I started sailing when we moved by the sea and came up through the RYA Squads before moving into RS500 and then 49er. When I went to university I couldn't justify keeping the 49er so I crossed over to windsurfing, joining my brother and making a great bunch of friends. The whole community is unbelievably warm and welcoming, someone will always lend you some kit and a word or two of advice, plus the sport itself seemingly has no limits! The learning curve is severe but your first time planing will have you hooked, nailing carve gybes is always satisfying, bottom turning a wave connects you to your environment in such a unique way and landing a forward loop is one of the best, most adrenaline fuelled feelings you can have. If any of this is gobbledegook get on to YouTube immediately!
For me good boots are one of the most important things. If they turn over, balloon with water or let your feet get cold it's really going to impact your balance, getting in the straps, tuning and steering. Therefore, I think it's well worth going for the top boots within your budget. I've picked the Rip Curl FlashBomb Hidden Split Toe as I've found them to be the best at avoiding rolling and ballooning. Your feet stay not only warm, but they remain comfortable and the sole is nice and thin on the 5mm version, which gives great board feel. It's an investment, but it's night and day, and I guarantee you'll never look back!
Arm pump is still a thing. Even with skinny booms, more flexible gloves, and wetsuits. Most windsurfers still can't get away with wearing proper gloves, as the neoprene makes you grip harder, which in turn causes debilitating cramps in your forearms - often encouraging your best T-Rex impression and leaving you immobile (seriously it can stop you from being able to use your arms and hands properly which is scary!). Despite myths that palm-less mitts don't keep you warm, my buddies and I find they make a huge difference, notably keeping the wind chill off. The Mystic Open Palm Mitten also have a nice thermal lining in the back keeping your hands toasty.
Hoods are great for winter warmth - but they're also quite claustrophobic and limit your wind awareness. If you can put up with it, it's worth it, but a great compromise is the neoprene beanie. The neoprene stops it from getting soggy and falling over your eyes and doesn't absorb any water. You'll get a surprising amount of warmth from it, no discomfort at all, and they look great!
It's a great sport that you feel lucky to be part of and I would recommend it to anyone.
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