For some, James Bond is the epitome of masculinity, and to name a few of is characteristics: his confidence is unmatchable, he has the physique of a superhero , and maybe the most important… he has a license to kill.
You might have seen him surfing, skydiving, or taking out 10 people within seconds, but there is one thing I haven’t seen (or read) him do:
Ah, yes windsurfing. The surfing of wind, a relatively young watersport that dates back to the late 1940’s (the modern windsurf board was created in 1964 but that’s not the point) which consists in standing on a surfboard like platform with a sail attached to it.
Seems pretty easy, right? Something that 007 definitely could do… right? WRONG. Windsurfing is not easy and Mr. Bond has no proof that he can windsurf.
Now, you might be thinking: ‘Lars, what has James Bond got to do with this post?’, and to be fair, that’s a pretty good question. The truth is, I need to write an article about my experience with windsurfing and since I suck at segues, the only intro I could think of was proving that all windsurfers (even really-really-really-early-beginners; i.e. myself) are better than 007 himself, in one very small aspect.
Bottom line: this post will outline how I learned to windsurf better than James Bond and how you can, too.
Now it’s time to set the windsurf scene
There is a light breeze pushing small waves to their inevitable end on the sandy shore of Playa de Muro, Mallorca. DANG IT about 3 metric butt-loads of sand just went into my sandals and now with each step the uncomfortableness turns into an unbearable annoyance and the only solution is to just go barefoot.
Quite a mood, aye.
Skip ahead a few minutes as I’m dragging my board and the longer-than-it-looks sail into the shallow sea. To give you an idea of how the sail is attached think of it like your wrist, sorta. The mast goes into some sort of slot that screws into the middle of the board, there is a convenient rope to pull up the sail after standing up on the board.
Can he stand on his own 2 feet?
All of the rules as to where to place your feet while you’re getting up, turning or just riding the wind are pretty simple. When you get on the board, before pulling the sail up, your body must be facing the sail and your feet on either side of it.
While you’re riding, you want both feet perpendicular to each other (one behind the sail pointing outwards and the other right next to the sail pointing forwards). And then there’s turning, its pretty simple, just scoot back so there is more weight on the back of the board, subsequently lifting the front up and making it easier to pivot.
All of that might sound pretty straight forward, well, in all honesty it is, but when you’ve got the wind pushing you, the waves rocking the board back and forth and all you’re trying to do is grab the cord to pull the sail up… it can be a bit overwhelming.
Moving at a snail’s pace
After about 10 minutes (maybe closer to half an hour, well… maybe closer to 1 hour, but who’s keeping track) I was up and sailing like a swordfish in water.
Oops, sorry, small mistake: like a dead swordfish in water.
I wasn’t going fast at all, in fact, I probably could have gone faster if I had just floated in the water.
But ya boi Lars isn’t one to give up so easily, after crying on the beach and having a 1/10 life crisis, I got back on the board and tried to go from the pier to a buoy and back again. Five minutes later, I had drifted way of course, but I made it to the other side.
I did the same thing over and over and over and— well, you get the point.
I thought it would be physically demanding, but it was a mental battle. The frustration of the wind changing direction, like a chameleon changes color, and always ending up on shore was a bit disheartening. The only thing that kept me going was inching closer and closer to the destination. I also may have wanted to show up my dad, but that’s neither here nor there.
After what felt like a short period of time, I managed to reach the buoy without drifting off course.
Next goal: turning around and going back
The thing about making a 180′ while windsurfing is you have to turn pretty quickly, or else the wind pushes you too far away. The trick to turning quickly is (as I said before), putting most of your weight on the back of the board, but there is a happy, and precise, medium.
Go too far back, you lose control and eventually capsize (unless you know what you’re doing, hint: I didn’t); don’t go far enough back, you take to long to pivot. But after a series of failures and trial and error, I mastered the art of turning, if you consider completing a few successful turns is the stuff of masters.
That was pretty much all I had to learn for the time being, so going back was pretty easy.
It felt great completing that simple circuit, and it felt even better to leave without any sunburns (a true victory after being in the sun all day). I could manipulate the wind at the slightest movement and, better yet, I could do something James Bond can only dream about.
If you are in Mallorca, look up Watersports Mallorca for a variety of fun activities.
Watersports Mallorca Website
- Watersports Mallorca Website
- Phone: +34 606 35 38 07
- Catamaran, Paddle, Windsurf School
Avda. S’Albufera s/n- Hotel Playa Esperanza 07408 Playa de Muro Mallorca
- Kitesurf School
C/ Arenes s/n 07408 Playa de Muro. Mallorca.