Lessons For Beginners
If you're completely new to sailing or windsurfing, you're in good company. Most CSC members have no sailing and windsurfing experience when they first join, and the club members who volunteer to teach can still remember being complete newbies.
Our lessons emphasize safety (Personal Flotation Devices must be worn), self reliance (rating tests include self rescue and anchoring/capsize recovery), and minimizing environmental impact (least possible use of motors, bottom paint, non-recyclables).
Beginning Windsurfing Lessons are given on Saturday mornings from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm (April through October) and Sunday mornings from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm (May- October) except in no wind and cold weather. To take a windsurfing lesson, arrive at the club before 10:30 am on Saturday (April - October) and 10:30 am on Sunday (May - October) and sign-up in the clubhouse. Because there is a limited amount of equipment, the class is limited to the first 20 people who sign up, so get to the club early!Beginning windsurfing lessons begin with an orientation given on the astroturf-covered rigging area behind the clubhouse promptly at 10:30 am--don’t be late:^). Using a simulator (turntable with a windsurfing board and sail strapped to it), the instructors will demonstrate how to get up onto the board, raise the sail out of the water, get in the best stance (foot placement, body posture) for sailing, steer the board to turn upwind and downwind, and tack and jibe. The students then get a chance to try these drills before going out on the water.
After the orientation, club members can put on wetsuits and PFD's and go out on the water for an hour of practice on club boards and sails. The boards are wide and stable, and the sails are small and light. Instructors go out with the students on motorboats, kayaks, and/or other windsurf boards to offer advice and tips.
After the orientation and on-water practice, the students can take the open-book written test and the self-rescue (paddling) test to get their Novice rating. This allows them to go back out on the water in a sheltered area to practice more. Once they've mastered sailing in wind and waves on big boards in the sheltered Novice area, they can get the Junior Windsurfer rating that allows them to go out even further for bigger wind and waves on smaller boards.
The Sunday lessons may cover advanced beginner and intermediate topics in addition to beginner topics. The Sunday lessons are just starting, and will be more tailored to the audience than the Saturday lesson. Depending on class size and previous experience, the Sunday class may be split into beginner and intermediate groups to focus on particular topics. Here are some of the topics covered:
Beginner topics (covered Saturday and Sunday)
- Land and water safety and CSC orientation
- Getting on and off the water
- Points of sail
- Uphauling, stance, and balance
- Powering-up, steering, tacking, and jibing
Advanced beginner / intermediate topics (covered Sunday depending on audience skill level/experience)
- More efficient sailing, staying upwind
- Sailing using smaller boards and bigger sails
- Dealing with heavier wind/chop and overpowered conditions
- Rigging and (advanced) self-rescue
- Improved sailing stance/technique
- Fast-tacking on smaller boards
- Using the harness and footstraps
- Water starts
- Clew-first sailing (low-wind jibe practice)
- Backwind sailing and heli-tacking
- Planing jibes
If you want to get the most out of your windsurfing lessons, read Bill Prinzmetal's How to Windsurf guide here on this website! Also read the CSC Introduction to Windsurfing handbook, you'll need it to pass the Novice and Jr Windsurfer written tests.
Windsurfing Teachers: check out our lesson plan for Novice Windsurfers!
Intermediate and Advanced Lessons
Intermediate Windsurfing Classes are given periodically and cover such topics as high wind sailing stance (on-land simulator), sail rigging, waterstarts, planing jibe (on-land simulator), and safety equipment (what to take when you venture out on your own). Seminars are open to the general public, and club members are eligible to take the on-water clinics such as waterstarting.
CSC is a wonderful and safe place to learn sailing and windsurfing. All instruction includes a thorough discussion of key safety equipment and practices before getting on the water. This includes understanding and using basic safety equipment such as personal flotation devices (PFDs) and wetsuits, helping students check and set up equipment, understanding right-of-way rules and best practices, learning to use the buddy and the check-out/check-in systems at CSC so no one goes unaccounted, understanding that being on the water while impaired with alcohol or drugs poses a serious risk, identifying area boundaries and physical hazards, and understanding self-rescue and distress signaling practices including VHF marine radio and cellphone options.
You don't need to be a strong swimmer, as you will be wearing a life vest (PFD) any time you are near the water, including walking on the dock. When you are windsurfing, you have to wear a wetsuit and PFD, so you are very buoyant and don't need to swim. You should be comfortable in the water with a PFD, since you will fall in a lot.