t have insurance, the RYA insurance will cover liabilities while you’re using their kit.

However, it’s important to recognise the distinction between ‘borrow’ and ‘hire’. If you hire kit, it’s a commercial transaction and is not covered by the RYA policy. The shop or watersports centre should have cover for their kit and this includes liability incurred by someone using their boards. Borrowing, where no money changes hands, still keeps the cover in place.

If you need cover for damage to your kit, visit

For RYA members, when you tick you are a member it only offers the property damage cover so that you are not paying for liability cover twice.

Not an RYA member? Visit to join and start taking advantage of the many great benefits of membership.