Healthy Obsession: Windsurfing

What do you get when you combine sailing and surfing? Windsurfing of course!

Doug Moline and his family share their love of the wind and the waves.

How did you and your family get into windsurfing? Are there age restrictions?

We each got into the sport in different ways. I grew up racing sailboats and windsurfing became a way to test my skills as a sailor and as an athlete. My wife, Jill, was 26 when she started and although she didn’t know how to sail, she was able to successfully manage the windsurfing equipment. Windsurfing has no age restrictions. In fact, I’ve had friends in their 80s that windsurf while my daughter had her first experience at age 5.

Where do you windsurf?
My family and I like to windsurf together in Lake Michigan; Hood River, Ore.; Kenosha, Wisc.; Cape Hatteras, N.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Cocoa Beach, Fla.

What advice would you give a rookie?
Find someone other than your significant other to teach you. For instance, Northwestern offers windsurfing lessons during the summer. Look for package deals on boards and sails and be sure to purchase newer equipment. The equipment today is much more user friendly than the equipment from the 80s.

What kind of gear do you need?
There are lots of entry-level board and rig combinations. As you improve, the sport can become more specialized. For instance, when I sail at Hood River I have three different boards and six sails along with masts and booms that I use just for high winds.

What do you love most about the sport?
I’ve sailed all types of boats but when I windsurf I feel more in tune with my surrounding environment. Windsurfing improves your balance and core strength. It requires you to watch the wind on the water and make continual adjustments to the conditions. When I’m on a 50 foot sailboat, I can feel the displacement of water from the boat, but when I’m windsurfing my feet are just inches off the water and there’s an immediate reaction as I’m trimming my sail. It’s just my board and me, a sail, and the elements.

Photos courtesy of Doug Moline