Windsurfing is a great activity to experience if you're camping along France's western Atlantic coast, and is actually a very family-friendly pursuit. While it may appear intimidating at first, almost anyone can have a go, provided you can swim and are comfortable in water.
It's also not nearly as expensive as you might think if you hire equipment rather than buying your own - something best left to the enthusiast. So if you're raring to have a go, that's great. But it's definitely worth reading up on the basics first and arranging a lesson or two, with an accredited instructor.
Like most sports - on water or on land - the lingo involved can be confusing to an outsider, so we've taken the liberty of defining some of the terms you're most likely to hear below:
Stance - The position in which you stand on the board. Beginners are urged to ensure they remain 'nose over toe', or in other words, keep their head in line with their feet, to avoid shifting their weight either too far forward or too far backward.
Tacks - A type of turning manoeuvre in which you position the nose of the board into the wind. More advanced techniques such as helicopter tacks are based on this same principle and are a key part of freestyle wind surfing.
Gybes - A turn similar to a tack, except this time the nose of the board is taken out of the wind. There are many types of gybes with one of the first manoeuvres to master the duck gybe, which is a gybe turn achieved by ducking the sail out of the wind.
Transitions - The act of alternating between tacks and gybes. By moving in and out of the prevailing winds, it is possible to move in almost any direction. Effectively by transitioning, you are zig-zagging in a line across the water.
Planing - When you achieve sufficient speed that your board can travel with only minimal contact with the water below, skimming over the top of it rather than sailing through it, much like a speed boat.
Cross wind - There are many different wind directions to think about when surfing. A cross wind involves travelling at a 90 degree angle to the prevailing wind direction. You will also hear people talking about onshore wind, which is when the wind is travelling perpendicular to the shoreline.
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