Carrying our windsurfing equipment can be one of the most annoying hassles of the sport if we don’t know how to do it right. Time and again I have seen people carry their windsurf gear in such inefficient ways that this aspect definitely deserves an article. Most of it is common sense but when you are used to a certain way of doing things or don’t adapt your carrying method to the type of equipment and the environment, you will certainly create a habit where you are going to waste a lot o energy in the process of getting your rigged gear to and from the water.
With enough wind
Above a certain wind speed this method is possible and even if we hardly have any wind, if we run or walk fast we can generate enough aparent wind to make this work.
We can position the sail holding the lower end of the mast and the boom close to the mast or over our heads with one hand on the mast (or boom close to the mast) and the boom. In both of these methods it is important that we keep in mind that tge wind is to do ALL the work. We only need to position the sail correctly relative to the wind. In fact, we literally only need to use TWO FINGERS to carry the sail in wind. If we need more than that, we are doing something wrong. Important to keep in mind is that the mast needs to be on the wind side with the mast foot being slightly more upwind than the boom, and slightly (5 cm, 2 in) more elevated.
With little to no wind
When we have very little wind we won’t have any help from the elements to lift the sail. However, as I mentioned earlier, we can create our own wind by walking fast or running.
Over the head
As with the method with wind, we can balance the sail over our head. One hand will be on the mast and the other in the sail with a flat hand so as to hold it with the maximum surface of the hand. The smaller the hand surface, the more we damage the sail.
DO NOT pull the sail down onto your head!
Our heads have a pretty small surface due to its round shape. The weight of the sail alone laying on top of our heads shouldn’t damage it. However, it we pull the sail down, it’s tge same as if we were standing on it when laying on the ground. At some point it will deform the plastic/cloth/monofilm of the sail.
Big Boards – One person
If you are strong enough you can lift the board under your arm by grabbing hold of the daggerboard or the daggerboard slot. Just make sure you keep the board on the lee side (downwind of your body) as this way the board is not pressing against you and you can let it swing away from your body, especially useful in the gusts.
(Board on the lee side)
Over the head
If we need to go upwind we can carry the board on our head (going across the wind or downwind like this can be tricky).
Remember, the board is heavy and has a large surface which means you can easily hurt yourself and others if you lose control of it due to the wind knocking it out of your hands.
Big Boards – Two people
Large boards are easy to carry between two people since the weight is distributed. The best method is for one person to grab the fin (the board positioned so that the fin is pointing away from the body) and the second person carrying the bow. As mentioned before, it is best if the board is carried on the lee side of the body to make up for the wind pushing the board. Also, when walking in line with the wind, the end with the fin (stern) should be pointing windward.
If you are privileged enough to have access to one of these, be sure to use it. It makes your life so much easier. Strap the boards on so that the eind doesn’t blow them off and hurt you or someone else in the process.
Although small boards are lighter and easier to carry than beginner boards, there are indeed ways to carry them that are impracticable and make life hard on us. Here are the methods of how to carry them correctly.
Fin to wind
Before we begin with all the ways, one thing to keep in mind is to always carry the board with the fin end pointing to the wind. This is the position that the board turns to naturally if we carry it at its centre of gravity. It may seem common sense to avoid using energy to fight the wind but I see this a lot on the beach.
Board on the lee side
The other thing to keep in mind is to carry the board on the lee side of our body. This way the wind doesn’t push us sideways but rather we can let the board be lifted by the wind and thereby be less heavy.
Under the arm
Nowadays, with the boards being wider and shorter rather than long and slender, this option of carrying the board in the same fashion as a regular sure board is not always possible.
Grab the lower footstrap and have the other on rest on your forearm. This keeps the board vertical.
Footstrap + mastfoot
Again, keep in mind not to fight against the wind.
Board and Sail Combination
Footstrap + Boom
This is the method I find the best and recommend. It is the one where we have the most control over the gear and so the safest. It is also the one that requires the least energy.
Footstrap + Boom (low wind alternative)
Although it looks similar to the previous one, it is prone to lack of control because the board can start to flap about over the arm holding the footstrap. HOwever, with low wind it is a lilttle easier to carry the gear if it is heavy.
Over the head back footstrap and mast
This consists of holding the mast underneath the boom, leaning the sail on top of your head and the other hand holding the back footstrap. The only time this one is practical is when we have to walk directly upwind. However, even then I recommend the first option as we will always have more control over our gear.
I have seen other methods of carrying the gear but to me they are not the way to go as they are cumbersome and offer less control. If you have any other methods to add, please let me know in the comments.