Windsurfing is a potentially dangerous sport. In fact it is considered an extreme sport for a reason. That reason is mainly the fact that it is carried out in an environment we cannot control, namely the sea, lake, etc. Other sports offer security in terms of reduced risk of injury or equipment failure. Risk is the relation between the probability of something negative happening and the severity of the consequences of it happening. Both these factors are pretty high in windsurfing as we are traveling at important speeds, using gear that is subjected to high stresses and are in an environment that is not exactly a good place to be in if injured or with broken equipment. I know I would rather have a broken leg or be unconscious (not that I want any of these…) on firm land than in water.
Despite this fact, safety is often disregarded. I must confess that I am guilty of not sailing with a helmet or a lifejacket, sailing in offshore winds and not inspecting the gear properly before every use. That being said, my home spot tends to have side-onshore winds, an effective rescue service and waters full with other sailors. In any case it is important to know what can go wrong and make sure to take precautions to minimize the probability of it occurring and to reduce the graveness of the consequences if it does happen. (more…)