Last Update: March 2024

Welcome to Hoofer Windsurfing

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Why Windsurf?

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Both a Casual and High Octane Sport

Up until the 80s windsurfing was something of a relaxed, family-oriented sport. In the 90s the sport ​gained a reputation for being a bit more extreme. We think both of these have a lot to offer!

You can windsurf alone in winds many other sailing craft are prohibited from going out in, or with ​family and friends on a lazy summer day with a mild breeze.

For families looking for a sport they can all enjoy, windsurfing is a safe sport which does not require a ​high level of swimming adeptness and which for beginners is safer for younger sailors compared to ​some other personal sailing sports.

For adrenaline junkies, windsurfing offers a water craft designed to plane early. If you’ve seen ​windsurfers out on the water doing 15+ mph (up to about 30-35 mph on Mendota), that’s planing!

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A Good Place to Learn

Hoofer Sailing is a great place to learn how to windsurf! With a variety of classes, a dedicated UW ​lifesaving station, a good variety of equipment and much more you will have ample opportunity to get ​experience with different kinds of equipment to become a well-rounded sailor.

Equipment-wise we have many beginner boards, as well as intermediate and advanced boards. We ​have a full range of sail sizes, all the way from quite small sails to sails so large we can’t even hang ​them up in our storage!

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Camaraderie and Culture

Hoofer Windsurfing is part of a vibrant windsurfing/kiteboarding/ wingfoiling community in Madison, ​many (most?) of whom were at one point members of Hoofer Sailing.

Culture-wise, you might find yourself becoming a bit addicted to the sport like we have become: ​weather junkies, heading down to the union just as the dark skies roll in, always looking for a strong ​west wind for that perfect session!

Within the club there are a number of windsurfing activities, including the Yu Chen Windsurfing ​Outreach day, typically held in August.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Isn’t Windsurfing Dangerous?

There is always an element of danger to any water sport, but at the beginning and intermediate ​levels windsurfing has been shown to be safer than some other popular sports, such as ​kiteboarding.

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Will Windsurfing Help Me Sail Other Watercraft?

Windsurfers are both simpler (in terms of equipment) and more complicated (in terms of flexibility) ​than boats. Many of the skills you acquire by windsurfing will help you when sailing!

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Isn’t the New Big Thing Wingfoiling or Kitefoiling?

Yup! When kiteboarding came out, many windsurfers went to check it out (a bit like how skiers went to ​check out snowboarding when it first came out). And now that wingfoiling is a thing, many have put ​their efforts there instead.

A good sailor will have a knowledge of all of these disciplines! As a more mature sport, if you bought ​windsurfing gear now you will be somewhat assured that your gear will be considered up-to-date for a ​good while, whereas winging gear is changing nearly yearly. Windsurfing is also considered a fairly ​technical discipline among these - chances are, if you are a good windsurfer, some of those skills ​should help you in these other sports as well.

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Am I Too Old to Windsurf?

Probably not! We know septegenarians who are out there having a blast when the winds are gnarly.

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How Fast Can I Go?

How fast you can go depends on (at least) 3 things: the wind conditions, the equipment, and (last but ​not least!) your ability. In 1979, after several weeks of attempts, the world speed record was about 28 ​mph. With modern equipment, that’s easily doable today on Lake Mendota! The current world speed ​record for windsurfing is approximately 70 mph. That’s on very special equipment with very special ​conditions. On Mendota we’ve seen experienced windsurfers going about 35mph.

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What Kinds of Windsurfing Equipment Does ​Hoofer Sailing Have?

The club maintains a fleet of 16-18 wide/long beginner boards and 25+ progressive/intermediate ​boards and advanced boards (with more in storage which may get pulled out when the winds pick up), ​including a few long boards great for cruising across the lake. It also maintains a fairly broad fleet of ​sails (over 100, though only 60 are rigged at a time): this is important as, unlike sailboats, windsurfers ​need to have different sails for different conditions.