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Windsurfing in Canada

Windsurfing in Canada is predominant on the Atlantic coast, the Pacific coast, and the Great Lakes region. Canadian windsurfing schools have been established at most major centers offering group sessions and individual windsurfing lessons. If you are visiting Canada, windsurfing equipment rentals are available. The coastal beaches in Canada provide an ideal setting for wavesailing and freestyle windsurfing.

The Great Lakes offer the best of both worlds. When the wind is blowing it can really bring up the surf and provide freestyle opportunities. On other days it is fairly calm and freeride windsurfing can be enjoyed. You will have to contend with other individuals that are swimming, kayaking, surfing, jet-skiing, or fishing in Canada.

Canadian Windsurfing Equipment
  • Freeride windsurfing boards are designed for recreational cruising in somewhat calmer waters. Mainly used by the weekend participant who is more interested in having some "fun in the sun" on the water than jumping waves and performing stunts. Freeride windsurfing boards generally come in the 90 to 170 litre range.
  • Formula windsurfing boards are used for racing.
  • Windsurfing wave boards as the name implies are used for breaking waves and performing stunts much like surfing in Canada. Wave boards are normally 230 to 260 cm long and 50 to 60 cm wide with a volume between 65 to 90 litres. When choosing a wave board, the general rule of thumb is to choose a board volume that is equal to your weight in kilograms.
  • Freestyle windsurfing boards are geared towards acrobatic-style jumps, twists, and other stunt riding. Freestyle boards are normally wider and of a higher volume than wave boards to provide greater maneuverability.
  • Beginner windsurfing boards are wider and of greater volume to enhance stability on the water when learning the sport. They are also known as funboards in some circles.
  • Windsurfing sails consist of two predominant designs – cambor-induced sails and rotational sails. Cambor-induced sails provide greater speed and stability but at the expense of decreased maneuverability. Those individuals that are into racing may opt for cambor-induced sails. Rotational sails offer less speed and stability but provide greater maneuverability.
  • Additional windsurfing equipment includes harness and lines, wetsuit or drysuit, helmet, and life vests or personal flotation device (PFD).
Windsurfing Competitions

The CMWA (Canadian Masters Windsurfing Association) Annual Championship will be held in Caraquet, New Brunswick from August 1st to August 3rd, 2009. The 2010 championship will be held in Dryden, Ontario.
  • Wavesailing is similar to surfing in that stunts are undertaken in the surf and points are awarded based on the execution by the windsurfer. It is normally judges on four stunts – two wave jumps and two wave rides.
  • Freestyle events are judged on originality and technique when performing tricks and stunts within a set time period.
  • Speed Racing or Speed Sailing involves windsurfing along a 500 metre or 1 nautical mile course. The windsurfer with the highest average speed over two runs or heats is declared the winner. The world record from 2008 is 90.91 kph or 56.49 mph.
  • Super X windsurfing competitions involve performing stunts (ala freestyle windsurfing) along a slalom course. Protective windsurfing equipment is required.
  • Slalom windsurfing competitions are similar to slalom skiing in Canada where competitors navigate around set marks or buoys in the best time possible.
  • Formula Windsurfing is operated by the International Sailing Federation. There are specific board and sail specifications that must be adhered to when competing. Races are normally held in open water unlike surf competitions.
  • Olympic Windsurfing has set conditions where windsurfers all use the same style of windsurfing boards for the competition. Windsurfing equipment is less of a factor in winning…technique is the deciding factor.
Canadian Windsurfing Schools

Canadian windsurfing schools offer instruction to beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders. If you’re new to the sport, rent your windsurfing equipment until you are sure that it is for you. Windsurfing lessons on DVD are available.
  • Kannon Beach Windsurfing School at Lawrencetown Beach in Nova Scotia provides beginner, intermediate, and advanced windsurfing lessons by experienced instructors. Windsurfing equipment includes the new ultra-wide "start and go" boards with lightweight sails.
  • Windsure Windsurfing School offers windsurfing lessons for all skill levels and provides one-on-one training for those looking for a personal touch. They also offer lessons in skimboarding and kiteboarding in Canada. Windsurfing equipment rentals are available.
  • The Toronto Windsurfing Club offers windsurfing lessons to its members. Junior, adult, and family memberships are available.
Windsurfing in Canada is enjoyed by individuals from all walks of life. It is an ideal way to enjoy a weekend afternoon or even better in the early morning before the crowds arrive. If you're new to Canadian windsurfing, take some windsurfing lessons from a qualified instructor. It can be a little difficult to learn at first; however, once you get the hang of it you'll have a blast.
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