The world of windsurfing, like many extreme sports, has a range of technical terms, vocabulary and new definitions. So, learning what everything means from a windsurfing glossary of terms can be very useful indeed when out on the water.
We’ve compiled this alphabetical windsurfing glossary of terms so that you can feel at home on your board and understand everything that’s being said. You can even drop in a few of your own windsurfing terms from time to time to impress your fellow sailors.
Riding at 90˚ to the wind direction.
The name given to a combination of true wind and induced wind.
A trick when the sailor launches the board off the lip of a wave and rotates backwards before landing and sailing away safely.
When the sail is drawn across the board and feels at its lightest.
The firm, yet flexible beams that give the sail its shape.
The technique of sailing straight off the beach in lower waters.
Sailing 90˚ away from that of the wind.
Steering the board in the opposite direction to where the wind is coming from.
Learned in GCSE geography, this is the international scale of wind strength ranging from 1 to 12.
Sailing quickly across the water.
The bar attached to the sail that you hold onto while sailing. One of the key things you need to know in any windsurfing glossary of terms.
Where the boom is attached to the sail.
Flexible shoes designed to wear in the water to protect your feet .
A direction that is around 135˚ away from the wind.
This foam filled vest is worn to keep you afloat in the water.
A style of rescue where the sail is laid flat on the back of the board and the sailor paddles to safety.
The act of being propelled forward off the board by the sail.
A high-wind planing gybe.
Centre of effort
The central point in the sail where most of your power comes from.
Centre of lateral resistance
The point in the board where the fin, daggerboard and wetted area keep the board steady and prevents sideways movements.
The imagined line that runs nose to tail through the board – used for balance.
Metal or plastic grip in the mastfoot or boom end to prevent line slippage.
Low rear corner of the sail that attaches to the boom.
A direction that’s 45˚ away from that of the wind.
Opposing the weight of the rig with your body.
This is when the wind is blowing directly across the shore.
The large, flat and retractable plate that prevents the board from moving sideways.
The top surface of the board
The rope that’s used to attach the tack of the sail to the mastfoot.
Someone or something that’s further away than you in the direction of the wind.
‘Ducking’ the sail to achieve a gybe.
Eye of the wind
An exact, twelve o’clock direction of wind.
A curved foil fastened to the underside of the board that gives you stability.
A point you’re aiming for when out on the water.
A large swell of water that’s travelled a long way.
A move that turns the nose of the board away from the wind.
The equipment by which the body is attached to the rig.
Steering the board to where the wind is coming from.
Attaching the harness to the lines.
A parallel or sideways motion along the line of the coast.
The underside of the board.
Indexed mast curve system (IMCS)
The system for measuring stiffness of the mast.
Wind created by forward motion of the board.
A running repair to enable a self-rescue.
A smooth airflow that runs across the sail, providing lift.
By keeping the rig lower in the water you can gybe tighter.
The trailing edge of the sail.
Part of the board sheltered from the wind.
Forward movement of board created by the force of the wind.
The tube located in the leading edge of the sail.
Changing course towards the wind.
An adjustable mastfoot.
A smaller tidal range caused by the moon being in a different phase.
The area 45˚ either side of the wind direction where it is impossible to sail.
Nose over toes
An upright stance where you keep you head over your feet.
A non-planing carve gybe.
When the wind is blowing directly off/on the shore.
The rope used to attach the clew of the sail to the end of the boom.
Obstructions on the seabed that causes the tide to be uplifted.
When your sail is too large for the wind conditions.
Reaching a speed where the board is in minimal contact with the water.
Sailing direction with the left side of your body furthest forward on the board.
The edge of the board.
A garment worn to protect against abrasion from salt, sand and board.
The assembly of sail, mast and boom.
The movement the rig makes in a gybe.
Battens are set rotating around the mast to create an aerofoil shape.
The direction around 180˚ from the wind.
The ‘engine’ of a windsurfing board and the first term you need to know in any windsurfing glossary of terms.
Different sized sets of sails.
The position assumed when sailing on the water.
When the sail has no power and the board is positioned across the wind.
To pull the boom back, down and in.
The footwork carried out during a transition.
When you lose your grip and the board slides out sideways from under you.
Sailing direction with right side of body furthest forward on the board.
When heading upwind, the type of gybe used in strong winds.
Turning with the nose being taken through the wind.
The movement of water in a vertical direction.
A small hole in the front of the board for towing purposes.
Judging a position by lining up two objects.
The act of carrying out a gybe or tack.
The prevailing wind when you are standing still on the board.
Unequal flow through the sail of the board.
Sails that have larger luff tubes to hold the batten against the mast.
Universal joint (UJ)
The part of the mastfoot which allows for flexible movement of the rig.
The elastic rope that allows you to pull the sail out of the water.
A position closer to the source of the wind than your own.
The size and direction of waves caused by the wind.
The side of your board that is closer to the wind, opposite of leeward (see earlier in windsurfing glossary of terms).
Well done for making it to the end of this windsurfing glossary of terms! If you were unsure of any terminology, now you know…. If there is anything we should add to this windsurf glossary then please leave a comment.