A few weeks ago I was teaching a girl windsurfing. She really enjoyed the first lessons. After a couple of hours she was proud to sail up and down the lake by herself. Then she saw my car with all my equipment. Multiple boards, couple of sails and mast that come with them, a boom and a crate with mast extension, base plate, extra harness lines etc. What does all of that cost? She asked?
What does windsurfing cost? Based on Amazon prices, buying a complete windsurf (beginner) set costs about $3407, if you buy separated parts. You can buy a complete rig for $848 and that lowers the total amount by $466. This is just one board with one rig, a wetsuit and shoes. Here is what a bill might look like:
- Board+fin $1700
- Sail $700
- Mast $300
- Boom $195
- Mast base $64
- Extension $55
- Suit 3/2mm $125
- Harnass $200
- Harnass lines $22
- Shoes $26
- Uphaul $20
That is a lot of cash that I would like to spend wisely!
Many windsurfers buy gear without having an exact idea about how to get the most fun per dollar. There is actually a lot to choosing the right combination of board(s) and sail(s). It is easy to spend money inefficiently. Have you ever considered a combination of renting and buying to save costs and boost fun?
What does windsurfing cost?
This blog is about what windsurfing cost. I will share my knowledge of three scenario’s and their costs. Renting equipment, for example has different cost than buying it. If you have your own board and sail they might not be ideal for your holiday spot. So renting instead of travelling with your boards could not only lower costs but also help to get more fun. Even if you have your own kit.
I wrote another blog about how to choose the right equipment that can be helpful choosing between taking your kit with you on your surf trips or renting locally. Click here to read it.
Let’s get on with the three scenario’s!
1) Cost for a beginner in need of a lesson
The first scenario is that you are a beginner, you want lessons and you need to rent kit for that. I will tell you some rates I came across. Renting a board and a sail can cost between $15 and €31 per hour. If you have somebody that is qualified to teach you than these are the cost for just renting.
You can also book lessons that include gear. I came across prices around $250 for 8 hours per person in Australia. Also I found prices like €40 for a one hour introduction lesson or €60 euro for a deal that contained 1 hour of instruction and one bonus hour of free windsurfing included. This was in Europe, also in 2018. It might pay off if you do some online research for the area where you want to go have your lessons.
2) Costs of buying the best windsurfing equipment for you
The second scenario is that you are able to windsurf safely without an instructor and you have to pick the best kit for your home spot. In this case I will talk about the cost and give a few hint to get more value for money. This is the biggest part of the blog since prices can vary enormously. You can spend more than $900,- on one mast or buy 3 masts for that cash. What is the best option and why? What does this mean for the sails you can use? The same goes for sails. I can buy two new ones for $700 each or get three occasions or ‘last years models’for the same amount. Again I will not just give a few numbers but talk about the what and why also.
3) Costs involved renting for holiday spots
The third scenario is that you are in scenario two, and you go on an windsurf trip with conditions that are different than your local spot. Of course I talk about cost here. Moreover I share a few experiences that might come in handy for you. It is important to understand what you rent and why because the board that fits your needs perfectly on your home spot might not be the best choice on the vacation spot you dreamt of. It needs to be said that often rental stations offer better deals if you rent more. This is an example that I came across at the Canary Islands in 2018:
- €31 per hour
- €35 for 2 hours
- €41 for a day
- €74 for 2 days
- Up to 14 days for €315
Additional cost for windsurfing.
Digging deeper in to the subject I feel I must also share a few thoughts on additional cost. In the last two decades I have owned, sold or crashed 8 boards and more than 10 sails. Buying them is one thing but if you buy a new one there might be value lift in your old one. My experience is that it’s is best to sell kit via e-commerce platforms like eBay. I always try to avoid being overoptimistic about the revenue. Sails that I bought for about $600 sold for less that $100 six years later. Depreciation is a cost factor matter to be reckoned with.
Apart from depreciation I find travel cost always something that often surprise me. If you can’t stuff al your kit in your car, a roof rack can be a relatively cost efficient solution. A quick glance on Amazon shows that prices about $70 are not rare. Once you have one, perhaps you want to stuff all your kit on the roof. In addition a board bag and a sail bag that can hold masts etc too can be helpful. These can add an additional $100 – $250 to the bill. To me they always have been of great value. Including a few good and safe straps to make sure you arrive with everything you left with can save a lot of cost and trouble.
How to lower cost and get more fun per dollar
As I said earlier, I wrote another blog about picking the right kit. Just because reading the above might have made you curious I mention a few things here that are directly related to cost. The most important thing when buying windsurf equipment is to make sure it fits your level and needs and fit in with the other kit you have. If a good sail is rigged with a boom that is just an inch to short, that can destroy it’s performance.
I always make sure that I carefully choose stuff based on the factory recommendations. Masts have a typical bending curve (flextop/hardtop) and a stiffness. The right sail with a mast that is too stiff, too long or with the wrong bending characteristics will lose a lot of performance.
So you can lower costs, for example, by buying sails that all fit within the range of your boom. That way you can save money because you only need one boom for multiple sails.
Almost the same goes for masts. Different sail sizes might require different mast lengths, but I have chosen mast with a certain bending curve and now I only buy sails that are made for that curve.
What does windsurfing for kids cost?
Windsurfing for kids, especially when they start, doesn’t have to be as expensive as the cost for adults. The prices mentioned for lessons in scenario 1 will apply for kids too. There are special summercamps (at least in Europe) were kids have one week of windsurfing lessons in small groups. I have found prices of about €565 per child in the age range of 11-18 years. This incudes staying over the whole week, meals, lessons, equipment etc.
If you teach your kids yourself than a inflatable windsurf / StandUpPaddleboard (SUP) can be very cost efficient. I found an online offer from Z-Ray $640,86. It includes board, complete sail, paddle, pump and travelbag.
Can I get insurance for my windsurfing equipment? Yes. Windsurf insurance can be bought. I have seen insurances online that include theft, fire or even damage if you use somebody else his kit. A piece of advice that might lower your cost to finish this blog. A guy I had a chat with on the beach told me that he wrecked his board. He had no insurance for windsurfing kit. But. His normal travel insurance covered a part of the repair because he had rented a loft near the ocean for his midweek of surfing. So, checking the insurances you already have might save a few dollars.
**Picking the first or second item that showed up and if there was a range like $99-145, I just averaged it like $125. There also was an online offer for a complete (beginner) rig for $848. Saves you 1314-848= 466. Read more about price /quality / fun in the blog. Prices / availability may vary over time.
Disclaimer: these are just my experiences and some knowledge I found through (online) research and chats with other windsurfers as an indication on the subject. You always remain responsible for your own financial decisions and the consequences.