Windsurfing Glossary of Terms
The following glossary can serve as a guide to some of the terms that are commonly used in windsurfing. Keep in mind that newcomers to the sport should not be shy if they are unfamiliar with the general jargon of the sport. Consult a local shop or windsurfing school for more information on where to obtain lessons, windsurfing equipment or to simply ask any questions you might have.
Bear Away: To turn away from the direction the wind is coming from.
Beat: Zigzag your way into the wind.
Boom: The "handle" of your sail. It is what you will hold onto most of the time.
Centerboard: Large retractable fin in the center of longboards, hybrids and most learning boards. Provides stability and upwind pointing ability.
Downhaul: The line attached to the mast base that pulls the sail down on the mast.
Downwind: Toward the direction the wind is blowing to.
Harness: Worn around the waist or seat, it allows you to compensate for the sail's pull by using your body weight. A must for high-wind sailing.
Harness Lines: Lines attached to the boom for hooking the harness into it.
Head Up: To turn toward the direction the wind is coming from.
Jibe: To turn the board downwind in order to go the opposite direction.
Mast: The veritable "skeleton" of the board; the frame used to keep the board upright.
Monofilm: Clear, lightweight plastic with enormous tensile strength, common in modern sails.
Nose: Front of the board, usually the pointy end.
Outhaul: The line that connects the back corner of the sail (the clew) to the boom.
Plane: Refers to when you are powered up to full speed, in the straps and hooked in. Technically, it is when the board gains enough forward speed to break free of the water and skim the surface, reducing drag and allowing the fastest speeds.
Port: To the left; sailing on port tack is sailing left hand forward.
Rash Guard: A thin, UV-resistant shirt to "guard" windsurfers from the sun's rays and scratches from the board.
Rig: The combination of sail, mast, mast base and boom after it is assembled.
Starboard: To the right; sailing on starboard tack is sailing right hand forward. Generally, the sailor on has right of way over port tack.
Tail: Back end of the board, usually the squarer end; the end with the fin in it.
Tack: To turn the board upwind and in order to go in the opposite direction.
Uphaul: The line attached to the boom used to pull the sail up out of the water.
Upwind: Toward the direction the wind is coming from.
Volume: A measurement of a board's displacement, which correlates directly with its flotation. The more volume, the more float.
Wetsuit: A body suit made of neoprene used to keep the windsurfer warm in colder waters.