Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
for Windsurfing

What if I just want a taste test?
Oftentimes when I go windsurfing myself at South Lido Beach I carry along a screw-in beach umbrella stand that I place a section of PVC pipe in. The pipe has pieces of orange pool noodles on it and a yellow wind indicator flying from the top. Folks who stop by might notice a Sail2Learn sign and business cards on that "tower." Once or twice a month I offer a "Taste of Windsurfing" (20 minute FREE) beach lesson. It's usually offered half way through my sailing session and is ALL done on the beach right beside my sign. No, you won't get to use a board and sail in the water. You'll need to take a full lesson for that! :-) BUT! You will learn about the mechanics and physics that underlie windsurfing.

Check my Facebook page (Steve Bonham) - I usually post my sailing/windsurfing plans there daily. If I'm going to South Lido please stop by for a try. If you really, REALLY don't want to miss those "Taste of Windsurfing" opportunities email me and I'll put you on my "Taste of Windsurfing" days notifications list. Include your cell number and I'll send a text as well as an email that advise you of date, place and time.

What do we need to bring to the windsurfing lesson?
Your lesson fee (cash preferred please), sunscreen (NOT the oily slippery stuff!), sunglasses with a retaining strap, WATER SHOES (they help maximize traction on the boards and ***PROTECT*** your feet), hat/cap, towel and extra set of clothing to be kept in your car, PFD (personal flotation device) if you have it. Please advice me of your size if you do not. Dress? - a bathing suit. Sail2Learn provides iced bottled water for each class.

For most full lessons we will meet at the Ken Thompson boat ramps on City Island and motor out to - and anchor in the Coon Key shallows - typically 2-5' in depth. The Coon Key shallows provide a large sailing area (easily a half-mile square) in crystal clear water. You'll work on a tethered simulator for the first 60 - 90 minutes and then oftentimes be able to sail untethered until the end of your lesson.

Please NOTE

Pin Shells and bare feet = trouble!
the suggestion for water shoes! Old tennis shoes will work... sandals and/or bare feet will NOT. At times Sarasota Bay has hundreds of sea urchins and pin shells on the sea bed. Recently a student decided to risk going barefoot and after an hour - when falling off a board in thigh deep water fell onto her knees and suffered a 5" long, 1/4" deep cut from a pin shell atop her foot. Sadly that ended a lesson that was going extremely well! In the summer there are stingrays resting on the bottom in shallow waters... and beginners always start in shallow waters. SO - when walking shuffle/drag your feet along the bottom!

What should one NOT bring to the windsurfing lesson?
Tanning oil - the slippery stuff(!), cell phone, MP3 player or cameras (leave them in your car please), tobacco products (smokeless included), alcoholic beverages. We can go for a beer or margarita afterwards but I want focused learners on boards.

Where do we meet?
It depends... There are LOTS of places to windsurf in this beautiful area! Lessons are offered at a few locations based upon the prevailing winds on the day of the lesson. I'll make the call a couple of hours prior to the lesson. A lot depends on the experience of the students(s). I have a windsurfing simulator and also offer dirt surfing lessons (windsurfing on grass) - given on an Outback Mountainboard. At all lessons we will rig the gear and then begin. If possible I would like to meet with you for an hour or so on a day prior to the lesson to get acquainted and access your expectations and experiences. That will help us identify needs and help set realistic learner goals.

Do students need to be good swimmers?
Absolutely! You should be able to tread water for 10-15 minutes - OR at least be comfortable in the water in a PFD for that long. I will have PFDs on hand

Is there a book you would recommend to prepare for this sailing/windsurf lesson?
Yes. One of the best books on sailing is written by JJ (US Olympic sailor) and Peter (America's Cup sailor) Isler. It is very complete, covering just about every kind of sailing; daysailing, cruising, racing, windsurfing and more. The book is one of the "__X__ for Dummies" volumes, but don't be misled. Only dummies don't buy this book. The title is Sailing for Dummies and the ISBN is 0-7645-5039. You can buy it for about $15 on

Don't you need to be really strong and fit to windsurf?
No..... Well.... YES! Only if you do it really poorly! Bad windsurfing is easier if you are strong BUT it is more about balance and technique. Using the wind, physics and leverage to your advantage makes all the difference. The land sailing drills and/or dirtsurfing (performed on a mountain board) will greatly enhance your understanding of the proper mechanics. You will get smarter AND stronger as you progress and windsurfing will get easier and easier... BUT one great thing about windsurfing is that there are always new things to learn.

Be prepared tho - after a few hours of uphauling as a beginner your back WILL be tired! In time, uphauling will rarely be required.

Will we go out regardless of the weather?
Oh no! We won't mess with Mother Nature! We will have a target date and time (possibly a range) for the lesson but if the forecast is poor (lightening, thunder, very high winds) or "iffy" we'll stay home. I favor days that are sunny or partly cloudy, steady and directionally consistent winds 12-15 mph and flat water for beginner classes. IF for some reason we see a surprise squall approaching we will take shelter until it passes.

What if I need to cancel?
It happens... Not a problem. We will will try to reschedule. Call me via cell at: 912.481.0718.

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