To progress quickly it is important to have the right board und sail. Modern equipment is far superior to old, heavy boards and shaky sail constructions. At this, it's not about performance, but first of all about easy handling, comfort and controllability.
If only setting up the rig costs you more nerve than a world championship final, the pleasure of surfing won't last long. Learning success is also a long time coming if a 25 kilogram board from the attic wouldn't go into a turn if it was to save one's life, and a 15 year old sail mutates into an uncontrollable tarpaulin with just slightly increasing wind speeds.
That is the reason why starting windsurfing with daddy's old board and coloured triangular sail from the bulky waste is utterly not to be recommended. You want to have fun on the water, learn to windsurf and advance preferably fast. For this, you need an appropriate board and a fitting sail.
Generally, you get professional advice in every good surf shop. However, the assortment is huge, and the various models are especially hard to class for beginners. Because of that, we give you a rough overview of which board and which sail are recommendable in which conditions and with your body weight in the section "Equipment".
Here are the most important reference points in advance:
1. The board should, first of all, be big enough for you. If you just drown with it, you can't advance. Your body weight is decisive for the size of your board. It's not about the length or the width of the board, but, above all, about the volume.
How many weight your board is able to bear namely depends on its volume. One litre of board volume displaces one litre of water and thus bears one kilogram of weight. What does the board have to be capable of bearing to not drown, though? The answer is simple: Everything! The board needs to bear your body weight, but also your wetsuit, the whole rig plus the own weight of the board.
Here's a sample calculation: 85 kg body weight + 7 kg rig weight + 2 kg wetsuit + 12 kg board weight = 106 kg. So, the board would, including the water in your suit and on your sail, need to have about 110 litres of volume to just about not drown.
However, for you to stand securely on your board it should moreover dispose of some excess volume. For beginners, the rule of thumb is that the excess volume should be about the amount of your own body weight. In our example, the board should in conclusion have a volume of about 195 litres.
The diagram below gives you a guideline of which volume class is appropriate for your body weight. The board types that are adequate for beginners and upcomers are presented in the section "Your First Board".
2. Considering the sail, it's about the size in the first place. Again, your body weight is decisive, together with the power of the wind. The more you weight, the bigger your sail has to be in order to generate sufficient thrust. The stronger the wind is, the smaller can be the sails to provoke this thrust. So with identical wind, light surfers go out with a smaller sail than heavier athletes. If the wind gets noticeably stronger, both would sometime change to a smaller sails.
Modern sails have a very wide range of use. That means that one can already surf with them with little wind but still control them in much more powerful wind. That way, one can cover the complete wind range with just a few sails. For beginners and advanced surfers, one or two sails thus normally suffice to cover the ideal wind range from two to five Bft.
The above graphics give you the necessary indications on which sail sizes fit your body weight with which wind. The sail types that are appropriate for beginners and upcomers are explained in the section "Your First Rig".