Michigan Windsurfing

Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan

So, I bought a Sailboard 365A at a yard sale 2 weeks ago...then I joined this website.  I'm totally a rookie at windsurfing and barely "wet" in regard to sailing.  My two times out so far has been fun and quite a learning experience.  Yesterday I learned what "catching the power of the wind" means as I skipped across a small lake.  Problem is I still need to learn steering the board, jibing, tacking, etc...  Thankfully there was a nice family on a pontoon that got me back to my truck.

I've heard the old boards aren't the best to learn on, however that's what I have for now.  The board is vintage 1979-1982ish but in great condition with all the parts present and working (I think).  

I live in the Davison area and am wondering if anyone sails nearby.  I would like to meet up and watch how it's done.  I see there are Pure Michigan events but it looks like they are done for the season.  

Any info would be greatly appreciated

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Brent,

Were you by change surfing at Stony Creek a month or two ago when there was another guy out there? That would have been me but I am just checking... Sorry if you aren't that guy and this is awkward! 

But anyways, welcome to the website! I live in Macomb and I surf at Blue Lagoon for any day that has a somewhat N wind and at Metro for any day with a somewhat S wind...  Those two places are probably the best around Macomb Twp. / Harrison Twp. / Detroit Area that I have been to. Metro has quite a lot of weeds but not half as bad as Stony Creek! Blue Lagoon is a GREAT place to surf in my opinion; it is about waist deep for about 200 yards out and is great for practicing learning the maneuvers of windsurfing because if you bail, you don't have to worry about treading water! The grassy area for rigging is nice as well! 

If you have any interest in surfing at either Metro Beach or Blue Lagoon just let me know and I will keep you posted on when I plan on going out! I am still relatively new to the sport (only 4 years as opposed to many of the guys out there who have well over 10-20 years of experience!) as well but I do think I could still offer some good advice! All the other guys I have met at these places have been more than willing to give advice as well so if it is a good day to be out, you can almost be sure several of us will be there!

Also, as I have been hearing from several of the veteran surfers, the BEST time of year for surfing is September-November because all of the boat traffic on Lake St. Clair disappears and the winds get better and better. I am in the process of acquiring some gear for colder weather so I can be ready to take advantage of those fall months; items such as neoprene hoods, thick gloves, and thicker boots.  You would also want to invest in a full body wetsuit if you want to start using those months as well! But anyways, as I mentioned, if you are close enough to Metro or Blue Lagoon and would like me to keep you updated on when I will be going, just let me know!

Hope to see you out there soon! (If we ever get more good wind around here...)

Chris

Chris,

I've only been out twice so far.  Once at Big Fish Lake and once at Davison Lake both south of Hadley.  Davison Lake is a no wake lake, long and narrow, and there are a few houses along one side.  Perfect to learn on without being a danger to myself or other boaters.  Biggest threat I've seen are a pair of swans. 

I've seen video posted of Blue Lagoon.  It looks like a possibility after a little more practice.  Let me know when you will be there and maybe I could tag along.

Things I would like help with are:  where to position the mast (forward or back toward center) for different conditions,  position of the boom (shoulder height is what I've read), and the biggest how to make the board go where I want it to.  Again, I've read how-to's on a few websites, but nothing beats hands-on.  Also, are the specs of my board conducive to me just gliding around learning the basics?

I'm taking the board to Lake Michigan this weekend for our camping trip.  The forecast shows light winds (5-7mph) out of the southwest.  If I can't windsurf in those conditions, that wind should only push me back on shore.  If it doesn't, look for me in Wisconsin sometime next week.

Brent

 

Brent.

I am actually going to try to get to BL today after work! From about 4:15-whenever the wind dies I should be out there...

Remind me of the specs of your board again? Volume in liters/Length/Width...

I know this may seem intimidating (as it was for me) but the more wind you have the more learning about the sport you can do... Control of the direction of the board is modulated with your legs and feet and that is something you will get the knack for soon enough... But basically the faster the board is moving, the more control you will have over it and the more you will feel the effect of steering with your feet. Pointing your toes is an important idea especially if you have a smaller, more sporty board; keep in mind though that even on bigger boards with a centerboard fin foot steering is still very important!


As far as rig setup goes; what I have learned is that the closer the boom can be to shoulder height, the better! Especially when you really get used to harnesses.  THEY HELP SO MUCH! I have gotten used to them and can surf for about 3 hours straight and be okay as long as the wind is consistent and at least 15 mph! 

The mast step (aka the part that can slide fore and aft on the board) is a bit more tricky to explain without seeing the rig... I would have to hold off on any tips for that as I am not an expert! I will say that depending on the wind level, a standard to keep in mind is that in HIGHER winds moving the mast step aft is better and in LOWER winds moving it fore is better.

Enjoy the Lake Michigan trip! That is a spot on my hit-list to surf... Can get pretty nuts out there! But on light wind days as are predicted it can just be a lot of fun! Keep in mind that the wind reports are usually taken from inland locations so winds on the water tend to be stronger! I would guess you would be dealing with anywhere from 10-20 mph winds! 

P.s.: DONT BE AFRAID to use a sail of size that will really get you moving! Any winds 15 mph or less you should ideally be using something like a 7.0-9.0 (I only say 7 because my biggest sails are both 7.2's but bigger is better!) and anything from 16-25 mph you could use a 5.5-7 (obviously with a 7 being ideal for the higher end of that wind range...) I have a tendency STILL after 4 years to lean on the reserved side of sail usage so DONT FALL INTO THE TRAP OF BEING AFRAID OF MORE SPEED! I wish I hadn't! haha

Hope you enjoy your trip!

Chris

Chris,

This is what is printed on the sail and board....

490 cm mast

240 cm boom

365 cm board

I'm not sure about the volume part..

I suspect that higher winds/speed would be a little easier.  Much like riding a bike where balance comes into play.

I know I won't be sailing tonight.  Getting the camper ready and a school open house for my son.

Again, thanks for the input.

Brent

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