Can You Surf On A Windsurf Board? - Green Iguana Surf Camp

Can You Surf On A Windsurf Board?

In short, the answer is yes, you can feasibly surf using a windsurf board. However, there are many factors that you need to consider before jumping on your board and giving it a go.

Can You Surf On a Windsurf Board?

As with all extreme sports, trying something that is a little outside the box should be attempted with proper caution, safety precautions, and an appropriate level of experience, knowledge, and skill. Of course, a good helping of courage and confidence goes a long way too!

How Are Surfboards And Windsurf Boards Different?

While both surfboards and windsurf boards follow the same basic design principles due to their similar uses, there is still a vast amount of small, but significant differences between the two types of boards.

It is important to consider these differences and the potential impact they could have while surfing with a windsurf board.


A windsurf board is typically larger in dimensions than a surfboard. Having to accommodate a heavier weight and larger equipment while in the water requires windsurf boards to have a larger surface area over the water.

The main issue with these larger dimensions when thinking about surfing with a windsurf board is whether you would be able to paddle out to the surf if required. 


As well as being dimensionally larger than a surfboard, windsurf boards also carry much more volume with them. A typical windsurf board is about twice the thickness of a basic surfboard.

However, depending on what you want to get from surfing on a windsurf board, this could be an advantage. The thicker the board, the more buoyant it is, therefore the faster it can surf. 

Location Limitations

A final main difference between surfboards and windsurf boards is the locations in which they can be used. Obviously, a windsurf board can be used on a flat body of water and requires no waves.

A surfboard on the other hand cannot be used in such water as it is powered by waves. Similarly, a windsurf board cannot be used on small, rocky beach breaks or dry reefs because of the amount of space they need to maneuver. 

What Is The Proper Body Positioning?

As with the physical differences between surfboards and windsurf boards, there are differences in the way they are used, even when using them for the same purpose.  

When you are surfing on a surfboard, the majority of the time on the board is spent in the prone position, with a standing position only required when actively catching a wave.

When using a windsurfing board to surf, it is possible to remain standing for the entirety of the activity provided you have mastered the art of using the sail to get past the impact zone.

While actively catching a wave on a windsurf board, body positioning will be similar to that of a surfboard user, and very similar to the body positioning technique used while windsurfing on flat bodies of water. 

What Is The Proper Technique?

The best way to describe the proper technique for surfing on a windsurf board is: if there is a will, there is a way.

Chances are if you are a skilled and experienced surfer or windsurfer you will be able to master the art of surfing with a windsurf board.

There is no real guidebook for this, but with a strong base of knowledge and a passion for trial and error, it is possible to find the best transferrable skills to make it work.  

Just remember that both surfboards and windsurf boards are designed for the same thing, to be maneuverable and stable on water.

It does not matter whether the intended purpose was to power the board by wind, not waves. The disposition of the windsurf board is similar enough to that of a surfboard that anything is possible.

What Sort Of Wave Is Best For Windsurf Board Surfing?

It would be easy to assume that a board that was designed to work well on calm, flat waters might prefer small, playful waves when used as a surfboard. That would be inaccurate. 

People who surf with windsurf boards, tend to opt for larger waves, partly due to the size of the boards which lends itself to tackling larger surfs.

Can You Surf On a Windsurf Board?

There is even a subgroup of wave sailing thrill-seekers who hunt down colossal 50-80 foot waves on which to surf with their windsurf boards.

Of course, this is all dependent on your skill level and experience, don’t push yourself beyond your limits. The ocean is a cruel mistress, even if you are an experienced windsurfer, catching waves is a very different skill set.

Why Do People Think You Can’t Surf With A Windsurf Board?

There are many people, especially within the watersport community who will tell you that surfing with a windsurf board simply can’t be done. We know that that is untrue, so why do they think that? 

 First off, there is the name. A windsurf board sounds like it does what it says on the tin, it surfs using the wind. People aren’t wrong to think that, it is after all, what the board was primarily designed for. However, it is a vast underestimation of what the board is capable of.

As we mentioned before, the basic design of surfboards and windsurf boards are extremely similar, minus the rig of the windsurf board. This surely means that the logical conclusion is that, while it may be difficult, it is of course possible to surf with a windsurf board. 

Secondly, because of the added complication of wind in the sail, while catching a wave, an already complex sport can be rendered seemingly impossible. Particularly to those who have never windsurfed.

The fact of the matter is that those who are experienced in using the wind to their advantage on flat water, can and do learn to use or respond to the wind while surfing a wave. This may be a difficult task, and if you’re going to try, be prepared to bail a lot, but it isn’t at all impossible. 

The truth is, as long as you have a suitable location to surf on your windsurf board and appropriate weather conditions, there is no reason why you can’t give it a go.  

Final Thoughts

There are many factors that suggest that surfing on a windsurf board just shouldn’t work. It’s too big, its rig is cumbersome, and it’s designed for use in different conditions.

Yet somehow, talented windsurfers around the world make it work, and make it look fun and exciting too! While surfing with a windsurf board is certainly not for everyone, it certainly isn’t for no one either, if you feel confident enough and are up for the challenge, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try. 

Fundamentally, windsurf boards and surfboards are the same. Sure, they have their differences and one is certainly easier to use for surfing than the other, but that doesn’t make it impossible. After all, taking something that is purpose-built and using it for something else is entirely human.

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