Welcome to windsurfing! Here is a little intro on what to expect from our beginner lessons in windsurfing. A successful first day depends on correct equipment and suitable weather conditions. Big Winds is proud to offer one of the largest fleets of beginner equipment suitable for ages 7 to adult in the Gorge!
For the Beginner Lessons we offer a great sailing location protected from the river by a jetty forming almost a natural little lagoon in the river. This sailing site otherwise known as the "Hook" is located just west of the Hood River water front park. With our full time staff of experienced dedicated windsurfing instructors, learning to windsurf will be easy and fun. Our small group sizes (4/instructor) allow for each student to progress at their own rate as quickly and as is comfortable for them.
Upon arriving at our lesson center you will be greeted by our Big Winds equipment techs who will then help size you with wetsuits, life vest, helmets, booties and harness for your lesson. For each lesson we give you specialized beginner's boards that are strong and stable along with small light sails. Our instructors select a sail for each individual student based on each individuals height, weight and strength matched with wind strength for that given day.
Now that you are all geared up for the lesson your instructor will take you to your equipment and go over a quick dry land theory lesson. The instructor will explain where to sail, how wind works and what to look for. Your instructor will also tell you how to align your board to the wind, how to pull up the sail otherwise known as 'up-hauling', turning and sailing techniques. Once you have completed the dry land portion of the lesson you will be guided out onto the water by your instructor.
Starting in shallow water, and with the aid of the instructor holding onto your board, you will learn to up haul the sail and balance on your board. This is a great way to learn the optimal sailing stance for success. From there you will learn how to apply the sailing techniques you have just learned about on dry land. Our instructors are right by your side with constant feedback and encouragement helping you along the way as you progress. By the end of your first lesson you will be able to up haul the sail, sail back and forth, turn and be ready for more!