For many people, when the weather turns warm their thoughts turn to outdoor recreation. A great many outdoor recreation enthusiasts seek out activities that can be done on or near the rivers, lakes and oceans that are suited for outdoor sports. One of the most popular outdoor water recreation sports that people participate in is windsurfing. Windsurfers utilize a sailboard with a sail and mast attached to it with a u-joint to steer themselves, powered by the wind, across a body of water. The sport of windsurfing is often described as the perfect combination of sailing and surfing as the sail powers the surfer and his board, but the steering and maneuvering is controlled by the surfer’s positioning and manipulations of the sail and board. Windsurfing did not emerge as a widely participated form of recreation until it debuted in many markets in the late 1960s. The sport exploded in popularity during the 1980s and is now enjoyed by many people who cite their love for it based on the closeness they reach with the body of water, the excitement of the sport itself and the seclusion it offers as it is a sport that is usually enjoyed by one person by themselves.
There are a number of areas of the world where windsurfing is popular. In theory all that is needed for windsurfing is the equipment, a body of water and a good supply of wind. The most desirous attribute in a windsurfing location that most windsurfers seek is good consistent wind supply. Fewer things frustrate a windsurfer more than inconsistent winds that are great one moment and then die off to nothing the next. Here is a look at ten great windsurfing locations on the West Coast of the United States.
1. The Columbia River Gorge, particularly near The Dalles and Hood River on the border of Washington and Oregon. The Gorge is one of the most popular windsurfing locations in the country and there are numerous sites up and down the Columbia River that are popular with windsurfers.
2. Lake Chelan, a 51 mile long lake in North Central Washington State. One of the great qualities about Lake Chelan is that it is one of the more secluded locations for windsurfing in the area and is therefore less crowded.
3. Port Angeles, Washington. Near Cline Split, a popular sandbar location on the northern shore of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
4. Oceanside, Oregon on the northern end of the beautiful Oregon Coast. Usually a very secluded area for those that enjoy wave surfing.
5. Florence, Oregon. Two great locations in the immediate area including the Rock Dock and the South Jetty.
6. Odell Lake in the Cascade Mountains. A great high altitude location, surfers find the Sunset Cove location best.
7. Boca Reservoir, California. Other locations conveniently nearby include Stampede Reservoir, Donner Lake and North Lake Tahoe. Another benefit to windsurfing on Boca Reservoir is that it is located very near to Reno, Nevada.
8. Limantour Beach, California. Located in the popular Point Reyes National Seashore area near San Francisco, there are a number of other popular windsurfing sites nearby including Tubamancha, Palo Marin and Grassy Point on Tomales Bay.
9. Lake Perris State Recreation Area, California. Located just east of Los Angeles on beautiful Lake Perris.
10. Grand Caribe Shoreline Park, California. Located in San Diego, Grand Caribe Shoreline Park sits on a protected side of the Silver Strand Peninsula. Other popular windsurfing locations nearby include Coronado Ferry Landing, Stinky Cove and Crown Point.
There are a number of ways to enjoy the sport of windsurfing. While far and away the most popular way is as an individual outdoor recreation activity, there are also a number of places in the world that hold windsurfing competitions. Windsurfers can compete in a number of windsurfing disciplines including slalom, super x, speed sailing, wave and freestyle. Whatever the discipline and whether or not the windsurfer surfs competively or just for their own enjoyment, it is clear that windsurfing has developed rather quickly from a relatively new activity to a sport with a big enough following that it has been competed in at the Olympic level. There is no sign of the popularity of windsurfing lagging or decreasing any time soon. Windsurfing is here to stay and every windsurfer on the planet has their own favorite location to participate in their water recreation of choice.