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WWindsurfing in South Africa has been growing in popularity since it first caught on during the early '80s. Today this fast surfing-cum-sailing pursuit is one of the more popular fresh and saltwater board sports.
With its large coastline and bounty of rivers, dams and lakes, windsurfing was destined to become a favourite sport among South Africans.
With its strong summer winds, Cape Town is arguably South Africa's premiere windsurfing destination, with Blouberstrand in particular attracting windsurfers from around the world.
West coast towns such as Langebaan are also very popular. The Western Cape’s most famous wind is nicknamed the ‘Cape Doctor’ and it blows in a south-easterly direction with regularity from November to April peaking in the months of January and February.
Windsurfing entails the use of a long surfboard with mast and sail attached. The windsurfer harnesses the wind to steer the board over the water at speed. Accomplished riders are able to execute amazing jumps and tricks and attain remarkable speeds, depending on wind conditions.
It is easier to master the basics of windsurfing on a dam rather than in the ocean, due to the flatter water and lack of waves. Ocean windsurfing is technically more demanding and better suited to advanced riders. All that is required when starting out is a fair breeze sufficient to fill the large sail.
Windsurfing tours provide an ideal opportunity to learn this challenging sport. Most tours include tuition, accommodation and catering as part of a windsurfing holiday package. There's no need to outlay for a board either, as equipment is provided.
Windsurfing was invented in the 1970s, peaking in popularity in the 1980s. It should not be confused with kiteboarding which followed in the 1990s. Since they have sails twice as big as windsurfers, kiteboarders can jump higher and ‘hang' in the air for longer.